I'm sick. I taught today through a veil of Dayquil. There were moments talking about Andre Dubus' essay when I wasn't entirely sure what the next dependent clause out of my mouth was going to be. It was a bit like walking on wobbly ground. It reminded me of a story I heard about a grad student who was really tired writing emails to his students & accidentally signed one "Love, XXXXX XXXXXXX." (if the Xs were his first & last name, of course)
I had my first live encounter with the Slavoj Žižek experience, incongruously at at Barnes & Noble (or perhaps appropriately at a big box mega store). He had a brief so-called discussion with Steven Lukes.
While Lukes seemed affably amused with Žižek & gave the appropriate finger-waggling to the espousal of political abstinence in Ž's new mini-book Violence, the crowd was there for the Žižek Show. But it was brief & Žižek had to limit himself to bursts of only a few minutes, which brings out all of his bluster but not so much his sometimes brilliant hyperventilating riffs.
Political abstinence reminded me of a T-Shirt my friend Robert wanted to make that would read: Don't Blame Me, I Don't Vote. I think that's hilarious.
On the wall behind Žižek was a huge B&N image of Moby Dick breaching the water behind a dinghy full of whalers. I was so caught up thinking about this juxtaposition that I forgot to pay for the book I had in my hands. Deb Olin Unferth's Vacation, which is awesome so far. Sorry that I stole your book, Deb.
The Žižek will be up again soon, this time for what promises to be a real event, rather than just book-promotion:
Bernard-Henri Levy + Slavoj Zizek
Sep 16 7pm
The New York Public Library: Humanities and Social Sciences Library
Fifth Ave (at 42nd St)
Description: Moderated by NYPL staple Paul Holdengraber, this debate features two preeminent thinkers arguing about the causes and effects of totalitarian regimes, as well as the nature of human rights.
Is it weird that the fact that this costs money makes me want to go to it more?
Is it weird that I find "NYPL staple" to be a funny title. My new wrestling name is going to be The NYPL Staple Remover.
I used to think staple removers looked like sharks when I was a kid. I could entertain myself for hours opening & closing them.
Did I mention I'm sick?
I had the most intense fever dreams last night. They were so good that I would wake up shaky & chilled during the night excited about the weird-ass dreams.
It's very good so far, but sad. Her book of short-shorts Minor Robberies is pretty incredible but sadly was packaged with Eggers' only-decent book & Sarah Manguso's weak one in a box set from McSweeney's. I know it's their thing to skim the line between the novel & novelty, but it's too bad her book didn't get more attention.
Did you ever hear that Lula Côrtes e Zé Ramalho record?
If not you should.