Like all the DFW works I've read, this is, overall, excellent. Some of the pieces in this collection are better than others, but they're all worth reaLike all the DFW works I've read, this is, overall, excellent. Some of the pieces in this collection are better than others, but they're all worth reading. Of course the real standout is the title essay, about his week on a cruise ship, which comes at the end of the book and which is probably the most well-known and talked-about piece of non-fiction Wallace ever wrote, and for good reason. It's pure genius and also pure vulnerable and personal truth-telling, in the Herzogian, ecstatic truth sense of truth-telling - because I don't care if he made up parts of the essay or fudged some facts, as some have attested. The point is that it is a porthole (ahem) into how David Foster Wallace thought and lived, how his brain worked and the intricate inner gears of a very smart but disturbed and depressed writer. Furthermore, it's a valuable commentary on the state of the American psyche and how the American psyche deals with need, desire, luxury, consumerism, and marketing. It was written at, I think, about the same time he was finishing up his masterpiece novel Infinite Jest, which deals in a fanciful, fictional, and more extended way with many of these same issues. In short, they both ask the questions: Is constant, in-the-moment pleasure the pursuit that life is about? And what if we supposedly found that, then what? It's also interesting to see that this essay shows DFW using the phrasal tics like "And so but" and the generous use of footnotes and footnotes-within-footnotes that are so integral to the style and feel of Infinite Jest. He had arrived at a formal structure that fit perfectly the way his chattering grey matter operated.
Other stand-out essays in the volume for me are "Getting Away From Already Being Pretty Much Away From It All," about visiting the Illinois State Fair, and his brilliant examination of a great filmmaker, "David Lynch Keeps His Head." ...more
This book is really excellent if you're interested in editing films. It's not a nuts-and-bolts kind of how-to book about editing, but it is quite specThis book is really excellent if you're interested in editing films. It's not a nuts-and-bolts kind of how-to book about editing, but it is quite specific to the craft and assumes that the reader is already conversant with some of the fundamental mechanics of how film is edited. But Murch is really a wise, big-picture kind of guy (no pun intended), and he illustrates his points with very intelligent metaphors and analogies. For instance, he compares recent developments in film technology with the changes that painting underwent when pigments on frescos gave way to oil on canvas back in the 1400s or whatever. Murch is brilliant, not because he's some idiot-savant specialist but because he his conversant in so many other fields, from astronomy to baroque music, and he uses this knowledge to inform his understanding of filmmaking, and enrich his teachings that he imparts to the reader.
Some of what is in this book is repeated and redundant with what he talks about in 2 other books: The Conversations (which is a series of interviews with him) and Behind the Scene (which is a detailed description of how he used Final Cut Pro to edit "Cold Mountain," pretty much the first Hollywood feature film to use FCP). But, there's enough new information in all these books that it's worth reading all of them, especially if you're really into editing, or a big fan of the films he has worked on, like Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, Godfather 2, The Talented Mister Ripley, etc etc....more
Took me awhile this time, but the issue does not disappoint. Highlights are the piece by David Graeber about play, the Susan Faludi article on feminisTook me awhile this time, but the issue does not disappoint. Highlights are the piece by David Graeber about play, the Susan Faludi article on feminism, and the excellent take-down of Vice magazine....more
Herzog's work is so great and his ideas about his work and life are pretty astute and entertaining.
This is a really great book for anyone who is a fa Herzog's work is so great and his ideas about his work and life are pretty astute and entertaining.
This is a really great book for anyone who is a fan, or any filmmaker.
Herzog is a real curmudgeon, and so a lot of what he says has to be taken with a grain of salt. but there's so much wisdom in much of what he says. i learned a lot from this book, and am even more inspired by his body of work now than ever. ...more
This is an excellent book about immigration. It's from a leftist, even Marxist perspective, so you might get triggered if you fall on the opposite sidThis is an excellent book about immigration. It's from a leftist, even Marxist perspective, so you might get triggered if you fall on the opposite side of the political spectrum. But the facts and arguments can't be ignored. The book takes on a slough of different misconceptions and lies about the issue and cuts through the crap in a clear, concise, no-nonsense and straightforward manner. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants more clarity on the subject. I especially recommend it as a companion read to "Let Them In," a book by a Wall Street Journalist reporter that takes on many of the same myths, but debunks them from a purely conservative and free market perspective. Between these 2 books you'll have all the ammunition you would need to talk to anybody about immigration....more
This short novel is, even for Bolaño, very strange. The bulk of the story seems to take place as a sort of dream being dreamt by the narrator, all whiThis short novel is, even for Bolaño, very strange. The bulk of the story seems to take place as a sort of dream being dreamt by the narrator, all while she is dozing on the floor trapped in a bathroom at the university in Mexico City during the infamous government invasion of the campus in October 1968.
This character and her ordeal is mentioned briefly in Bolaño's much lengthier book The Savage Detectives, as are several other characters, including his alter-ego Arturo Belano. The substance of Amulet, though, seems without very much cohesive plot, even, again, relative to other work by this author. It's really a collection of anecdotes told by this woman as she remembers or imagines various events in her life as an itinerant poet, intellectual, and scenester in the avant garde poetry scene of D.F. in the 60s and 70s.
As such, I found it somewhat less satisfying than Savage Detectives or 2666, though still extremely powerful and touching. Plus, the book made me realize a comparison about Bolaño that may or may not seem gross or dumb, but it may or may not also be useful and profound: Vonnegut. Bolaño is like a Latin American Kurt Vonnegut, one generation younger but sharing many of the same traits and concerns in his work: a twinge of science fiction sensibility, surrealism, mystery, politics, intellectualism, a post-modern sensitivity, etc. He also shares with Vonnegut a crucial type of life experience, a horrifying episode that shaped his life and work. In brief, Roberto Bolaño's Slaughterhouse Five is the Pinochet coup in Chile, or perhaps more generally, the awful brutality of the various latin american dictatorships and civil wars that littered the era of his youth....more
some of it is old hat to me, the copyright stuff, etc, but it documents some very recent developments in marketing that are extremely disturbing.
If yosome of it is old hat to me, the copyright stuff, etc, but it documents some very recent developments in marketing that are extremely disturbing.
If you've already read books like Conquest of Cool, No Logo, Captains of Conciousness, or been reading zines like Stay Free!, this is not going to be a really useful or revelatory book.
Overall, i was a little disappointed because the book doesn't really provide many solutions. there's a chapter at the end called "taking dissent off the market", but it only provides one example, and a pretty tepid one, of people trying to fight and answer these latest trends in marketing. it also didn't address a fundamental question: why do some people not "get it"? why do people, even people involved with "underground" or DIY expression, not "get" that it's a political act, and that you're helping to dilute and destroy integrity every time you go over to the other side?
The book mostly just created a sense of hopelessness, and a depressed feeling that the only way to really prevail over corporate hegemony is a Fight Club style destruction of our entire civilization. sigh....more