December 18, 2012

the kind of memories that turn your bones to glass

Laura Owens, Untitled, 2004

* Two recent articles relating to David Berman:

-- David Berman and Epistemological Closure in the Propaganda State, by Jeremy Schmall

-- River of Berman, by Thomas Beller

Beller's article discusses Berman inviting King Wenclas to a "relevance off." The invitation was originally published in this post on The Dust Congress, with additional correspondence between the two published a couple of days later.

Further Beller writes:

"Then something strange happened that speaks to the weird life of ideas in the culture. Once he began writing the book, even if he had not written it and had to eat the cold cheeseburger of failure every day, it was a project, an entity. And somehow HBO had gotten hold of it. They wanted to turn it into an HBO drama. A scriptwriter had been assigned to write a pilot. The project gathered steam. HBO would take David Berman’s book about his father and turn it into an hourlong dramatic series.

"And then David had an epiphany. HBO’s secret sauce, common across almost all their shows, is the anti-hero. It struck him that his attempt to unmask the diabolical nature of his father, to strike a blow against his father, would result in his father being turned into the Tony Soprano of D.C. lobbyists. It would glorify his father. He pulled the plug. HBO wanted to shoot the pilot. He said no.

"I don’t know the details but from limited experience I feel safe in saying he walked away from a boatload of money. Many boatloads. His friends thought he was crazy. Harmony Korine castigated him. An hourlong HBO dramatic series is close to the pinnacle of cultural prestige. What was he thinking?"

* "There are no vital and significant forms of art; there is only art, and precious little of that." - Raymond Chandler


Blogger Alexander said...

There is someone's thesis paper lurking in Berman's offhand use of inside the Beltway terms within lyrics that are not ostensibly political at all. Off the top of my head:

"A federal woman needs a municipal man"

The wailing of "Special Economic Zone"

"When the governor's heart fails
the state bird falls from its branch"

And I'm sure many more if one were to systematically comb the corpus.

12:33 PM  

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