Bringing Back Brutalism, and Other News


On the Shelf

Photo: (c) Roberto Conte,

  • Henry Green’s novels are being reissued, and you should read them as soon as you can. Don’t even finish reading this post. Just get up and go buy them and read them. I’ll be here. If you’re not inclined to do what I tell you just because I told you to do it, Leo Robson can convince you more elegantly: “Green believed that well-groomed, well-behaved English was an obstacle to expression. But his style wasn’t a merely negative exercise, a winnowing or clearing out: he delivered a gorgeous, full-bodied alternative. The Henry Green novel—typically portraying failures of love and understanding, and noisy with the vernacular of industrialists and Cockneys, landowners and servants—was terse, intimate, full of accident and unnerving comedy, exquisite though still exuberant, sensual and whimsical, reflexively figurative yet always surprising, preoccupied with social nuance, generational discord, and sensory phenomena while maintaining an air of abstraction, as reflected in those flighty gerund titles.” 

  • I see you’re still reading. Very well, then. It’s time to tell you the story of the pink poop: “In February of 1972, a twelve-year-old boy from Maryland started pooping pink … Doctors ran all kinds of tests before they finally hit on the potential culprit. ‘Further questioning of the mother revealed that the child had eaten a bowl of Franken Berry cereal 2 days and 1 day prior to admission,’ attending physician John V. Payne wrote … After letting the boy’s digestive system clear itself, they set out to test this new hypothesis, giving him four entire bowls of Franken Berry. Sure enough, he pooped pink again. ‘The stool had no abnormal odor, but looked like strawberry ice cream,’ wrote Dr. Payne.”
  • The latest trend in clickbait is to tell you that you’ve fucked up, that you don’t know anything about what you’re doing, that you need the Internet, and the many freelancers writing on it, to tell you how to do every little thing you thought you knew how to do but are in fact too incompetent to bring off properly: “However you’re doing the thing, whatever the thing is, there is a different way to do it, a way that is better than the way you do the thing, which is, that’s correct, wrong. You specifically, the person reading this piece, are doing it wrong. (But so are your friends, so be sure to share this.) … Maybe someone realized that the quickest way to drive traffic to an article is to tell people that even though they know for a fact that the way they are doing the thing is the right way the thing should be done, that they aren’t actually doing it right and now an entire industry template is based on the cynical manipulation of your basest emotions to garner the click you can’t help but give.”
  • Let’s take a deep breath and picture the art world in an authoritarian future: “Inconvenient art will fly out the window—anything non-flat, non-huge, or remotely complex or challenging. Intellectual perspectives, expanded canons, nontraditional histories will be axed—anything that requires an investment of time and effort instead of conspicuous money. Public support will be swapped for Instagram metrics. Art will be fully floated on some kind of Arsedaq. More fairs, longer yachts for more violent assholes, oil paintings of booty blondes, abstract stock-chart calligraphy. Yummy organic superfoods. Accelerationist designer breeding. Personalized one-on-one performances for tax evaders. Male masters, more male masters, and repeat. Art will take its place next to big-game hunting, armed paragliding, and adventure slumming.”