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Posts Tagged ‘Margaret Atwood’

The End of the Internet: An Interview with Matthew Thurber

January 2, 2014 | by

Infomaniacs

I met cartoonist and musician Matthew Thurber six-odd years ago somewhere in Prospect Park (a séance? a picnic?), and then saw him play alto saxophone in his Muzak-jazz-punk trio Soiled Mattress and the Springs at the New York Art Book Fair. We kept running into one another in odd places; or, since New York City is now lacking in odd places, at places where subculture obsessives go to convince themselves there’s still oddness in the world. Soiled Mattress broke up in 2008, but Thurber’s “Anti-Matter Cabaret” act Ambergris has continued, and sometimes he plays with artist Brian Belott as Court Stenographer and Young Sherlock Holmes. In 2011, after years of publishing minicomics, zines, and books on tape, Thurber collected his serial 1-800-Mice in graphic-novel form. It’s about a messenger mouse named Groomfiend, a peace punk named Peace Punk, and a cast of thousands. More recently, Thurber wrote a culture diary for this blog, and started Tomato House gallery with his girlfriend, Rebecca Bird, in Ocean Hill, Brooklyn.

Thurber’s new graphic novel, Infomaniacs, is about the singularity and the end of the Internet; it’s also the final book from the great comics publisher PictureBox, which serialized parts of Infomaniacs online starting in 2010. The book’s heroine is Amy Shit, a punk rapper who sometimes lives off the grid—in a subway tunnel, even. Her brother’s a neo–Ned Ludd who goes around smashing iPhones. Meanwhile, Ralph is an Internet addict who escapes from reality rehab, then embeds in an immortality cult run by a libertarian oligarch who wants to eat the brain of the last man who’s never seen the Internet. A horse and a bat, both intelligence agents for the ATF (Anthropomorphic Task Force), wonder what the singularity will look like—a 1950s computer, a crystal, a cell phone, a tree branch?

Thurber’s video trailer offers a sense of the comic’s raucous hugger-mugger and subterranean surrealism, but doesn’t touch on its Underground Man againstness. For that, perhaps this quote, from an early, uncollected strip: “All bundled up and no place to go … The man who hates the Internet is a man who hates the world.”

Thurber and I met in the office I share with a puppet theater, near the Barclays Center. Giant heads hung from the walls. I don’t have Wi-Fi and don’t know anyone’s password. Read More »

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Well, This Is Depressing, and Other News

November 19, 2013 | by

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  • The Oxford Word of the Year is … selfie.
  • Here is a series of cowboy poets, looking very authentically cowboy-ish indeed.
  • Well, swell. Right-wing extremists destroyed a statue of the poet Radnóti Miklós, who died during the Holocaust, and are burning his books.
  • “Wonderful Doris Lessing has died. You never expect such rock-solid features of the literary landscape to simply vanish. It’s a shock.” Margaret Atwood salutes the late laureate

 

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Margaret Atwood Will Not Blurb Your Book, and Other News

November 6, 2013 | by

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  • “I blurb only for the dead, these days.” Margaret Atwood’s form rejection poem
  • For centuries, Beowulf scholars have translated the epic’s opening line as, “Listen!” But now, Dr. George Walkden argues that “the use of the interrogative pronoun ‘hwæt’ (rhymes with cat) means the first line is not a standalone command but informs the wider exclamatory nature of the sentence which was written by an unknown poet between 1,200 and 1,300 years ago.”
  • In the past year, ninety-eight small UK publishers went under, a 42 percent rise from the year prior.
  • We wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but here is a guide to how to drink like Dorothy Parker.

 

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The Edible Woman

August 7, 2013 | by

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Jane Austen’s ascendency to the rank of currency has inspired our friends at AbeBooks to suggest a series of literary bills. Perhaps our favorite is this Margaret Atwood $20 note—not least because it is she who once wrote, in Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, that “the primary wealth is food, not money.”

 

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Austen Ousts Darwin, and Other News

July 26, 2013 | by

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  • Jane Austen is indeed replacing Darwin on the £10 note.
  • Margaret Atwood has written an opera, fifteen years in development, about the poet Pauline Johnson.
  • The letters of Roald Dahl, spanning most of his life, will be published in 2016.
  • This map, a “chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the comings and goings of characters in the The Great Gatsby,” is lovely.
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    Anne Brontë Gets a Headstone, and Other News

    May 3, 2013 | by

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  • Anne Brontë finally gets an accurate headstone. (The original misstated her age.)
  • “For heaven’s sake, what kind of question is that?” Claire Messud bristles at the notion that characters should be likable. 
  • The Atlantic is launching a line of e-books.
  • HBO gives Olive Kitteridge the miniseries treatment.
  • In other film news, can you distinguish an Atwood novel from a Hollywood thriller?
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