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iiiiiiiiiif i can make it there

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I have these nights, and this is one of them, where I slip accidentally on a webpage and fall into a giant vat of NYC self-promotional art sleeze, NYC PR hucksterism, the NYC lolitoliterary-complex, and the like. Somebody ’08 is coming up in the scene, a coital-merger has occured between the It-Girl Novelist and the Recently Disgraced Celebrity Blogger, or some semi-celebrity’s kid is tearing shit up with his band out of St. Ann’s School, Bklyn Heights.

There’s a lot to be said for the town, of course. If you asked me nicely I’d probably buy an Arsenal jersey, get killed converting my remaining cash on hand back into the peso del norte, and head on back to Brooklyn. And I’m sure that part of the affective difference between the two places is personal, in that I simply don’t know as many people here (mostly I know kind and wonderful bloggers actually) and so I can’t spend as much time coveting my neighbors’ effortless and totally unwarranted success.

But there is a way that NYC, a few weeks after you sign your lease, requires that you remain doubled over in existential/intestinal agony for the rest of your time there, chanting to yourself I’m already 31 and though I’m an assistant professor at a fancy school my novel has not come out, has not yet even been written. I have no agent, without an agent I cannot sell my novel. Without my novel, I am unloved, there will be no film of my novel, and without that I might as well never have left north jersey. I’m fucking 31!!!! I’ll be 32 in three months!!!!

Seriously, I’m not kidding. That’s just what it’s like. And remember, people there don’t drink the way they do in London, so there’s really no cure except for therapy, which usually only makes things worse. Self-reflection is sort of, you know, a big part of the problem in the first place. The only thing that might help is when it dawns on you that everyone is miserable just the same way. But that epiphany usually only comes when just as the Israeli rookie mobsters have dragged the last box of books out to the van bound for parts unknown and full of people who want to move back to NYC. Like you, as soon as you get there. So even when I moved out of the big city and lived for a little bit in a rusting late bastion of pure-hearted (well…) avant gardism, the New York Observer would arrive every week, and with it a nearly automatic little flashback of self-hatred and resentiment. And then I’d moan for the rest of the day about where we were living. And then again the next day, and so on, until the next pink copy of the paper arrived to start the cycle again.

Luckily, in the depths of it tonight, I happened to have on hand today’s copy of the chubby, record-collecting Guardian, full to the brim with unattractive middle-aged people complaining about the Olympics, the price of milk at Tesco, and the slow decline of ITV, whatever that is. Ah, London. I’m not sure why it is that my coworkers at my quite highly ranked department seem so sane and egoless compared even to the thunderous mediocrities at the state U I left behind, let alone the hothouse freaks that you’d find at a place like Columbia. They do pretty fabulous things, but they also, like teach and mark papers. They make sure I do my work, but they avoid, you know, gratuitously insulting me or body-slams-by-rank because I’m young and new. How weird is that? The chubby Guardian lets my wife write for CIF, whereas the NYT is to focused on its world-historical mission as the Raper of Pecker’d to let anyone who doesn’t work for a DLC-approved think tank or oil company lobbying firm write book reviews, let alone opinion pieces.

So luckily, on all fronts, the Guardian is here to save the day. (If only it wasn’t so fucking boring! Ah but that’s just the point!) Unluckily, I sat down and wrote this bitchy post, which shows that the cure remains a long way off. I think there’s an Andrew Marr documentary on my Sky + box somewhere that would maybe do the trick…

Fuck. I can’t believe I wasted an hour on this when these little town blues could be melting away…

[Eds note: This post represents such bad form that I’ve just now come on to delete it. But, I dunno. I won’t. This is a sickness or health type of relationship that we’re in, dear readers… Bear with me… I’m already feeling better. You could probably leave comments about what an asshole I am and it’d accelerate the healing process… Go ahead, you know you want to… I mean, I could have at least made all this resolve into some sort of point, at least… The sweet mercies of the performative, ah….)

Written by adswithoutproducts

August 15, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Posted in distraction, meta, nyc

3 Responses

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  1. How seventeenth-century … it was like watching somebody lance a boil.

    I hope you’re feeling better now, or else they’ll (They?) bring out the leeches.

    And what would a twenty-first-century leeching look like, anyway?


    August 16, 2008 at 2:51 am

  2. I enjoyed it, because it truly is asshole and yet amiable. But ‘let alone the hothouse freaks you’d find at a place like Columbia’ is good, not because it’s not also asshole (it is), but because of calling them ‘hothouse’ and also ‘hothouse freaks’, which is useful. I was very much a hothouse freak at one point today about 24th Street after having gone to some beautiful gallery shows, and an angry guy in a suit came by and just as I looked up at him, he shook his head at me in disapproval as a kind of greeting. It took me the longest time to remember what celeb he reminded me of, and it was Bill Maher (although I don’t think this was Bill Maher. He definitely had misplaced confidence, though.) I encountered an unusual amount of hostility on the street in a 2-hour period, which almost never happens to me except when I have that wonderful combination of smoldering anger and fatigue. But I was bursting with competence today, and kept getting reflections of a most peculiar thought that occurred to me this morning: ‘I keep getting out of whatever jail-feeling I may get by taking the proper action, but the free feelking doesn’t last as long as I think it should.’ But I was enjoying everything despite the loss of humidity-free days with lots of sun which we had till yesterday, and even so ran into the first series of 4 or 5 excessively rude people I had in some time, all isolated from each other. Later on, I looked back on it as a peculiarly romantic period, which has never happened until a much longer period than just 3 hours.

    I know what you mean about some of this, and don’t experience it most of the time just because of being so used to it. But at one of the gallieries, there was a lovely girl who was not one of the rude ones, and of whom I asked if they had a press release of this strange Japanese sculpture in which decomposition seemed to be the them, with lots of organic material in plastic cases and papier-mache penises ornamenting most of them in the most unerotic way imaginable–anyway, she answered me in such a nice, but hysterical way that I almost asked her just how employed she thought she was.

    Patrick J. Mullins

    August 16, 2008 at 4:37 am

  3. Sisyphus,

    I feel sorta better now. Sorta. The new post, though, is still a little angry. We’ll see where this goes.


    The last paragraph is absolutely beautiful. Brilliant. Thanks as always for all that.


    August 16, 2008 at 10:06 pm

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