Sherman Alexie on the twentieth anniversary of The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and, perhaps more notably, on mullets:
S.A.: The rez mullet! I also find my former haircut amusing in stylistic terms. It’s embarrassing now. But there’s always been a conscious and subconscious classist / racist edge to mullet jokes, especially when it comes to white guys with mullets. If one means to tell a racist / classist joke then make it a good one, but I don’t actually think that many folks realize the cultural importance of the mullet in Native American-warrior history. Take a look at Chief Joseph.
Unravel those braids, my friend, and you’ve got a legendary mullet, comparable to mine. The contemporary motto for the mullet wearer is “Business in front, party in the back,” but the Indian mullet-warrior motto was “I don’t want my hair to get in my eyes as I’m kicking your ass.” The Indian-mullet motto, coincidentally or not, is the same as the motto for hockey-mullet wearers. Somebody needs to do a study …
I will never look at mullets the same way again.
Finally someone (Gabriel Roth) acknowledges the actual difference between “commercial” and “literary” fiction, which may be reflected by cover art and plot but are not rooted there fortheloveofgod.
“Some of the vocabulary is just not language you’d typically find in commercial fiction. I’m more interested in style than a typical commercial writer,” he said. “Those are qualities — I don’t want to say I’m bragging about my high stylistic abilities, but it’s a preoccupation of mine, and a preoccupation of the literary writer.”
If you’re still interested – if you ever were interested – in the “likeable characters” argument, see what Kelly Braffet has to say about it.
So: Given that not everybody likes me and that I do not expect to like everyone, and that those people I do like can gradually become annoying and vice versa, and given that literature is, in theory, a reflection and explanation of the world around us, why the fucking hell do we worry about whether the characters in the books we read are likable or not?
What’s so special about Caleb Crain’s Necessary Errors? This:
The “nothing” that happens is, in a sense, the central story of Necessary Errors—though Jacob, who has come to Prague with the hope of writing fiction, worries that not enough is taking place. He begins to fear, in fact, that his time there might not be merely a “digression,” but actually a mistake. Less than a year after Václav Havel’s election, and Jacob already feels as though he has “missed” Prague—plus he’s not getting any writing done. This fear is the central misunderstanding in Necessary Errors, one that is borne partly out of youth, partly out of a capitalist American competitiveness and desire for product. Jacob’s year in Prague—call it a digression, a mistake, or simply an escape—is finally indispensible to his writing, and to who he becomes. And Crain’s ability to keep our interest without an obvious narrative arc, to make us care, intensely, about his characters without any cat-saving or cliffhangers, is what makes the novel feel like a new sort of model for contemporary fiction.
Mark Millar and Todd McFarlane: Ladies, Comics Aren’t For You
See this essay all the way to the end. The most disturbing part is Mark Millar’s ambivalence – okay, hypocrisy – about rape in comics:
Interestingly, in 1999 Millar admitted that “Granted, the female stuff has more of a sexual violence theme and this is something people should probably watch out for, but rape is a rare thing in comics and is seldom done in an exploitative way.”
- In search of Shakespeare’s dark lady
Without a true story of adultery and retribution, Shakespeare’s intimate, sexually charged sonnets might never have been published. Saul Frampton reveals the part played by the playwright’s arch rival and the identity of the mysterious Dark Lady
- The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse
In contrast to today’s rather mundane spawn of coffeehouse chains, the London of the 17th and 18th century was home to an eclectic and thriving coffee drinking scene. Dr Matthew Green explores the halcyon days of the London coffeehouse, a haven for caffeine-fueled debate and innovation which helped to shape the modern world.
COMING – EVENTUALLY – TO A THEATER NEAR YOU:
- A new trailer for the film “Kill Your Darlings,” in which a star-studded cast will portray some of the most fabled Beat writers of the 20th century, has been released.