PEI XUE HONG Both Disappear and Lost Are Not Important, No.6, 12., 2004
Mailing came from Minnesota Center for Photography today for their upcoming Three Gorges exhibit, running 17 November to 10 February. Artists from the U.S., Canada, Japan and China will have their work in this show. I'm kind of jammed, but there are a couple related events that might make for a good dinner + show: 17 November Opening Reception; 20 November screening (at The Heights) of Zhang Yang's Getting Home; 8 January lecture by Steven Benson, "The Cost of Power in China: The Three Gorges Dam & Yangtze River Valley."
If you haven't noticed yet, I'm guest-blogging at kottke.org this week (except: 90% of you are probably coming from kottke.org anyway--in which case, see: GoTo Statement Considered Harmful (hmmm... we do have visited hyperlinks--but what about more robust, stateful hyperlink objects with n-node lookahead? Is there a Firefox extension that tells me I'm linking around in a circular graph?)). I'll be taking several friends and otherwise interesting folks out for a test-drive in Jason's Porsche until next Tuesday, at which point I'll have to hand over the keys and return to this little VW I'm driving here at Hotel Zero.
I will, however, be posting a few things here this week--so don't just up and disappear altogether.
OK, folks... noticed traffic is going down to a trickle--need to feed the RSS meter here with a little update.
Been crazed getting ready for big guest-blogging event next week: will post with details when things are finalized/announced there. Looking forward to it & think it'll be a blast.
Also, my pal Mickey Kross of the FDNY called this morning to say he's flying into town on a surprise visit. He's one of my biggest fans & can't wait to show him the Twin Cities. Meantime, here's a nice YouTube clip of an interview Mickey did on surviving the collapse of the WTC North tower on 9/11:
All right, I'll be in touch in next couple days with details on guest posting gig for next week.
When I posted about the NYT story on Tess Gallagher's latest move in the Carver-Lish legacy chess match, Michael Hemmingson was kind enough to e-mail me to say that he had recently sold a book on Lish and was working on a biography of Carver. I asked him if he'd be willing to do a short interview on the matter and I'm happy that he said, "Yes."
Hemmingson is the author of 43 books, including several acclaimed novels, and studies of Bukowski, Carver, and Vollmann. His study of Lish will be published by Taylor & Francis in 2009. His first produced screenplay, The Watermelon, will be released by LightSong Films and Hand Picked Films in 2008. Check out a trailer here--and Hemmingson's blog about the two-year process from script to production here.
Other Music now has a digital store: reasonable prices, no DRM and killer music. Currently listening to Pylon'sGyrate, recently re-released after a couple decades' absence. I don't know, call me old: with a few exceptions, if it's not in the Trouser Press Record Guide, it's really got to win me over. (Hat Tip to Joseph Clark)
Update: Just noticed that Pylon's album now rests between PIL's Metal Box and REM's Automatic for the People on my iPod--perfect. Which also reminds me: go check out Stereogum's tribute to Automatic for the People.
The Edge-Serpentine Gallery has a show displaying various scientists' and thinkers' "equations." Some are just banal or silly (like John Brockman's: "New Technologies = New Perceptions"--which could just as well be reversed & most often should be), but a couple are pretty good. Danny Kahneman's is actually funny & very close to an equation Bruce Duffy put in his Wittgenstein novel, The World as I Found It:
W/F = S [W=Will, F=Fear, S=Scope]
When I first came across that one I revised it to:
(W * T)/F = S [adding T=Talent]
Then, on further reflection, added the relevant exponent (and it does matter that much), Luck:
((W*T)/F)L = S
It's a fun little game--but none of these entries compares to my all-time favorite (and completely insane) literary equation, Karl Kraus's formula for the female soul in his Aphorismen:
I've never actually plugged that formula into Excel to see what its graph looks like. Should I?
I don't care to enumerate the magazines and journals we get at our house--but it's probably either too many or not half enough. Either way, shit gets buried and disappears--sometimes forever. But occasionally a pal will write or call on a sort of cultural mudslide rescue mission and ask, "You see _____ yet?!" Got such a call today about Nicholas Johnson's interview with "Nero," comparing Nero's experience contracting in Antarctica with his more-recent stints in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the November Harper's. Luckily, the issue was resting right there on the kitchen table, just beneath the fourteen new credit card offers and alumni letters and cable TV pitches we get every day.
The version in Harper's is edited down some, but whether you get Harper's or not, go check out the longer interview at Nicholas Johnson's Big Dead Place: it's unbelievably funny and tight and all the things killer writing should be.
The New York Times revisits the Raymond Carver-Gordon Lish saga today, in a piece about Tess Gallagher's desire to publish Carver's first book of stories in its original, pre-Lish state. For those unaware of what's at stake, the piece gives a brief overview and refers to D.T. Max's 1998 New York Times Magazine piece: but curiously fails to link to Max's piece in the body of the story. Max's piece--almost 8000 words long--is one of the essential pieces of literary journalism: it's fantastic. Motoko Rich's piece today is pretty good, but is essentially an update whose most fascinating item is the possibility that some future Library of America volume devoted to Carver (I'm dying for that) will include the original, unedited stories in What We Talk About When We Talk About Love under a new title, Beginners, and relegate WWTAWWTAL to an appendix. This seems backwards to me, but either way: it's a great idea to include both--it's not as if the cat hadn't long-since left the bag about Lish's heavy-handed editorial instincts and Carver's regrets.
I am going to do some actual reporting next year, especially with Iowa so close and the Republican Convention coming to the Twin Cities (and really: how fun would it be to hang out with the anarchists outside and the Republicans inside?), but also blogging heavily about some bigger-picture political themes as the 2008 race progresses. As a result, I'll be doing lots of reading this winter/next spring.
Specifically, I'll be going back over my short-list of classics of political reportage/defining books in American political life—while hoping I find a few new ones, too. Just got, today, my two-volume Library of America Debate on the Constitution (and really, where have Publius and Brutus and Cato and Agrippa and Centinel gone? A-blogging!), and am putting together my short-list (in no particular order):
Stuart Chase's A New Deal A.M. Schlesinger's The Vital Center Kevin Phillips The Emerging Republican Majority Garry Wills' The Kennedy Imprisonment and Nixon Agonistes Robert Caro's "LBJ-a-thon" Rick Perlstein's Before the Storm Timothy Crouse's The Boys on the Bus Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72 Richard Ben Cramer's What it Takes
... that kind of stuff.
Question is: "What's missing?"I'm looking to generate a list of about 15-20 must-read classics to blog over the course of a month or so next spring/summer (and help me frame the thoughts behind my reporting). I'm looking for post-1896 books that are not specifically political theory or political philosophy (so: no Gramsci, no Rawls, etc.—but I suppose a book like Scott's Seeing Like a State might qualify, so what the hell: suggest what you will), but which have as their legacy either a) a defining importance in a U.S. election (we get the name of FDR's policies from Chase's book, which was a run-away best-seller during the 1932 election) or b) look back on a particular campaign or election and suss out its lasting impact (the outstanding example of which is Perlstein's Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus).