author: Jonathan Franzen
average rating: 3.62
book published: 2002
read at: 2013/10/20
date added: 2013/10/21
shelves: spirit-self, own-it, art
A variety of essays from the mid-90s up through 2002, some of these are kind of too outdated to be of very much use, but others are timeless, and of those many ring eerily and still painfully true even though Franzen was talking about an earlier, less extreme version of an issue we're still facing today (the plight of the publishing industry, the dismal state of literature and reading, the polarization of politics, to name a few). All in all these non-fiction pieces create a picture of a writer and a person who is just as skilled as in his fiction with depicting a personality afflicted with depression, anger, conflicting and contradictory feelings, sadness and grief, and frustration with current trends and establishments. In other words, this book not only teaches how to be alone, but also shows me that I'm not, in that I share a lot of the above with him and the interior of my head as I think about those things looks a lot like the picture he's painted of himself. And this is one of the best functions of literature, whether fiction or non, that anyone could hope for.
Via facebook I recently became aware of another dumb controversy regarding another "misbehaving" celebrity. Apparently Miley Cyrus mentioned Sinead O'Connor as an inspiration, and Sinead blew up with an open letter on her blog lecturing Cyrus about nakedness and women allowing themselves to be exploited, and then 2nd-tier pop star and media gadfly Amanda Palmer got in the act and posted an open letter back to Sinead.
Here's what I think. First of all, I've seen Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" video that started the whole debate and it seems a really sad, tragic, vulnerable song. Cyrus is either super messed up and struggling, or really really good at pretending to be.. and then to muddle that up further with the bizarre mixed (sex/violence) visual messages of the video is just a trainwreck.
But second of all, should we really care about this Catfight of the Famous? It seems to be the epitome of the Society of the Spectacle that we're all sitting around avidly reading the patronizing letters these rich pop stars are writing to each other about how wide or how level their playing fields are. The basic feminist and anti-consumerist message is great, but i'll already be passing that worldview to my children and i don't need any millionaire musicians to teach me how.(btw I'm purposely not linking to anything I'm talking about above, because that would just feed the click-hungry spectacle machine that I'm talking about.) Read more>>>
author: Alejandro Zambra
average rating: 3.85
book published: 2006
read at: 2013/09/09
date added: 2013/09/09
shelves: fun, novels
Kind of like a latino Tao Lin, only not as good. That same sort of opaque narrative voice where you don't get any, or very little, inner monologue of the characters, just kind of a ghostly relation of events from the outside. Somehow Tao Lin makes this work and often be hilarious and profound, but Zambra can't pull this off as well.
For the last year or so, I've been becoming a sort of crowdfunding (and specifically Kickstarter) expert, consulting and making videos for clients who are trying to raise funds for various projects. If you've followed me during that time you've probably seen me stumping for dollars for these various projects - a microbrewery, an organic chicken-raising collective, a couple days of carless streets in Tucson... all these things became realities thanks in part to the platform called Kickstarter, and thanks in part to my know-how in using it and social media.
Now I'm using that platform to raise funding for a project that I'm actually involved in myself: a documentary that I'm directing about homelessness, and specifically about the challenges of being homeless in Tucson, Arizona. Check out the Kickstarter video by pressing play below:
My collaborators and I are experienced filmmakers; for years we've all been involved in enough low-budget or no-budget projects to know that it costs a certain minimum amount of money to do a film properly, in such a way that people will notice it, and watch it and respect it and recommend it to others. This minimum amount is usually much higher than people not in the business expect, but much lower than the numbers thrown around in Hollywood circles. You can make films cheaply, but you do need something, and the professionals who work on even low-budget films need to eat, and pay rent, and maintain their equipment. Read more>>>