April 2001 Archives
If you, the writer, succumb to the idea that the audience is too stupid, then there are two pitfalls. Number one is the avant-garde pitfall, where you have the idea that you're writing for other writers, so you don't worry about making yourself accessible or relevant. You worry about making it structurally and technically cutting edge: involuted in the right ways, making the appropriate intertextual references, making it look smart. Not really caring about whether you're communicating with a reader who cares something about that feeling in the stomach which is why we read. Then, the other end of it is very crass, cynical, commercial pieces of fiction that are done in a formulaic way -- essentially television on the page -- that manipulate the reader, that set out grotesquely simplified stuff in a childishly riveting way.
What's weird is that I see these two sides fight with each other and really they both come out of the same thing, which is a contempt for the reader, an idea that literature's current marginalization is the reader's fault. The project that's worth trying is to do stuff that has some of the richness and challenge and emotional and intellectual difficulty of avant-garde literary stuff, stuff that makes the reader confront things rather than ignore them, but to do that in such a way that it's also pleasurable to read. The reader feels like someone is talking to him rather than striking a number of poses.
If I can recommend one thing to you, download or buy everything by godspeed you black emperor! you can find. Do you ever find a book or piece of music and wish someone had forced you to buy it a long time ago so you would have had in your life that much longer? That's how I'm feeling about gybe right now.
Lift yr skinny fists like antennas to heaven!
This is starting to be all the rage amongst the kids these days: mod_gzip, an apache module that gzips content between server and client. Turns out most modern browsers can handle this completely transparently. Because of the overhead for compression, this isn't much of a win for high-bandwidth users, but it can be a significant improvement for modem users.
Pet peeve of the day: unasked-for new windows for links. An oldie, but a goodie.
I don't think Roger Ebert likes the new Tom Green film.
This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.
Final hours of Black & White. Now that I have this game, I understand the hype.
My new monitor. It's beautiful. A good monitor makes SUCH a difference, especially when your previous monitor was an old 14" IBM model. Now I can actually read a bunch of weblogs that have low contrast text on dark backgrounds!
I'll bet you didn't know that Gates McFadden (credited as Cheryl McFadden) was responsible for the choreography in the movie Labyrinth. The things you learn from DVD extras. According to IMDB, she also worked as a choreographer on Dark Crystal and appeared in Muppets Take Manhattan, her earliest credited film appearance.
Quote of the day, from the movie Naked:
Louise: How did you get here?
Johnny: Well, basically, there was this little dot, right? And
the dot went bang and the bang expanded. Energy formed into matter,
matter cooled, matter lived, the amoeba to fish, to fish to fowl, to
fowl to frog, to frog to mammal, the mammal to monkey, to monkey to
man, amo amas amat, quid pro quo, memento mori, ad infinitum, sprinkle
on a little bit of grated cheese and leave under the grill till
No matter how many times I see it, the Ayn Rand School For Tots is still funny. Remember, develop the bottle within.