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On The Odious Tyranny Of Chain Restaurant Middle Managers

A few years back somebody in some sort of TGIF marketing brainstorm originated the phrase, "everything still tasting delicious here?" Or in the even more heinous variant, "everything still tasting very delicious here?" This phrase has become the go to for every one of the Mr. Managers you describe as they make their drive bys around the restaurant. It's maddening to be asked if things are still tasting very delicious when one has expressly not said to anybody that they were tasting delicious in the first place. At best things are tasting greasy enough to cut through one's waning or waxing hangover.

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 4:58 pm 1

On Seven Great Under-the-Radar Christmas Albums

@tomme Sound of Christmas and More Sounds of Christmas. Both very good.

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm 0

On Seven Great Under-the-Radar Christmas Albums

Ramsey Lewis: Sound of Christmas. Great album.

Posted on December 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm 1

On Irony Is Wonderful, Terrific, Fantastic!

I suspect that Wallace understood the necessity of irony against the onslaught of American culture and its associated avalanche of information. But it also seems that he also understood the price that we pay for the distance that irony affords. We cannot stand apart from and inside our culture simultaneously.

I have always found it interesting the amount of attention that gets paid to the Incandenza half of Infinite Jest and how often the Gately half is ignored. They roughly approximate the difference between the ironic stance and the New Sincerity and they hold each other in balance, the comment indirectly on each other, but they do not synthesize.

I think The Pale King was Wallace’s attempt to find his way through the dichotomy and achieve that synthesis. But I think it ultimately fails because that battle is not so easily won.

What you did here, Ms. Bustillos, is sharp. You remind us that the course currently available to us, and perhaps the only course really available ever to us, is not to forge irony and sincerity into a new ethos or a new artistic form. Nor is it necessary that we choose between irony and sincerity. What me must do is to simply continue to accept the contradictions, uncertainties and vagaries of our existence. Wallace’s body of work seems to suggest that perhaps this is what was most difficult for him. He seemed to hunger for big answers to the big questions.

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm 2