January 17, 2006

And so I dance in dirty pants
A drink in my hand

Albert Kotin, Tropic, 1959

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"6. Chris Matthews

"The moon-faced champion of late-afternoon/early-evening cable news shoutfests put forth an interesting theory last week: that breaking the law is, in fact, part of the president's job. I'm not making this up - here's the transcript:

"Matthews: We're under attack on 9-11. A couple of days after that, if I were president of the United States and somebody said we had the ability to check on all the conversations going on between here and Hamburg, Germany, where all the Al Qaeda people are, or somewhere in Saudi [Arabia], where they came from and their parents are, and we could mine some of that information by just looking for some key words like "World Trade Center" or "Pentagon," I'd do it.

"Russell Tice: Well, you'd be breaking the law.

"Matthews: Yeah. Well, maybe that's part of the job.

"Yeah. Well, maybe Matthews is an idiot. How the hell did we get here? Back in 1974 Richard Nixon was forced out of office for breaking the law. 30 years later, the media is telling us that breaking the law is part of the president's job. Brilliant."

* Interview of stanley elkin. excerpt:

"Interviewer: In a previous interview you admitted feeling little sympathy with 'literature of exhaustion' notions of the futility of language. Are you particularly conscious of your work as a corrective to ideas such as the erasure of the author?

"Elkin: Well, I'm not in battle with the French, who do not sing to me, or of me, anyway, but I'm going over the galleys of a collection of novellas that is coming out in March, and I'm so pleased as I read this stuff aloud to my graduate student who's helping me correct the galleys that the language is as good as it's ever been. This is going to sound dopey, but I sometimes get emotional at how good I occasionally am. And I'm not just talking about the fireworks--I'm talking about getting Sam from one part of the room to the other part of the room. For me, language is still where it's at.

"Interviewer: A writer once told me that she thought it would be impossible for reviewers to overpraise any of her novels--that, given the work she'd put into them and the neglect into which they were likely to fall, no one could ever respond positively enough to suit her. Would you agree that reading reviews is necessarily a disappointing experience?

"Elkin: Yes, yes I would. But I find that the good reviews are often just as dopey as the bad reviews. Except that often, when a reviewer catches something that I'm deliberately trying to do, that's sort of touching to me. So, in a way I don't agree with her. When the reviewer seems to have a kind of perfected pitch to the notes I'm sending out, I get all warm and fuzzy.
"Interviewer: You once traveled to a small college for a reading that has become the stuff of legend and an object lesson in how not to host a visiting writer. Care to recall it?

"Elkin: Yeah. I was picked up at the airport by this guy in the English Department in Williamsport, the home of the Little League, but I didn't know how little this league was I was going to be playing in. For those times those days, this was big money for me--I think it was five hundred dollars for three days' work, plus expenses. We got into the car, we start driving towards Lockhaven, and he doesn't say anything to me. Then finally he says, 'We're not going to give you a party.' I said, 'What do you mean?' 'A lot of people don't like parties,' he says. I said, 'Who? Who doesn't like parties?'

Anyway, he wasn't going to give me one; he'd take me to the hotel room, he'd pick me up for the class and drop me off again, but I was on my own. I sort of didn't believe him--I didn't believe this was going to happen. So he left me at my hotel and told me he'd pick me up the next day at 10 A.M. This is one in the afternoon. There was a Merv Griffin festival on cable, so I watched that, and by the next morning I'm ready to see a human being, and the guy picked me up and took me to his class, and I did my thing. He brought me back to the hotel--he didn't invite me to dinner, nobody gave me dinner, I had dinner at the hotel, charged it to my room. On the third day he picked me up again and delivered me to the reading, which wasn't even in the auditorium--it was in the 'lobby' to the auditorium. And people came--I mean, not a lot of people, there aren't a lot of people that go to Lockhaven State College--and I gave my reading.

After the reading, I asked him, 'Where's my check?'--because I was pretty pissed at this guy. He said, 'That hasn't been made out yet.' 'Is it in the mail?' 'No, I told you, it hasn't been made out yet.' So he took me back to the hotel, and I asked at the desk, 'Do you still do room service?' 'Oh, yes sir, what would you like?' 'I'm giving a little party in my room. I'd like sandwiches for about thirty people. I'd like a bottle of scotch, I'd like a bottle of this, a bottle of that, maybe some canapes--just send it up to the room and I'll sign for it.' And they did--these fucking trays kept coming in. I had a sandwich, maybe I had a drink, and I flushed everything else down the toilet. Nobody's gonna give me a party, I'll give 'them' a party. That's what happened to me at Lockhaven State College."

* "Hatred of the bourgeois is the beginning of all virtue." -- Flaubert

* If you are in the Atlanta area on Sunday, check out this Dust Congress-approved reading by Eric Ambling (reading poems from upcoming Twin Vapor) and Minus Times contributor Brent Van Daley:

Endzones of Beneficial Truth reading tour
Sunday, Jan. 22nd
@ A Cappella Books
Atlanta, GA 7p.m.

some subjects include: decoder rings, Virginia Slims, suburban forests,jews, harps, Polish indians and emotional rules, rights and rigormortis!


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