Category Archives: arts & culture

Lowbrow Books For Highbrow People

"Serious" writer with "serious" glasses.

In the course of internetting regarding mass market books for my last post, I came across several articles that mentioned “Franzenfreude.”  This non-word was created as part of a Twitter campaign waged by mass market faves Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner.  The two were questioning why “chick-lit” books, books that deal with women-centric themes, get ignored by the literary establishment while similar books written by men get considered serious works of fiction.  Men like Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, Freedom, and every other books that “teaches us about ourselves.”  Franzenfreud.

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An Explanation of Why My Book Is Cuter Than Yours

A few years ago I walked into a Barnes & Noble with a question.  I was looking for the cheapest possible edition of “Dreams of My Father,” the Obama autobiography.  Yup, guilty.  I knew on some level that I would never actually read this book, but while travelling I had seen a teeny-tiny sized $8 copy and thought, “Yeah, I could buy that.  It’s cute.”  I didn’t, but I thought maybe the book would be available next to the mysteries and romance novels in the little paperbacks’ section.  It was worth $8, I thought, but, like, only that much.

Untrustworthy

When I asked customer service whether they had this edition, I got a surprising response.  Not only did they not carry it, but they assured me in their obnoxious bookseller voice that the publisher had “never released the book in mass market size.”  Like, at all.

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The Dangers of Watching Great Movies

Good afternoon, my pretties! I know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me but I promise I haven’t abandoned you — I merely got sidelined by germs, fatigue, and the parts of my life that don’t happen on the internet. Can you believe there are any? Neither can I, sometimes.

But now… I am back to blogging!

Ben Franklin butter statue. Nothing as American as cardiac arrest!

In case you missed it, a little over a week ago there was this big holiday known as American Arterial Distress Day, or something like that. After stuffing myself full of delicious, delicious animal fat courtesy of friend and blog reader Brent (hi Brent!), I atoned for my crass excess by having one the most pretentious weekends of all time.

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Top 5 Movies With No Plot A.K.A. My Favorite Films of All Time

More of this

Around certain parts (these parts, far parts, near parts) I am known to have somewhat unconventional taste in films.  This is because I am a ridiculous wimp and have an aversion to yelling, suspense, violence, or the suggestion thereof.  Regular-person movies like “Super 8” find me twisting 360 degrees in my $16 theater seat and cause panic-dreams for weeks.

Naturally then, when choosing a movie, I am not drawn towards films with plots or a series of actions that further said plot.  I prefer to watch regular people go through subtle emotional trials only to end up either largely unchanged or changed in a way that is impossible to describe with any specificity.

Many people are not familiar with my preferred genre because it has almost no appeal to anybody looking for a movie with clear entertainment value.  Still, as a public service I have decided to list my favorite movies and explain why they are so awesome.

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Oh, People Are Just So Stupid and Funny and Stupid

A BoBo rebellion is brewing. Yesterday, a tipster (I have a tipster!) pointed me towards un scandale extraordinaire involving Lululemon, a yoga wear retailer that has an enormous following among the sort of yuppies inclined to pay $100 for stretchy pants.  Apparently the stroller mafia is in uproar because Lululemon’s founder, an avid Ayn Rand enthusiast, decided to print “who is JOHN GALT?” in huge block letters on the store’s shopping bags.

My reaction to Ayn Rand

I may not be the greatest person to speak on the the nuances of this scandal, because I have never read an Ayn Rand novel. What I understand about Rand’s “individualist” philosophy, plus the weird, fanatical way she is spoken of by a certain type of man (i.e., the type I would never ever want to date), plus her books’ mammoth size has been enough to scare me off. But these articles on Gawker and NPR gave me enough background to understand what all the fuss is about. And BOY is it hilarious and stupid.

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R.I.P. Books. In Related News, R.I.P. Civilization.

I woke up to some unsettling news regarding the book population of New York City this morning.

Gone but not forgotten

At 2am est last night, while Occupy Wall Street was getting booted from Liberty Plaza/Zuccotti Park by the city, one of the first live reports I heard was that the NYPD had thrown away the entire contents of the 5,554 book library that was being maintained in the Occupy camp.  For some reason, though the entire event involved horrifying reports of one type or another, the idea of the city throwing away this many books really unnerved me.

When I was in college I had a semi-friend who, at the end of one semester, casually raised her intention of throwing away her school books for that term.   Continue reading

West Side is the Best Side

My mom sends me a LOT of emails. Many of these, such as the ones that explain the pollen count on any given day in Los Angeles,  I rarely open before hitting the “delete” button (love you, mommy!) But every now and then my mom will send me something cool, like this article from The West Side Rag about a project undertaken in 1982.

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