Anybody who does not spend at least a little time every day checking the comment thread on the second part of my Zeek piece is missing out on some truly grade-A internet shit. The hatred is palpable. I’d say something incisive about it, but really … really? You should just go read it and marvel.
I’m speaking at NeMLA (Northeast Modern Language Association) tomorrow, which is my first real conference. I wish it weren’t this close to my oral exams, as I think I could have come up with something a bit more polished if I had the time. Ah well. The paper is sort of about Samuel Beckett but mostly about Nathanael West. I don’t know if I’ll post it on the work page or not, but here’s a sample:
After “Some Notes on Violence,” and after reading West’s note to Cowley, the laughter in the Shoop episode appears as both a representation of a broadly American fascination with violence and as a metastasis of West’s vexed relationship to the comic. The cultural problem of violence and the individual problem of style, then, intersect in a moment of laughter that does not transfer from the page to the reader. In some sense, then, the presentation of this form of black comedy extricates the reader from his own dilemma: we’re required to recognize the scene as comic, but laughing at its comedy makes us the object of its critique.
I saw Slumdog Millionaire last weekend, and though I have little to say about the film itself, I will say that the Angelika really provides the worst movie-going experience you could hope for. Tiny theaters on a 1-degree incline with an aisle cutting right through the middle to ensure that even the best seats in the house are just north of shitty. The upstairs cafe area fools you into thinking you’re about to have a fancy experience, but really it’s like eating a truffle in a bus station men’s room.
And Dustin Hoffman isn’t helping things. Shameful behavior, even by the standards of the Hollywood elite.
I am terrified and disgusted.
Receiving a link to this thread on Stormfront White Nationalist Community message board (NSFW, unless you work for racists or are this guy) from my “transhumanism ” Google Alert was the highlight of my afternoon. The Aryan Transhumanist: proof that a super race of super assholes is possible.
Weirdly, not ten minutes ago I was reading Francis Fukuyama’s Our Posthuman Future. Though a lot of Fukuyama’s claims make me nervous, he doesn’t make me half as nervous as some transhumanists. Straight-up white supremacists tend not to make me nervous at all (unless I actually meet them face to face) because my cultural optimism (Obamaptimism?) is such that I think their views will never again acquire the kind of currency they used to have (what kind of sub rosa currency they still have, though, is a different story). While crazy, transhumanism in its strong form is not racist, but it does share some features (misreadings of evolutionary theory, utopian hopes posited on wing-and-a-prayer cocktail napkin calculations, core beliefs whose sustainability strains common sense) that could render it appealing to those whose political affiliations it would probably shun.