Wednesday, July 11, 2007

worth the time and effort: Shapin, Auletta, Anderson

If you still have your innovations issue of The New Yorker about, you might read Steven Shapin on use and invention. He starts with the old phenomenologist's trick of describing the room he's writing in and it only gets better from there. And is the cartoon that illustrates the article supposed to be a representation of Shapin himself? Adorable. May 14 seems like just yesterday but I don't remember hearing too many rave reviews of this. Am I the only one?

I also read Auletta on the Wall Street Journal. It took 3 sittings! But I learned a lot. From July 2.

And I started Jon Lee Anderson's Letter from Afghanistan, which had a long, rather gratuitous action sequence. At least, I think the play-by-play of gunfire, etc was gratuitous, I haven't actually finished the article yet. Maybe it becomes relevant. In the July 9 issue. Less sure if this last one is worth the time or effort, but I'm intrigued by the familiarity its politics and imagery thus far . . .

UPDATE: New Yorker Comment is swept up in the action, too.

UPDATE 2: Comments turn towards fiction (gasp!), "If I Vanished" by Stuart Dybek, and a film called Open Range.

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Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

Here's my question for this week: That movie in the story--does it exist? I don't want to Google it--somehow that wouldn't be on. I think I like the story better if the movie is invented.

I could spend the whole two weeks gazing into the cover.

11:37 PM  
Blogger zp said...

I went back and forth about that movie, whether it existed outside the fiction story or not. I feel like the Google-ing of the film in the story is a clever reality effect.

But if the film does exist, then is it a kind of a bluff reality effect?

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Emdashes said...

I loved that Shapin piece too, and the winning illustration.

So you haven't googled the movie yet? I haven't either--still entranced by the story. I want to write something about how for once a New Yorker story is basically about my life. I really felt that story, knew it, breathed it, tasted it. Now all I have to do is google it.

12:32 AM  
Blogger zp said...

Identification - one's ability to enter the story, or the story's ability to enter our lives - with this story is a funny thing. I think some of the story tries hard to be fictional (the cliches, etc), but some of the story (the Dunkin Donuts, the Blockbuster) makes claims on the real. The film, for me, falls in between, as it should.

I cannot but feel (as they say, Chocolate Lady) that the author wanted the film to have this ambiguous of-the-fiction, not-of-the-fiction status.

Or am I imagining things . . . ?

7:37 AM  

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