Over at Full Stop, Scott Cheshire mulls the concept of Armageddon, or, as he calls it, “The Other American Dream.” Meanwhile, a French photography team is traveling the world to take pictures of cities “without signs of life.” Perhaps the fascination isn’t so American after all.
Half-meme, half-myth, 'Slender Man' came to us from the same internet that brought LOLcat, doge, and Rule 34. After the surreal stabbing of a 12-year-old girl by two other children claiming they were acting on his behalf, this particular story has taken on a tragic resonance. In The Semiotic Review, Jeffrey Tolbert argues that Slender Man took hold because of the documentary nature of internet 'evidence'. As one Something Awful blogger put it, "Even if we don’t really believe in [Slender Man], we are cutting him out and sewing him together. We’re stuffing him with nightmares and unspoken fears. And what happens when the pictures are no longer Photoshops?" Very meta--and very scary, all over again.
Having kicked off his career with a book of poetry, it’s not surprising that Ben Lerner is interested in the late Johns Hopkins professor Allen Grossman, who theorized that people dislike poetry because poems are -- by definition -- failures. In a piece for the LRB, he runs through the implications of Grossman’s theory, touching on poets as disparate as Shakespeare and William McGonagall. Pair with Kate Angus on why Americans don’t buy poetry books.
Last week, I pointed readers to an article about Michael Faber’s latest book and his decision to quit writing fiction. Now, in the Times Book Review, Marcel Theroux sizes up the novel, writing that “the reader is drawn through the book effortlessly, by the combination of incidental strangeness and the suspenseful handling of plot.”
“Ever since, I have added a new layer of rules for my casual sex partners, especially when I end up in their space: I ask them for a book prior to exiting. I might phrase it more diplomatically, saying 'I just want to read something on my train-ride back,' or 'I just finished my last book and I have been looking for the next one.' Via this simple action I can estimate a lot more on a broad scale of very personal information and variation of taste than what I could possibly collect through hours of post-coital, emotional interrogation.” Seven books Elias Tezapsidis acquired through casual sex.
The process of "Russification" is almost as old as Russia itself, yet to see it take shape in the present day can be quite distressing. In particular, Vladimir Putin's recent proposal in Nezavisimaya Gazeta -- in which the prime minister called for a "Russian canon" of literary works -- has some people worried about its insidious potential for propaganda. Count Alexander Nazaryan among that group.