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reality bites

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Kids asleep but Mad Men S03E01 came down in fuck’d shape and there was nothing else on TV. So I was going to write a rather nasty (but purposefully so!) post about this, but my wife talked me down. I was, well, talking some huge shit as we typed into the family laptops at the kitchen table just now, and she advised me to take what she didn’t refer to as a rampantly megalomaniacal sense of ownership of certain age-old literary forms and channel it into a better, more productive place than blognuking books that I haven’t read yet.

And then she went to bed. And then a few minutes later came down bitching about something that she was reading in bed that poaches on her territory (what does some girl who went to Andover have to tell us about fucking Tennessee? Ouch.) A second very good literary agency requested my wife’s m’script this week. She has earned more megalomania than I have, I suppose.

I’ll just say this one thing. When someone says something like “genre is a minimum-security prison” I reach for my… Althusserian sensibilities. Postulating yourself outside of genre is just as effective as closing your eyes and thinking really hard about being extra-ideological, and for exactly the same reasons. It follows like night follows day that this Shields guy looks to have written a blogbook without a blog, which we can recognize as generic (though not in the good sense) even if the convened panel of illustrious authors cannot, and from the looks of it not a very good blog either. Genre has always already housed his ass. I am tempted to illustrate. Maybe tomorrow.

Written by adswithoutproducts

August 20, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Posted in novel

5 Responses

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  1. I read the post on the millions and thought maybe you were being a little harsh. Then I read the second paragraph of the excerpt, beginning ‘I was nineteen years old and a virgin’, which, like ‘What did you say?’ in the movies, can only lead to a mess. And it does: ‘I am what I read. This is what is known as a tragic flaw’. And, with a book of fragments like this, if you can’t manage to find something interesting in 10 pages – even if it’s just a servicable, say, Nietzsche quote – then it’s them not you.


    August 21, 2009 at 1:35 am

  2. The thing is though, this Shields guy is right, and maybe knows he has to overstate his case a bit in order to get a hearing. Walk around a secondhand bookshop and look at all the novels even from the early 2000s that are hopelessly outdated and uninteresting. The equivalent memoirs continue to be worth reading. I was rereading Love’s Work by Gillian Rose recently and it was much more compelling than any of the fiction published in 1995.


    August 21, 2009 at 9:58 am

  3. Hunger for Reality?

    “This is what is known as a tragic flaw”.

    “Literature”, with “authors”, mss., agents, etc., “age-old”, reduced to a Great Egg Race.

    Which one topples over first?

    Enough with the reality already.

    Wrong from the Start

    tom clark

    August 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm

  4. First Duvivier, now Dieterle. ,


    October 22, 2009 at 5:09 pm

  5. Disguised as a mild-mannered literary activist, Charles Flowers strikes again! ,


    October 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm

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