Saturday, March 10, 2012

Internet Lovelies

I didn’t even want to go on the date. That sounds terrible but I just went because I thought, well, he asked and, “Who am I to say no?” That sounds terrible too. I’m a feminist! I mean, come on. The entire time, I thought, “I do not want to be here. I do not want to talk to him. I want to go home.” It’s a situation I’ve been in countless times. I write about it sometimes, this sense of entrapment where I feel unduly obligated to say yes to things...

...He said something “jokingly” and inane about how if he stayed all night we could do some work together. It was supposed to be charming but it was not. I smiled and said, “No thanks.” He said, “Let’s at least finish the movie, the wine.” HULK MAD HULK SMASH MAN FACE! I politely said, “I need to end the evening,” and he was still on his own agenda. He is truly a nice guy (he is, just maybe not good at reading cues). I didn’t know what to do. I felt like… I was speaking English and I did so clearly and somehow that wasn’t translating into whatever the hell language he hears when people speak to him. For now, I am going to call that language DICK.
Roxane Gay, Link

You know that Aaliyah song, "Try Again"? Well men, please don't listen to that. If at first you don't succeed, that's it. Please stop. Because you're coming off as rapey. I'm talking to you, creepers of the library.

When I see a fresh red heart in facebook’s “is now in a relationship” status update, I secretly wait for its full metastasis into a tumor.
Jimmy Chen, Link

I picture a bunch of unsatisfied people in this country, this grand first world country with clean water and dirty Gods, going to a country with dirty water and clean Gods, to negotiate happiness, to bargain for it, to try to find “something” in a world whose atomic constituent was built, literally, upon nothing. And we wonder why we’re empty.
Jimmy Chen, Link

In support of my "save the bookstores" tips from awhile back: GalleyCat reports that the sale of mass market paperbacks is down 41% from last year. If you're a small indie bookstore, you should maybe consider discontinuing selling cheap paperbacks of bestsellers. The consumer type for this market is more likely to own an e-reader. Or will just buy them from the grocery store anyway, along with their frozen burritos. Do you sell frozen burritos in your bookstore? Then stop selling James Patterson.

Remember the VIDA statistics I talked about last year? Well they're just as dismal this year. We're in the future!

I personally was on Facebook for two weeks as part of a piece of journalism I was writing — it seemed sort of dumb to me. Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose…it’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters…it’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’…It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium.

People I care about are readers…particularly serious readers and writers, these are my people. And we do not like to yak about ourselves.
Jonathan Franzen, Link

*cough* *hack* Sorry, just trying to wave away this cloud of 'smug' that materialized from my computer monitor and enveloped itself around me.

Franzen, you don't need to yak about yourself. Freedom was an Oprah's Book Club pick. A writer who uses social media to gain an audience for their work can be "serious." Whatever you mean by that. Although in my opinion being part of Oprah's book club automatically strips you of whatever "seriousness" you once held, in my own interpretation of the term.

I've never attempted a Franzen novel, mostly because he says shit like this all the time. And writes vaguely misogynistic articles about Edith Wharton. I've always found it difficult to separate the artist from the art. No matter how many times the Ender's Game series is recommended to me, my mind keeps going back to the fact that Orson Scott Card is a hateful homophobe. And maybe I'm missing out on some really good books. But there are a lot of good books out there--more than I'll ever have time to read--so I may as well support the ones written by 'good' authors.

I'm a bit on the defense here because I spend a disproportionate amount of each day on twitter; that most "irresponsible medium." I don't do it for recognition or to market myself (what would I even be marketing!?). I don't care how many followers I have. I just enjoy having a creative outlet that's challenging and allows me to be anonymous (translation: this blog has my full name attached to it, so dick jokes are kept to a minimum. Hi future employers!).

I understand what Franzen is saying about "writing a novel without a P." The format of twitter is a gimmick. You get just 140 characters. It's a challenge that he would utterly fail; you can't craft a tweet containing a word like 'semaphoring' and expect it to fit under the limit. But no one's trying to tweet longwinded intellectual arguments--the medium just doesn't support it. That's no reason to completely dismiss it. As Roxane Gay aptly puts it, "It’s like Franzen is saying, 'I cannot swim in my car and therefore my car is not useful.'" I have been introduced to SO many great writers through twitter (albeit ones Franzen probably wouldn't consider Serious™). And they didn't need Oprah to gain my attention. Just great writing.

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