“Of course, next to Roald Dahl, we’re all pretty much hacks when it comes to creative rituals. The way I understand it, Roald did his writing in a shed hidden behind his greenhouse. Always at the exact same times every day. Until lunch, which was always the same. Norwegian prawns and half a head of lettuce. It gets better. Once inside, a grimy plastic curtain covered the window and his isolation was complete. As Dahl said: “No one goes in there but me.” He wouldn’t write a lick until he snuggled into a sleeping bag, pulled it up around his waist and settled himself down into a beat up wing-backed armchair. He had to put his feet up on a battered travelling case filled with logs which, needless to say, he had to have roped to the legs of the armchair so it was always at the perfect distance. It gets better still. Dahl said he always wrote - with six yellow pencils in a jar beside him - on American legal paper. A thermos full of coffee and an electric pencil sharpener were also vital. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. There were heaters aimed at his hands in case it got too cold. Then, and I mean only then, he wrote.”—Chris Powling, Ernie Schenck, Roald Dahl and burningdan mixed.
Having read the man’s very strange autobiography as a child, I believe every word of this. (via sarahalyse)
“Bill Murray gets defensive when told he has a reputation for being difficult. “If it keeps obnoxious people away, that’s fine,” […] “It makes me think of that line you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. People say this to you with a straight face, and I always say, ‘Who. Wants. Flies?’”—Bill Murray reacts to ‘difficult’ reputation (via skybarn) (via andrearosen)
“Before we begin, let us be clear: We speak not of the Rivers Cuomo that was, nor of the Rivers Cuomo that is, nor yet of the Rivers that shall be. We speak, now, of the Platonic ideal of a Rivers Cuomo”—
Super-interesting feminist take on Pinkerton by Sady Doyle over at The Awl. Fantastic writing and a really interesting thesis; however I think she ends up glossing over some fundamental ideas about art by determining to take everything Rivers wrote at face value.
By the time she works up to discussing “No One Else” at the end of the article (sample lyric for those who weren’t in high school in 1997: I want a girl who will laugh for no one else, when I’m away she puts her makeup on the shelf, when I’m away she never leaves the house) she seems to have forgotten her disclaiming introduction (the quote above). The separation between artist and art, between Nabokov and Lolita, is one of the most powerful and interesting parts of creativity to me. And the conflation of the two (that is, of author & protagonist) often results in either weak art on the part of the artist or reductive criticism on the part of the critic.
I should admit up front that I was one of the “boys” who loved Pinkerton, so maybe I’m feeling a bit defensive. But I didn’t love Pinkerton because it taught me how to be a modern heterosexual man. I loved it because it brought some pretty ugly and honest parts of of modern heterosexual masculinity out into the sunlight for scrutiny. And I loved “No One Else” because it meant something to me as a high-school-age boy feeling green-jealousy for the first time. It meant something to say this ugly, nasty, insidious, yet true stuff instead of hiding it — to listen to how sick it sounds out loud; to, you know, sing-along to how sick it sounds. And I’m not saying “No One Else” is on par with, say, Othello as an autopsy of jealousy and universal pettiness. But it does seem important to me to consider Pinkerton, and every other piece of art, as something more intricate than a diary entry.
I find it hard to believe that Rivers’ writing is not operating on multiple levels of meaning: e.g. confession, ablation, irony, cynicism, and self-criticism, just to scratch the surface. Near the end of the album Rivers sings “maybe you’re as real as me, maybe I need fantasy.” And this always seemed to me more like a sad, sad joke than a manifesto.
All that said, it really is a fantastic article, and I recommend reading it.
So is Pinkerton solipsistic? Absolutely. Did it help to enshrine self-absorbed, neutered pseudo-sensitivity as a new masculine ideal? Almost certainly. But is it misogynistic? I’m not sure.
“The telephone was an aberration in human development. It was a 70 year or so period where for some reason humans decided it was socially acceptable to ring a loud bell in someone else’s life and they were expected to come running, like dogs. This was the equivalent of thinking it was okay to walk into someone’s living room and start shouting. It was never okay.”—Rick Webb about this (via toldorknown) (via marco)
“[The Tuyuca language] requires verb-endings on statements to show how the speaker knows something. Diga ape-wi means that “the boy played soccer (I know because I saw him)”, while diga ape-hiyi means “the boy played soccer (I assume)”. English can provide such information, but for Tuyuca that is an obligatory ending on the verb. Evidential languages force speakers to think hard about how they learned what they say they know.”—Difficult Languages, a sadly now-paywalled story from The Economist (via winandtonic) (via kavalierandclay)
“I’m excited about digital books for a number of reasons. Their proclivity towards multimedia is NOT one of them. I’m excited about digital books for their meta potential. The illumination of, in the words of Richard Nash, that commonality between two people who have read the same book.”—
“Kitsch causes two tears to flow in quick succession. The first tear says: How nice to see children running on the grass! The second tear says: How nice to be moved, together with all mankind, by children running on the grass. It is the second tear that makes kitsch kitsch.”—Milan Kundera (via revawilliams)