the listenerd

optimized for maximum incontinence

Tag: dave eggers

Literary writers talk about Twitter, Facebook, Google…

Literary writers – what an awkward term in the subject line. I’m not really sure what to call them, though. Literaturists?

-[Addition:] I should, of course, include Alexis Madrigal’s Atlantic essay in response to Zadie Smith in this list.

Dave Eggers: “We’re blaming the kids, but we’re the ones who can’t stop checking our e-mail and adding the latest Google apps.” (He might mean Android apps. Or Google widgets?)

Zadie Smith worries that the internet will become like Facebook (fair enough) “falsely jolly, fake-friendly, self-promoting, slickly disingenuous.)

Susan Orlean says “When you finally meet, you spend most of your time chuckling over how much smaller/taller you look in your profile picture.”

William Gibson says “I was never interested in Facebook or MySpace because they feel like malls to me. Twitter actually feels like the street.”

Umberto Eco: “Google makes a list, but the minute I look at my Google-generated list, it has already changed. These lists can be dangerous — not for old people like me, who have acquired their knowledge in another way, but for young people, for whom Google is a tragedy.”

Gary Shteyngart: [On the recently discovered Russian spy ring] “I think this is a holdover from when Russians knew so little about Americans, before YouTube, and it was impossible to figure out what makes these people tick. But I think it’s very easy to figure out what makes us tick.”

Margaret Atwood: “So for me, anything that happens in social media is an extension of stuff we were already doing in some other way. So, it’s all human communication. And the form that most closely resembles the “tweet” is the telegram of old, which also was limited because you paid by the letter.”

Mary Karr: “Scary iPad prayer apps about strapping on God’s armor as tho’ hardening to the day works,or the heart cld be safe from suffering. Not poss.” Another one from Karr: “I’m not using it to say, ‘I’m gonna be at Place X, buy my book.’ I’m trying to disseminate the lines of poetry that keep me from wanting to pound my head against the wall.”

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Regarding the phrase that kicks off the Wild Rumpus

I am no Dave Eggers apologist and I never have been. In fact, my regard for Eggers normally hovers somewhere near my feelings about Bono, black mead and the online zine Slate. Which is to say: not my bag.

However, I can’t but take issue with this particular criticism from Tom Scocca of the Awl, leveled at Eggers’ “Where the Wild Things Are” screenplay adaptation:

Tom Scocca: Sendak: “And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start.”

Tom Scocca: Eggers: Blah blah blah blah the beasts gathered around blah blah blah Max understood that he was supposed to say something blah blah blah “Let the wild rumpus begin!”

Tom Scocca: I would say that the difference between that crisp “start” and Eggers’ flaccid “begin” defines everything that could be said about the literary gap between the two, except I am also fixated on “understood that he was supposed to say something,” which is essentially the epigram and epitaph for the literary imagination of Dave Eggers.

Disregarding the “understood that he was supposed to say something” part (which is fine and all), I respectfully submit that Scocca’s preference of “start” rather than “begin” is just plain wrong. So wrong that it nearly drives me stark-raving mad. So wrong that I cannot begin on, much less buy, the rest of the argument.

*In fact: Said word choice pays no attention to how the entire line scans.
*In fact: To call “start” crisp because it’s a single-syllable word with an alvealor final phonetic is somewhat acceptable, but it ignores completely the two-syllable rhythm setup of “rumpus” – along with the rest of the phrase. “Let the frat bash start!” MAYBE. But the opening of the original line makes “start” not a “crisp” choice, but an abrupt one.

(I have read this thing aloud thousands of times, and after so many readings, chinks in prose become apparent. Don’t get me started on “Hide ‘N Seek Elmo.”)

*Furthermore: One does not let something start. Starting is to move suddenly. It is to throw into motion. Begin, on the other hand, means “to do the first part of an action.” If you are “letting,” then you are beginning. If you are starting, you’re starting. CHRIST.

In summation, if there’s one worthy thing Eggers did in his screenplay (and please note that I have not yet seen the film, so I have no real judgement on it), it is to right the decades-old wrong that was “Let the Wild Rumpus start.” Which is awful. I will apostatically add that some of the prose in those “Little Bear” books is really wonky, too. In a bad way; not just weird, bad.

(Also, I love the Awl. In general. But not on this. Goodbye.)

Links for 9.22.08: Obama’s soundtrack, hot buttered band names, slot music…

*Band names: From Metal Sucks comes the best band name the listenerd has run across since The Sweatpant Boners of the early 2000s. Yes, it’s Hot Buttered Anal.

*Ideas: HAAAAAAAAAAA. Mixtube lets people make playlists out of audio scraped from YouTube (making it much closer to legal than previous Mixtape apps like Muxtape). I blogged about a similar idea a while ago. Also: I am an idiot. [readwriteweb]

*Slots: SlotMusic – this nearly universally maligned plan is to sell albums not as CDs or MP3s, but on SD memory cards. The idea may well not be a good one at all, however, the attitude and authority with which so many people claim to know the music business and what’s good for it is appalling and depressing. Whoa. Where did that come form?

*Politics: Obama releases a campaign soundtrack, Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement. Songs by Kanye, Adam Levine, Jackson Browne and Los Lonely Boys. [largehearted boy]

*MySpace: TechCrunch has screenshots from the much-awaited MySpace Music. The MySpace is still too ugly for me! I’m over 30!!111 OMG. And bald. Ugh.

*Mobile: Will Google’s Android phone be equipped with a client for Amazon’s MP3 store?

*Fashion: The Guardian gives props to Andre 3000 for giving props to British style. According to the article, Benjamin also went to a high school where a preppy street gang called the Stray Cats wore Benetton and beat on people with tennis raquets. What the fricking fuck? [licensing plate]

*Interviews: P-fork talks to David Byrne. Seems like someone talk to David Byrne every couple weeks, doesn’t it? Anyway: “Things that might have alienated me in the past, now I just figure, well, that’s the way that person is or that’s just the way things are. I’m not going to let that bother me too much. And maybe it’s because being older there’s a certain kind of don’t-give-a-shit attitude.” I think I would like to, if this description is any indication, be old, but without the baldness.

*Video: Dave Eggers talks to Chris Elliott. (It’s 32 minutes, and there’s some earnestness, but still.)

*Meta: WTF? WordPress is fucking with my shit? Maybe it’s time to find a new thing. If I can muster the energy.