1. The New York Times has released its annual Top 10 list for fiction/non-fiction. Of particular interest are The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel, if only because John M. has so assiduously reccomended them to me. (Assiduous make me sound insouciant, which I'm not.) Diction aside, he seems quite confident of her literary abilities and I certainly plan on obeying his praise, which, no doubt will ripple with equivalent actions throughout this increasingly large community. Also, I've just begun Emperor's Children, which I'm finding quite impressive. It offers a critique of middle-class liberalism nearly as incriminating as Yates's Revolutionary Road or Smith's White Teeth, and yet there seems to be a nearness to the irony and wit that, in my thesis days, I might have called pastiche, or parody without depth. It's such self-indulgent parody of self-indulgence that it's strongest emotive quality is its ability to resonate with my own anxieties over distance, namely my inability to believe the delineations my interior monologue establishes between my imagined self and what I fear becoming (but perhaps know I already am?). Affectionate postmodernism perhaps, or just ambivalence?
2. The $150 Laptop. A number of you may remember my temporary fascination with this early last year. Seems it has made more progress. I still have a guilty interest in owning one myself but remain aware of ethical/theoretical/economic implications of such fetishism. What's interesting in this particular article is the so-called debate the journalist seems to create between the designers and their detractors. Wonder what is thought of the Microsoft argument, "we shouldn't do in the developing world what we do in the rich world"? Reminds me of the life-boat argument and all its self-righteous morbidity, especially when spoken by the voice of he-trying-to-make-a-buck, but perhaps its a discussion that must take place pragmatically.
3. For those who haven't seen it: Ronaldinho's goal vs. Villareal last weekend. A think of astonishing beauty, really. As I've been told, "something even us Yanks should appreciate".
4. The Show with Ze Frank. My most recent internet addiction. He posts a new video every day of the week, and they are all quite entertaining or, at the very least, interesting. He's a surprisingly adept social critic (and I only say surprising because of my preconeptions of the medium), ranging from a Jon Stewart-esque critic of political culture, to a more properly Barthesian critic of cultural systems of meaning, etc... Be sure to check out his "Popular Shows" link, and, for an example of his mental agility at its best, the Jon Benet episode. The various terms he employs can be a bit confusing at first, but no doubt you'll all become fond sportsracers in no time.
5. Evidently people read this. Not an enormous amount. But not a paltry amount either. John M. will comment with specifics.
Anyhow, my best to you all. I've enjoyed reading everything over the past month or so and encourage you to continue telling all you can of our fine internet endeavor.