The literary marketability of self-indulgent self-recrimination

I have a compulsion to read while I’m waiting. And while I’m waiting for something, as opposed to someone, more often than not, I seem to have a compulsion to read magazine articles, the more horrid the better. Even if I’ve got something actually worthwhile to read in my own purse.

Which is how I came to reading a story last night at about 2 am about a guy who broke his own arm off after getting his hand pinned to a rock wall by a boulder, in the veterinary emergency clinic waiting room, even though I had a Tobias Wolf novel in my handbag that I really was looking forward to reading.

Ok. So I know that what you’re thinking is, back up a step or two, chica. What were you doing in the veterinary emergency room? And what kind of opportunistic, self-absorbed mother is going to come away from an experience like that and write about what she read while her poor puppy was subjected to hours of tests by complete strangers?

The answer to the first question is spending several hours and several hundreds of dollars to find out that there doesn’t appear to be anything physically wrong with Yogi that would actually explain his behavior and vomiting for the last several days. The answer to the second is that, well, the point of this piece is going to be about the cult of self-indulgent self-recrimination as a literary genre.

You see, the guy who broke his own arm off, rather than die stuck to a boulder, got a book deal out of it.

And that kind of pisses me off.
Continue reading “The literary marketability of self-indulgent self-recrimination”

I Have No Idea Where that Number Came From

From the “No, I am NOT blogging my time at the campaign office” files comes today’s clip:

“600,000 Democrats threatening to leave the country? How is that good for the campaign? We need to keep in mind that it’s not over yet. What’s with the defeatist attitude? We need to be saying we’re winning with Kerry and Edwards. It’s not over yet.”

I Think Jimmy Swaggart is HOT and SEXY!!

I am sure that I need to go back and ask the Sister’s a few things, because this is not what I learned in Sunday School, nor can I find any guidance from the “Good Book” that allows me to use such ideas of hatred and actually get laughter and applause!
Well, thank heaven for the NY Daily News! Just when you think that the Christian Right cannot possibly top them selves, they actually do it!!! Now ya know when an article includes the prostitute toting Jimmy Swaggart, it’s going to be good…and Jimmy ya didn’t let us down!
BATON ROUGE, La. — Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart apologized Wednesday for saying in a televised worship service that he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically.
A complaint was filed with a Canadian broadcasting group, and Swaggart said his Baton Rouge-based Jimmy Swaggart Ministries has received complaints from gay groups over the remarks made on the Sept. 12 telecast.
In the broadcast, Swaggart was discussing his opposition to gay marriage when he said “I’ve never seen a man in my life I wanted to marry.” “And I’m going to be blunt and plain: If one ever looks at me like that, I’m going to kill him and tell God he died,” Swaggart said to laughter and applause from the congregation.

I am sure the interview was meant to go something like this:
BATON ROUGE, La. — Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart apologized Wednesday for saying in a televised worship service that he would kill any gay man who looked at him romantically. “What I meant to say,” replied Swaggart, “ is that I would bash his faggot ass face in with a baseball bat and then shove it up his pansy queer ass, and then tell God that he must have slipped.” “If this offends anyone, I apologize,” Swaggart said, “ I use this saying all the time and you can’t lie to God, I’m just a damn dumb ass!”

CSI: Seattle

It’s time, isn’t it? A young software engineer is found dead behind the Fremont Troll of a heroin overdose. A Pocket PC lies smashed nearby. The engineer’s backpack contains only two empty cans of Talking Rain, a Starbucks card, a half-eaten Essential Sandwich, and the current issue of The Stranger. Was the victim headed home? The cans are not yet recycled. The engineer’s drug kit consists only of a tourniquet and a hypodermic needle. Was someone else present? There’s nothing to identify who smashed the Pocket PC… but the SmartMedia card is still in it, and decrypting its contents back at the lab reveals some unusual personal contacts, including a former cellular phone executive from the Eastside.

And hey, where is the engineer’s cell phone?

This Crime Scene Investigator thing could be franchised to stations all over the country with fill-in-the-blank scripts for place and character names that match the local geography and culture. Affiliates would film scenes in their own cities and put these together with the same computer graphics used everywhere. It’s like Mad Libs!

[Name of principal CSI to rest of team]:
“It was [military rank][condiment] in the [room in a home] with the [handheld object that can induce death quickly].”

Eventually, of course, even this level of customization will be replaced when actors can be computer-generated or -altered in real-time by the viewer’s television. We’ll be able to configure our entertainment preferences on the television, right down to adding our own names to the show!

Hey, wanna get your message out to millions? Write a virus that takes over characters on the viewers’ televisions! After the hot young star of the moment turns to the viewers and entreats them by name to some sort of action, the virus can check the television/computer for the viewer’s friends and add the viewer’s name to the messages delivered to his/her friends. “Hi, Jay. You don’t want Gary to be the only one of your friends to get in on the action, do you?”

Are they mentally disabled, too?

This has just got to be satire, but it doesn’t appear to be a repost from The Onion: Black Gay Republicans Break with Log Cabin Republicans, Endorse Bush. I mean, come on. It was bad enough that the Log Cabin Republicans took so long to work out that the Bush Administration mightn’t be the best thing ever for gays and lesbians in the USA, but to learn that black gay republicans still haven’t figured it out … well, the mind simply boggles.

Pentagon blocking overseas voting website

The International Herald Tribune has this infuriating yet unsurprising item:

“In a decision that could affect Americans abroad who are not yet registered to vote in the Nov. 2 presidential election, the Pentagon has begun restricting international access to the official Web site intended to help overseas absentee voters cast ballots.”

Apparently, the site “keeps getting hacked.” I can’t decide under which case we are the more fucked: if the Pentagon can’t build a reasonably secure and available website, or if they think we’re all so stupid that they can get by with an abuse like that.

Because really, the soldiers who are fighting and dying don’t deserve the right to vote. If they want to vote against Bush, clearly they hate America. Why do our soldiers hate America?

More to the point, why does the Pentagon administer this program at all?

You Said It, Sister!

From the “No, I am NOT blogging my time at the campaign office” files comes this tiny vignette. A 70ish lady, fully decked out in Kerry/Edwards regalia. Upon handing off her project of the morning, she said this to the staffer at my left:

“You know, I LOVE this country, but when I think about what our government has done in Iraq, I just get so damn angry! Don’t GET me started!”