“Because the Internet, Glover’s [a.k.a. Childish Gambino] second album, is about the postmodern Catch-22 of the telecommunication age, which (to put it somewhat reductively) is that millions of people are talking endlessly to millions of other people online about how alienated they feel from the bulk of human existence.”—Steven Hyden, Donald Glover’s 404 Error
To put it in the sort of simplistic terms that I’ll no doubt come to regret using: self-doubt is the best friend and the worst enemy of the writer. Because being a writer isn’t like being a tennis player or a boxer, where you presumably have to hunt down and ruthlessly eliminate the source of any flickering shadow of suspicion that you might not be destined for victory. As a writer, you have to take your own misgivings seriously; you have to attend, now and then, to the little voice in your head or the booming baritone in your gut that wishes you to know that what you are writing is entirely without value.
The trick, of course, is to know when to listen to it and when to tell it to shut its stupid fat face. I say this as someone who has never quite learned that particular trick. And so because I seem congenitally predisposed to doubt myself, I tend to err on the side of caution with these things; I tend to listen to what the inner critic is saying, on the assumption that it probably knows what it’s talking about.
“Which is to say, next time you see that post that aches of someone being lonely or craving attention or desperately wanting us to think they have a great life (and haven’t we all done it? Apologies for all the times I’m sure I have!) – don’t rush to hatred or venom, to raising your middle finger at the screen. Think ‘we’ll work it out in a few years’ and ask if you can do something loving to make someone you are invested in feel better.”—Kester Brewin, On Being Insufferable On Facebook
New record this Summer… Not a Born and Raised “plus”… A new group of songs to bring the whole thing up to date with Summer 2013. I have that hunger that always precedes something meaningful. See you all soon. And thanks for the warm welcome back to the stage. Getting back on it a little at a time.
“…and if [David Foster] Wallace teaches us anything it’s that you should be the sort of person who not only obligingly follows footnotes and endnotes but finds great value in doing so.”—Cohen, Samuel S., and Lee Konstantinou. The Legacy of David Foster Wallace. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2012. Print. xxii.
By now, this accursed bass drone feels as if it has always been a part of our cinematic lives. Yet its reign of sonic terror has been relatively brief, dating, with a fewantecedents, to a string of trailers made for Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” from 2010. The teaser for the film was released in 2009, and featured music by Mike Zarin. The movie’s third trailer, this time scored by Zach Hemsey, added a playful and clever string element over Zarin’s big booms. Both of these components were then absorbed into the film’s soundtrack, by Hans Zimmer, a composer who, based largely on his work on Nolan’s films in the past decade, probably deserves most of the blame for loosing this particular rock slide into the world.
I was thinking about this very thing last night after seeing/hearing a trailer for NBC’s Hannibal, the music of which is a blatant ripoff of Zimmer’s “accursed bass drone.” Glad to know it’s not just me.
An opposite tendency [of the placebo effect]—and one that has been largely overlooked by the research community—is the nocebo effect. Put simply, it is the phenomenon in which inert substances or mere suggestions of substances actually bring about negative effects in a patient or research participant. For some, being informed of a pill or procedure’s potential side effects is enough to bring on real-life symptoms. Like the placebo effect, it is still poorly understood and thought to be brought about by a combination of Pavlovian conditioning and a reaction to expectations.
With “Epic Fail,” Mark O’Connell has rocketed to the top (or near-top) of my Authors To Watch list. Although he has written for various outlets including The Millions, Slate, The Guardian, etc., this was the first longform piece of his I’ve read, and I was completely dazzled.
"Epic Fail" is intelligent cultural critique intelligently written. Like others, I read (rather, devoured) it in one sitting; I was frequently nodding in agreement and even more frequently making notes in order to preserve O’Connell’s fresh insights and adroit prose. I normally hesitate to bestow five-star reviews, but for my part "Epic Fail" is a no-brainer. I’ve already recommended the essay both publicly and privately.
To those who wish it had more of a “conclusion” or final chapter: I found that each chapter contained its own conclusions and that the piece as a whole stands on its own without need for a summation. Even those chapters that end on an ambiguous note are done so (in my opinion) intentionally — requiring the reader to wrestle with the questions and come to his or her own conclusions.
Do not be fooled; although it may look like it, this is not brainless BuzzFeed-lit. “Epic Fail” is an engaging and erudite discourse in pop clothing.
The last and only other review I posted on Amazon was in 2006. It’s that good.
“The only problem is that rumors are now reported with the same tone and structure as hard news, and modern readers (no matter what they claim) have been trained to consume gossip and fact in the exact same way.”—Chuck Klosterman, I Lived a CIA Conspiracy Theory
“In still other words, what if we chose to accept the fact that every few years, despite all reasonable precautions, some hundreds or thousands of us may die in the sort of ghastly terrorist attack that a democratic republic cannot 100-percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make it worth protecting?”—
Today we’re announcing an update to the Facebook app for iPhone and iPad that makes keeping up with friends faster and easier. Facebook 5.0 for iOS is twice as fast as the previous version when launching the app, scrolling through news feed and opening photos in feed.
It is very interesting, from the stand point of biography, that Wallace’s writing struggles are so important to so many. I wish, though, that Max found Wallace’s struggles with and attempts at religion important too. What does that say? What does it say that Wallace dedicated some time trying to be a part of church communities? How did that work and how did it play out?
[DFW responding to a question about the role of religion in his life] “Now look, I am not being the slightest bit sarcastic AT ALL when I just say… ‘Ditto.’”
It remains a dream of mine to someday do doctoral work on this very topic: How did religion and the life of faith shape Wallace as a person? How did it influence his writing? Seems like a gaping hole in the still-developing field of Wallace Studies.
[Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story] is a “balanced” portrait, by which I mean that along with all the stuff about Wallace’s brilliance there are also some unflattering surprises. For example: I didn’t realize Wallace was struggling with so much anger.
— Lev Grossman on D.T. Max’s forthcoming DFW biography and the decline of hysterical realism. Can not wait to read this (by which I mean the biography).