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Posts Tagged ‘Star Trek’

“The Inventiveness of the Writer,” and Other News

April 13, 2015 | by

Gunter_Grass_beim_Blauen_Sofa

Günter Grass in 2010.

  • Günter Grass, best known for his novel The Tin Drum, has died at eighty-seven. “Grass learned a lot from Rabelais and Celine and was influential in development of ‘magic realism’ and Marquez,” Orhan Pamuk said about him. “He taught us to base the story on the inventiveness of the writer no matter how cruel, harsh, and political the story is.”
  • Joseph Mitchell was on staff at The New Yorker for decades—and yet the magazine has suspiciously few of his bylines. What was he doing all that time? “Mitchell had no idea he was embarking on one of the most celebrated writer’s blocks in American letters. In fact, at the time he was juggling a variety of ideas, hoping—assuming—that in his reporting one of them would logically emerge as his next New Yorker piece.”
  • Distracted? Of course you are—this is 2015. It’s in the nature of contemporary society “to manipulate our attention and to profit others … repetitive pseudo-actions create patterns of satisfaction that progressively disconnect us from the world.” And for this preponderance of pseudo-actions we can blame one Immanuel Kant, whose “insistence on autonomy … reads as a denial of mutual entanglement.”
  • Toby Barlow on Derek Walcott and Star Trek: “If any other show had as many scenes in an elevator as Star Trek did, we would have talked about it, complained about it.”
  • On the Anderson Valley Advertiser, which dubs itself “America’s last newspaper” and reads like “Our Town on bad Mendo meth, a Norman Rockwell scene painted in the midst of a weed-wine binge and given a makeover by Hunter S. Thompson.”

This Machine Will Self-Destruct, and Other News

June 19, 2014 | by

monopolies_big_business

Kaboom!

  • New additions to the list of things the pen is mightier than: the mouth, the camera. “As soon as kids acquire a basic understanding of letters and reading … they exhibit a greater trust in printed textual information than in oral or visual information … something about the act of learning to read causes children to ‘rapidly come to regard the written word as a particularly authoritative source of information about how to act in the world.’” And it is. Trust me.
  • Clancy Martin and Amie Barrodale on the Chateau Marmont: “To the left is a room with a lot of nice old mismatched couches and armchairs. Not blocking the chairs, so you might not notice it, just against the far wall, is a podium. An attractive person is always standing there, and if you try to sit in the lobby, he or she says, ‘Are you staying here?’ If you are, then you can sit.”
  • On DIS magazine and accelerationism: “‘Do they really just worship consumerism?’ … As curator Agatha Wara, a DIS associate, once explained it to me, accelerationists believe that ‘the only way to get over capital is through capital’—that is, by accelerating capitalism’s own tendency toward self-destruction.”
  • Speaking of that very tendency, Amazon is making a smartphone.
  • Did you know? It’s not easy to translate Proust: “There is always a tension in translation between the spirit and the letter, between conveying things we might call tone, mood, feel, or music, and being as literally faithful to the original as possible. Moncrieff excelled at both.”
  • How an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation describes the outermost limits of our capacity to communicate: “Tamarian verbalisms depict the world through images and figures, which distort their ‘real’ referents. Troi and Picard can’t help but interpret Tamarian through their (and our) cultural obsession with mimicry: Metaphorical language operates not by signification, but as poetry, by transforming the real in a symbolic mirror. But for the Tamarians, something far weirder is going on …”

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Live Long and Prosper

February 27, 2014 | by

saturday's generation

Milton Glaser Collection Box 57 Folder 14: mechanical for Bloomingdale’s advertisement, c. 1970; image via Container List.

Saturday is a special day for buying and doing beautiful things. A whole day stretching ahead. It’s a new lifestyle. A man. A woman. Art exhibits. Antiquing. Movies. Cocktails. Shopping. … together. You’re searching for a special gown. You want something different. You find it at Regalia, a fully-lined chiffon and velvet gown with matching hot pants. You know fashion. You’re a member of Saturday’s Generation. —Schenectady Gazette ad for Regalia Boutique, 1971

Recently, Gothamist featured a 1976 60 Minutes story on said “Saturday’s Generation”—a short-lived term for the young people who “walk and glide, trip and mince, and stride” through a Bloomingdale’s of a Saturday, doing and buying beautiful things and picking each other up.

In the segment, Blair Sabol (of the Village Voice) describes Saturday’s Generation in terms that, today, may as well be a foreign language, but that seem to spell out proto-yuppie. “I think of a couple, and they live on the Upper East Side, and they have chrome and glass furniture, and they’ve got the brie cheese, and they’re wearing the Famous Amos T-shirt, and they’ve got the right patch jeans … that’s a very heavy identity.” Read More »

Staff Picks: Star Trek, Swede Levov!

August 27, 2010 | by

You must look at this casting sheet for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Wesley Snipes as Geordi? I mean, come on! Talk about parallel universes. —Thessaly La Force

I am always eager to read a new essay by Doubleday editor Gerald Howard. His latest (in Tin House) is about depictions of working-class life in new American fiction—or really, the lack thereof. —Lorin Stein

I'm reading American Pastoral, which has elicited startling responses in public. The quantity and sheer magnitude of the comments I get! One time I opened the book near a window in a coffee shop. A passerby stopped dead, peered at the cover for confirmation, and then starting banging on the window shouting, “Swede Levov! Swede Levov!” —Daisy Atterbury

Dan Engber has written a delightful cultural history of quicksand. “Time was, a director could sink a man in the desert and still win the Oscar for best picture. Today, that gimmick has been scorned in third-rate schlock.” What the heck happened? I say: bring it back. —Thessaly La Force

I have also been catching up on the posts of (sometime diarist) Rita Konig. Rita blogs about decorating for The New York Times. Her current post is about washing machines. I have never owned a washing machine. I have never thought about owning a washing machine. I have no interest in washing machines. And yet I find Rita's interest addictive. (No doubt Gerry would have something perceptive to say about that.) —Lorin Stein

I've just finished The Rings of Saturn, W. G. Sebald's entrancing account of a walking journey through Suffolk, England. This sublime work doesn't just confound traditional literary taxonomies: it actually exposes the slightness of the very question of genre. —Mark de Silva

In honor of the upcoming U.S. Open, I've been rereading David Foster Wallace's on tennis—the Times piece on Roger Federer and the Esquire piece he wrote on Michael Joyce. His sense of wonder is almost childlike. —Miranda Popkey

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