Thursday, April 24, 2008

and it's better if i don't read the fiction in its entirety, too.

I was reading (unawares) Alice Munro's story in the old anniversary issue and I started at the part where Nita was telling the story about the deadly rhubarb poison to her visitor (the magazine and I were in the bathroom) and I thought, this story is great. And then I turned to the first page and it was by Munro and I thought, well, I just have to read it. And then it turns out, well . . .

I wonder why she wrote the story in the way she did.

But you know why, really, my posting has been slow? Because I actually hate The New Yorker. That thing that was supposedly about umbrellas, but was really about people who manufacture plastic crap - excuse me, "moldable foam tubes" - in China? That was the last straw.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

see. it's better when I don't read the fiction.

My responses are somewhat unsophisticated. Rivka Galchen, "The Region of Unlikeness."

"Sitting at the table next to mine in a small Moroccan coffee shop on the Upper West Side, they were discussing “Wuthering Heights,” too loudly, having the kind of reference-laden conversation that unfortunately never fails to attract me."


"Jacob looked about forty-five; he was overweight, he was munching obsessively on these unappetizing green leaf-shaped cookies, and he kept saying 'obviously.' "

Ha ha. We had a joke once about "clearly."

"And a bearded young man next to them moved to a more distant table."

Get it? The young man was so pretentious that he had a beard, and yet even he had to move to a more distant table. Oh, I'm dying.

"Ilan added, 'But since Jane Austen’s usually the token woman on university syllabi, it’s understandable if your average undergraduate has a hard time shaking the idea that women are half-wits, moved only by the terror that a man might not be as rich as he seems.' Ilan laughed. Jacob refined Ilan’s statement to 'straight women.' Then to straight women 'in the Western tradition.' "

It happens in JUST THIS WAY.

"He had a great deal to say, with a steady gaze into my eyes, about my reading the New York Post, which he interpreted as a sign of a highly satiric yet demotically moral intelligence. Jacob nodded. I let the flattery go straight to my heart [...]"

This too happens. One blushes modestly and then . . .

"The only thing that came to my mind was the old joke that time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana. I couldn’t bear to say it, so I remained silent."

Under similar conditions, I have said it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

something glossier - VF 4/2008

Or, letting it all hang out.

I really, really liked Robert Frank in China. Something about guys that age. And it was so well written and so about nothing much. Read it, if only online.

I also read something about Bush trying to be all clever with Palestine, and Bilmes and Stiglitz estimation of the real cost of the war. The latter was smart in content, but what I was paying attention to was form - how well they excerpted from a larger work, The Three Trillion Dollar War. They're all over the place, doing this, but practice makes perfect, I guess.

I picked up the April Vanity Fair because of the funny ladies thing, but that was totally slight and not at all funny. I liked the photographs. Not the one on the front, so much as the tarts inside. My favorite photo, the one set in a hotel room, you have to see in the actual magazine.

And Ingrid Sichy on Calvin Klein. The history of a man who sold water, underwear and jeans at above market prices. Among other scams. Read between the lines, if you read it at all.

I also had the opportunity to read the controversial Vogue and a random issue of Self. See thoughts (and links) at Electric Warrior. For the record, I don't think the cover image was inadvertent, and I do think every body looks good in a bikini.