"I met another guy who was funny and went to film school at NYU. He was twenty-two and had a tiny apartment on Great Jones Alley and I thought he might make a suitable boyfriend, or at least a suitable deflowerer. He was older, he’d done it before, and, I had been told, all men were dying to have sex at all times, so it would be easy enough to get him on board with my project. It was harder than I thought. He was eager to make out and grope, but to my surprise and disgust, he seemed very uneasy about engaging in actual intercourse once I admitted—in [...]
Guess who's back, after a year of silence? Firmuhment, the world's most legendary Tumblr proprietor. Today he's reading an Elisa Gabbert poem to us! Where has he been? What has he seen? I don't really know, but I feel like I'll figure it out between the lines.
It's always delightful to read about places that one has no temptation to visit and will never, ever see! So today's travelogue of Kazakhstan and its 16-year-old capital, Astana, is fantastic, and as you are a subscriber to the New Yorker, you will have no problem reading it online or in the magazine, yes? Plus there are some excellent and blunt surprises—if, I suppose, corruption and horror and vast wealth going hand-in-hand are ever a surprise—mid-tale for those who are similarly and happily uninformed as I. Gosh, I hope I never live to see this frosty new hell-hole in person.
"This is the easiest of connections; I don’t even have my thinking cap on. Apple is the most valuable technology brand in the world. Their products are sold to People Of Wal-Mart but the aesthetic still shimmers diamond-hard, like faith beyond reason. When the first iPhone came out the cast of the Apple store applauded every buyer.
Radiohead is the most valuable band in the world. Their music references the phone book but sounds like nobody else. They’ve turned hard sell/soft sell into their own loud-quiet-loud solution. Their intelligence burns even at street level; the more they refuse to dumb it down the less they alienate even dumb people." [...]
By way of the intellectual jungle that is HuffPo comes news from the archives of Analecta, UT Austin's literary journal. It's director Wes Anderson's 1989 short story from his undergrad years! It has some anomie and some irony!
The extraordinarily abstruse Triple Canopy has a new issue up. Most of it is beyond my interests and/or understanding, however I greatly enjoyed this interview with Bob Stein, who for the last six years has run the think tank Institute for the Future of the Book (I don't know, really; one of its goals is that it has "no deliverables") and also founded the Criterion Collection and spent a lot of time thinking about LaserDiscs and HyperCard (oh man!) and also worked at Atari, trying to create the encyclopedia of the future. Basically he makes Clay Shirky's jobs look very task- and result-oriented.
This story by Jessica Soffer from Granta last year, called "Beginning, End," seems to me to be a better and more pleasingly economical take on the same conceit at Jonathan Safran Foer's recent New Yorker story, "Here We Aren't, So Quickly." (Fun fact! Jessica Soffer recently received her MFA from Hunter, where Foer's spouse, Nicole Krauss, is an instructor. So maybe they both learned from the best!)