Articles by Mark O'Connell

January 22, 2013

Introducing The Millions Originals and An Excerpt of Our First eBook, ‘Epic Fail’ 7

To kick off our new series, Dublin-based staff writer Mark O’Connell has penned an exploration of the internet-era obsession with terrible art – bad YouTube pop songs, Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, and that endless stream of “Worst Things Ever” that invades your inboxes, newsfeeds, and Twitter streams. What, exactly, draws us to these futile attempts at making songs, movies, and art? Read on for the first chapter of The Millions‘ first ebook original, Epic Fail: Bad Art, Viral Fame, and the History of the Worst Thing Ever.

December 15, 2012

A Year in Reading (And Not): Mark O’Connell 1

I’m always buying books on the basis that they are exactly the books I should be reading, while knowing that the likelihood of my ever starting them, let alone finishing them, is vanishingly small. I have no idea how many works of academic literary criticism I have bought on this basis, but it is, I fear, a number approaching shitloads.

December 3, 2012

Appearing Elsewhere 0

I wrote an essay for The Dublin Review on the strange phenomenon of Internet unboxing videos, in which people remove new purchases from their packaging and talk us through the process in exhaustive detail. You can read the whole thing online here.

November 26, 2012

Infographics of Despair: Chris Ware’s Building Stories 4

Only bad art is depressing; good art, no matter what its subject, is exhilarating.

November 7, 2012

Double Take: A Momentary Encounter With a Murderer and his Fictional Likeness 2

One evening a couple of weeks ago, I passed a murderer in the front square of Trinity College Dublin. It was Malcolm MacArthur, a man in his late sixties who spent the last thirty years in prison for killing two strangers in July of 1982. He is arguably the most notorious murderer in Ireland’s notoriously murderous history.

August 22, 2012

A Martin Amis Hatchet Job? On Lionel Asbo: State of England 5

The Martin Amis Hatchet Job is, at this point, a sort of minor literary genre in its own right. As a rule, the reviewer will mention at least one (but preferably many more) of the following list of topics: misogyny; Islamophobia; dentistry; patrician contempt for the working classes; sonship of Kingsley; mentorship of Bellow; friendship of Hitchens; enmity of Barnes and/or Eagleton; earliness of success; velvetness of trousers.

April 19, 2012

On Point: David Rees, The Proust of Pencil Sharpeners 14

I’m surprised to hear that you communists overseas are using your own individual sharpeners in classrooms. It’s a very Ayn-Randian position to take. “I’ve got my pencil sharpener, fuck you if you can’t afford a pencil sharpener! Sharpen your pencil with your bootstrap!”

March 27, 2012

Cool Story, Bro: The Provocations of John D’Agata 9

To say The Lifespan of a Fact is mostly boring is a bit like saying that a Molotov cocktail is mostly boring because it’s just a bottle of petrol with an old rag stuffed into it.

March 15, 2012

Everything I Write is True, But So What?: Edouard Levé’s Autoportrait 5

If you’re looking for a way to ruin a perfectly good first date, do the following: lean forward in your chair and, gazing urgently across the dinner table into the eyes of the near-perfect stranger sitting opposite, ask them to tell you something true about themselves.

February 16, 2012

The Arcades Project: Martin Amis’ Guide to Classic Video Games 80

Invasion of the Space Invaders is the madwoman in the attic of Amis’ house of nonfiction; many have heard rumors of its shameful presence, but few have seen it with their own eyes.