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Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Hubster, Mar 9, 2006.
Same goes! ** waves **
It has been awhile for me as well. As I penned to Justin S., a combination of being out of the country (something that happens fairly regularly) and having my OS, in HAL-fashion, assume the qualities of a road flare (something that I hope doesn't happen too frequently) have kept me long overdue.
Happy to be back.
Question for everyone:
Would it be a bad thing to have an off topic thread to just speak shoite in if we want? I mean, would it be a bad thing? Sure, there will be ludicrous things brought up, and stupid debates are likely, but is that necessarily a bad thing? I just ask this since Nile closed the "Thought of the day" thread.
Can you be more specific as to the nature of the fecal matter that you are interested in espousing?
In a sense, all topics are off-topic to most other topics...right? The aspect of this forum that I love is that it is designed to move away from what I would call the typical, free-wheeling internet-forum construct in which, more often than not, ideas and statements abound unchecked.
If there is a topic that you wish to engender, you can start a thread about said topic; the subsequent interest (or lack thereof) will keep the thread alive as long as is necessary.
If you are looking for something generally social in its basic nature, I wonder why you would want to set up that thing here, considering the fact that this is not a "social" sub-forum (It is, of course, social...but its prime directive is to allow discussion of a particular nature).
I am not opposed to such a thread, but I would love to know a little more about what you would want to do with it.
A thread much like the "Thought of the Day" one was what I was thinking, as it was basically about anything you wanted it to be. The purpose would simply be to allow people to vent their problems, converse with others or just to let everyone know what they did in school, etc. I know there's a chat forum for that kind of thing but not everyone on here goes there, and not everyone from there comes here. It would be an opportunity to get to know the people on here anyway, but then so is this thread. Meh, I dunno, it probably wouldn't work and this is a forum specifically for philosophy.
^ "...what they did in school..." Ouch, you sure know how to hurt an "old" guy
Hah apologies! I guess there aren't actually that many people on here who go to school anyway.
New issue of 'Air in the Paragraph Line' zine, featuring contributions by two 'The Philosopher' forum regulars.
Air in the Paragraph Line is an anthology of fiction, stories, rants, and tales by up-and-coming writers who are (allegedly): entertaining, obscure, and cutting-edge. It's designed to be readable, enjoyable, and cheap.
Now Available - Issue #11!
Issue 11 is the "work" issue, containing 22 stories about work (or lack thereof) by Tony Byrer, Joshua Citrak, Mike Daily, Kurt Eisenlohr, Nile577, Josh Hamilton, M. David Hornbuckle, Robert W. Howington, Stephen Huffman, mj klein, Jon Konrath, Dege Legg, Sarah Katherine Lewis, Vijay Prozak, Lisbeth Rieshøj Pedersen, John Sheppard, Motel Todd, Julie Wiskirchen, and Sergeant Zeno.
Issue 11 is 238 pages with 21 stories by 19 writers and no useless filler, for only $10.99 (£6.00) plus shipping.
To order or see a preview click here: Air in the Paragraph Line #11 by Jon Konrath (Book) in Literature & Fiction
More info: Air in the Paragraph Line
For anyone who cares, I got some pics from my band's show on the 23rd.
Yes, that is me wearing chainmail armor.
Looks like everyone enjoyed themselves there.
The chainmail is an interesting idea. I hope it isn't dangerous with electric guitars though - I mean as a conductor. I sometimes wonder about the danger of electrocution from electric guitars. I saw a video of a band standing in puddles of water - but I suppose that must not be as dangerous as it looks perhaps
It really isn't too dangerous, since I'm technically not touching any parts with a lethal, or remotely dangerous, electrical current running through it. I think if anything, it's more dangerous for the guitar itself, since usually, something like chainmail armor would scratch up the body like there's no tomorrow. (But mine doesn't scratch my guitars, so it all works out. )
(I hope you don't mind me continuing this old discussion/adding some comments from your PM)
I must admit, I worship Pynchon as an author and profoundly respect him as a person. I think he is second only to Joyce in terms of prose writing. I don't understand how you can call him cold and artificial. Pynchon writes the IS of thinking; or at least an 'IS' I can relate to. I find Gravity's Rainbow to be awe inspiring, hilarious, disgusting and knowing. Symbolism is pervasive, I admit, but that's the whole point: it's surrealism, in which regular, every-day objects are presented in an unusual context. The point of such is not empty novelty but a brilliant awareness of aesthetic reality, more important than the bland, functional world in which many would persuade us we live. I think you should give him another chance. Perhaps the problem is that you read too quickly. For me, Pynchon should be savoured in his density. I think he is best understood when the reader has time to unravel the plethora of imagery from his waves of prose. And what prose it is! For sheer brilliance of craft I present the following two extracts, both taken from within the first 50 pages of the novel:
And a favourite of mine: surely this description of a building shows an extreme mastery of the idiom?
I think the above paragraph is worth more than the entire literary output of many writers. It is dense, brilliant, profound and beautiful. I literally 'think like that.' In that sense, I find Pynchon far more of a 'realist' than Balzac or George Eliot. He ranks alongside Joyce, Proust and Freud as a navigator of the mind, although, like Virginia Woolf in The Waves, he paints the outer-world with the same aesthetic brush the aforementioned painted the inner.
I likewise don't see why you dismiss the great Melville and Faulkner as 'hacks' yet seem to (I infer) enjoy Joyce (the 'Irish writing' you mention?). Melville is a genius of characterisation and social allegory based on ancient mythic paradigms. As a prose writer he is immense - the text of Moby Dick positively crackles with barnacles and whistles like the wind through the sails.
Anyhow, these are but the observations of a sub-sub librarian.
It depends. My favourite book ever is Joyce's Finnegans Wake. I think alone it is almost worth more than the entire canon of C20 literature. Yes, it's replete with wordplay, but the wordplay is an attempt to move towards a new paradigm of writing and, indeed, thought itself. It is, in a Heideggerian sense, truly 'ontological' literature. I'm wary of reading literature through the lense of philosophy too directly, but in many ways postmodernism touches on Heideggerian themes so, along with Beckett (whose first published work was a defense of Finnegans Wake), it doesn't surprise me that Jacques Derrida was one of the book's most staunch advocates.
Finnegans Wake is beyond literature. It exists on a rarefied plane. Nothing like it can or ever will be written again. Forgive my waxing lyrical but I view it was the supreme achievement of human culture. I am never short of awe - terrible, stunned awe - when I read a single a page of it and realize contained within is the content of a whole novel.
Someone should start a literature thread.
I should probably try Pynchon again, as those are some lovely passages. I just remember not liking the few pages I read.
No, I have no problem with Melville (dont think I mentioned him) and like him quite a bit, and I think Fitzgerald was talented, but perhaps didnt live up to his potential--for the life of me I dont get why so many Americans think he's the greatest novelist ever. My problem with American lit is its about storytelling and realism more than anything else, and storytelling and "realism--in the strict literal sense" are things I have little talent at, nor do I really care to read. SO its all about personal preference.
So, some thoughts from a writer beyond the garden of forking paths, blindly searching for literary inspiration and enjoyment in the labyrinthine tartarean black that is the State of Kentucky. (There's some really terrible libraries here people. Im shocked how few books they have!)
I agree somewhat here. This Side of Paradise is undoubtedly a poor man's Portrait of the Artist. I rather enjoy The Beautiful & Damned however. I think, even more than Gatsby, it highlights the bland, 'gestured' existence of modernity and the tension inherent to the passing of time for those who ride the razor of transient, youthful flesh.
I think Kerouac's On The Road confronts similar themes, while Henry Miller's Tropics are a view from the inside: a great, walking, sybaritic stomach of Fitzgeraldian indulgence, only unrepentant and prepared to fashion its own Lawrencian god of fucking.
I think these texts explicate the crux of arguments over sexuality in modernity and, in the case of Miller, capture the hedonistic ethos of secular Capitalist society. In many ways Miller was slapped between a cover and branded with a pentagram to be sold as the Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey.
Here is a review of Air In The Paragraph zine #11 (by Infoterror, who, despite contributing an excellent piece, is far too modest here to mention himself by name. Note: *egads, I am Vonnegutian*.)
Air in the Paragraph Line #11
Death metal zine editor Jon Konrath completes his transition into literature with a new literary zine that despite its humble origins outdoes most longstanding literary magazines. As many have found out, the American literary magazine has been almost entirely swallowed up by the professional creative writing establishment. This group of teachers, publishers and editors believes in one type of story: the workshop story. In that type of fiction, the author invents a story based on the motivations of a character, and therefore must develop a character with an abundance of neuroses and dysfunctions so that these can be used as symbols.
The problem with said story is that they are about nothing, because they assume all characters are similarly motivated by different aspects of their lives, and they don't convey anything to us as the audience. We read about people finding inspiration in the smallest things and...? The world keeps turning. Nothing has changed. No one has adopted a new path. They are the artistic equivalent of Hallmark cards. Konrath fights this by focusing on content over form, and so admits sotries that at first glance seem provincial compared to the slick, vocabulary-abundant fiction of the bigger literary rags. It's amusing that a death metal fan working on weekends produced a better litzine than those from most major universities.
Not all of it succeeds. Some of these stories fall dead into the workshop story model, but some, such as an enterprising work by Michael Gilbert, attempt to infuse the workshop story with a Vonnegutian running narrative on a theory of existence. Others are simply surly, in the Bukowskian tradition of detesting society and resisting it within oneself without achieving anything. Lisbeth Pedersen does a good take on the textual/puncutation trip that would make Barthelme proud, Kurt Eisenlohr raps out a personality piece, and Jon Konrath brings out his usual style of amusing narrative with a textural piece of asides that make vivid clarity of the downfall of American life.
This is especially good in that it has Tom Wolfe-esque insights into the status-motivations of people, and thus the conflict between values and tangibles, that bring our time alive warts and all to the intellectualized reader. These are the highlights, and while much of the rest falls into general categories that do not inspire, the meaningful situations addressed per page are much, much higher than your average literary rag penned by effete leftist intellectuals watching The Downtrodden longingly through binoculars. As such, "Air in the Paragraph Line" succeeds as a stab through the fog of social constructs into the literality of life in the modern time.
- v. Prozak Book Reviews
Should we start a lit thread? It might just be the two of us commenting.
I did read The Beautiful and the Damned a few months ago and really liked it. The characters had real depth and soul, and I enjoyed reading it.
Never read Miller however.
Anyway, Im currently reading The encyclopedia of the dead by Danilo Kis. Excellent stuff, I really recommend it.
Yes, its a shame infoterror doesnt post here that often.
I've never taken a creative writing class, or have any idea what they're teaching, but I agree with alot of infoterrors assesment. Its usually technically good, but not very interesting, different, challenging or new in form. Just my opinion. And lets face it, 99.99% of America doesnt give a damn, even if you are a well-regarded famous author. It takes oprah to get anyone but a few lit devotees, and college lit departments to even notice. ut even then, I suppose thats better than the state of philosophy.
Speaking of this, I remember an interview of Gore Vidal with god a few other famous American authors i forgot (and its hard to remember when you have Gore Vidal with anyone else), and he was absolutely ripping apart the literature's place in the American university system; blaming it for the poor writing of today; and stating they were making literature into something its not--from creativity and enjoyment, to some academic exercise where these creative works of art and enjoyment are coldly dissected and misinterpreted by failed writers themselves, or how these academics now think lit is only good if it spreads certain in vogue at the time messages and other such nonsense.
However, I think form and prose are as important as content; or even more so. When it gets right down to it, there has to be some enchantment for me to really sit up and take notice--and humor. Its something thats hard to describe, but present in only a few writers. If Im not enthralled, amazed, amused or enchanted, I dont care. Thats my definition of good literature, and art for that matter. And as good as any, because its all a matter of personal taste.
I will be on holiday for the next couple of weeks, so computer time will be at a minimum. I'll update the 'book of the month' threads when I return. I hope everyone had a pleasing new year.
I love Pynchon, and would count him (along with his polar opposite, Hemmingway) as one of the two greatest literary stylists and aestheticists of the 20th century (I for one, have little use for the turgid interiority of Joyce). On the other hand, his work at times suffers from the disease of bigness (this is especially true of Mason & Dixon, though Gravity's Rainbow occasionally shudders under the weight of its own erudition and complexity as well), so I tend to find myself drawn most often to his more managable work.