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Posts tagged "criticism"

Oct 21, 2013
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Sep 03, 2013
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“It wasn’t for me.”

I’ve become fond of the phrase “it wasn’t for me,” when referring to books (music, movies, etc.) that I don’t get into.

I like the phrase because it’s essentially positive: underlying it is the assumption that there is a book, or rather, books, for me, but this one just wasn’t one of them. It also allows me to tell you how I felt about the book without me shutting down the possibility that you might like it, or making you feel stupid if you did like it.

It just wasn’t for me. No big deal.

And “me” changes, so when you say, “It wasn’t for me,” maybe it’s not for the “me” right now—maybe it’s for future Me, or Me lounging in a beach chair in Jamaica, or Me at fourteen.

Responding to art is so much about the right place and right time. You have to feel free to skip things, move on, and (maybe) come back later.

And you have to be okay with saying, “It wasn’t for me.”

Jul 30, 2013
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A delightfully clueless review of Pet Sounds.

A delightfully clueless review of Pet Sounds.

May 31, 2013
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the trick is not caring what EVERYBODY thinks of you and just caring about what the RIGHT people think of you.
BENDIS! (via merlin)

(via merlin)

May 20, 2013
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The Zine Revolution

Joshua Glenn writes about one of the first zines he ever read, published by his friends at school in 1985:


  what impressed me most about The Mark of Cain is how it inspired a thuggish football player to punch John in the mouth… because the guy (correctly) assumed that the message “Diana, will you please shut the kindly fuck up” inscribed onto one of the zine’s pages was a reference to his girlfriend. John and I were co-editors of the school’s literary magazine, which inspired no such visceral reactions! Not that I wanted to be punched in the mouth, but in some inchoate way I realized then and there that literary publishing would never provide me with the kind of immediate, personal feedback loop I craved.


(Glenn co-edited the book Significant Objects with my friend, Rob Walker.

The Zine Revolution

Joshua Glenn writes about one of the first zines he ever read, published by his friends at school in 1985:

what impressed me most about The Mark of Cain is how it inspired a thuggish football player to punch John in the mouth… because the guy (correctly) assumed that the message “Diana, will you please shut the kindly fuck up” inscribed onto one of the zine’s pages was a reference to his girlfriend. John and I were co-editors of the school’s literary magazine, which inspired no such visceral reactions! Not that I wanted to be punched in the mouth, but in some inchoate way I realized then and there that literary publishing would never provide me with the kind of immediate, personal feedback loop I craved.

(Glenn co-edited the book Significant Objects with my friend, Rob Walker.

Mar 23, 2013
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Haters gonna hate (from Nancy Likes Christmas)

Haters gonna hate (from Nancy Likes Christmas)

(Source: twitter.com)

Mar 17, 2013
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You can only offend me if you mean something to me. You can’t break up with me if we didn’t date.

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I ain’t going to give up. Every time you think I’m one place, I’m going to show up someplace else. I come prehated. Take your best shot.

Feb 16, 2013
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David Shields, How Literature Saved My Life1

Stephen Colbert: “You say you’re not bound by 19th century conventions, right? So why are you bound to the 19th century convention of [a] book? Why didn’t you just put this on a website, or xerox it, or pass it out on street corners wearing a trash bag for a dress?”
“[U]n- or even anti-literary types haven’t stopped reading. They just don’t get as excited about the book form. The blog form: immediacy, relative lack of scrim between writer and reader, promised delivery of unmediated reality.” (p. 167)
David Shields’ blog is a list of links to reviews of his book. 
He is better at Twitter: @_DavidShields
NYTimes: “When you read David Shields, the first thing you learn is that he takes literature very seriously. The second thing you learn is how seriously he takes his taking seriously of literature.” 
“[Ray Kurzweil] seems to me the saddest person on the planet. I emphasize with him completely.” (p. 86)
“Every quality I despise in George Bush is a quality I despise in myself. He is my worst self realized.” (p. 18)
“Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm. ‘Deep inside, you know you’re him.’” (p. 143, “Fifty-Five works I swear by”)
Larry David’s mother: “You’re not funny, Larry. I’ve never heard you say anything funny.”
“I learned a long time ago that the people whom you most want to love your work…won’t.” (p. 134)
Things that happened to me on the plane ride while reading the galley of How Literature Changed My Life: my pen exploded all over my hand, I forgot to stir the dressing for my caesar salad, the stewardess refused to take my empty salad box because she didn’t have a trash bag, and my 6-foot ashtray of a seatmate fell asleep on my arm at least half a dozen times.
“All criticism is a form of autobiography.” (p. 3)
One of Shields’ “proudest literary accomplishments of middle age” is that “‘good’ and ‘bad’ reviews no longer affect me much.” (p. 159)


Note: I put Reality Hunger on the reading list in the back of Steal Like An Artist. You should read it. ↩

David Shields, How Literature Saved My Life1

  1. Stephen Colbert: “You say you’re not bound by 19th century conventions, right? So why are you bound to the 19th century convention of [a] book? Why didn’t you just put this on a website, or xerox it, or pass it out on street corners wearing a trash bag for a dress?”
  2. “[U]n- or even anti-literary types haven’t stopped reading. They just don’t get as excited about the book form. The blog form: immediacy, relative lack of scrim between writer and reader, promised delivery of unmediated reality.” (p. 167)
  3. David Shields’ blog is a list of links to reviews of his book.
  4. He is better at Twitter: @_DavidShields
  5. NYTimes: “When you read David Shields, the first thing you learn is that he takes literature very seriously. The second thing you learn is how seriously he takes his taking seriously of literature.”
  6. “[Ray Kurzweil] seems to me the saddest person on the planet. I emphasize with him completely.” (p. 86)
  7. “Every quality I despise in George Bush is a quality I despise in myself. He is my worst self realized.” (p. 18)
  8. “Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm. ‘Deep inside, you know you’re him.’” (p. 143, “Fifty-Five works I swear by”)
  9. Larry David’s mother: “You’re not funny, Larry. I’ve never heard you say anything funny.”
  10. “I learned a long time ago that the people whom you most want to love your work…won’t.” (p. 134)
  11. Things that happened to me on the plane ride while reading the galley of How Literature Changed My Life: my pen exploded all over my hand, I forgot to stir the dressing for my caesar salad, the stewardess refused to take my empty salad box because she didn’t have a trash bag, and my 6-foot ashtray of a seatmate fell asleep on my arm at least half a dozen times.
  12. “All criticism is a form of autobiography.” (p. 3)
  13. One of Shields’ “proudest literary accomplishments of middle age” is that “‘good’ and ‘bad’ reviews no longer affect me much.” (p. 159)

  1. Note: I put Reality Hunger on the reading list in the back of Steal Like An Artist. You should read it. 

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