Personal Preface: I will begin with something that is sure to become dated very quickly, but the date on which the review is posted can be seen in the...morePersonal Preface: I will begin with something that is sure to become dated very quickly, but the date on which the review is posted can be seen in the top right corner of the review anyway, like a school paper, so I suppose it can become an electronic time capsule, as everything already is on the internet.
So far, not much, I said to myself after asking what I’ve accomplished this night. I'm having one of my strange vibes, even though vibes are abstract concepts. Vines aren’t, they’re tangible, but vibes aren’t real and yet I hang from them. It’s all very difficult to explain, but I feel as if I’m in a tasteless, scatological motion picture that inundates me with shame for being human, and with poop. You see, I have been reading reviews for an execrable (execr[emental]?) film called Movie 43 which stars such class acts as Oscar winners Kate Winslet and Halle Berry, among butt loads of others. I couldn’t possibly be as offended over the content of the film as I already am that I would be expected to laugh at it. I won’t see the film that Richard Roeper called "the Citizen Kane of awful", not because he said so, but because I know their publicity stunt is to lure people into wondering how far it could really go. However, like watching, as a child, Celebrity Deathmatch, or Mad TV’s reimagining of Rudolph, it is clear that just reading about this movie exemplifies my theory of personal aesthetic masochism. I don’t need to say it again, about assaulting boundaries, but laughing at female humiliation, like when a friend of a friend tells a racist joke, is not something I am equipped to oblige. My raised ire shall be signified by an eyebrow that does the same, and a subsequent slow sip from my drink, all while staring at the goon. On top of this, the scorching oil in my engine fills my car with smoke and I am nauseous with olfactory offenses which deepen the rot of the most absurd existential crisis I have ever encountered.
With my senses aflutter and my head spinning, objects falling out of vision from one side only to reappear, still descending, from the other (think Super Mario Brothers 3 for original Nintendo, my inner-world with comparably only so wide a circumference, and cyclical)I couldn’t possibly focus on intellectual essays or dedicate myself to advancing in the novels I’m reading. To still my fingers and quiet my mind, I grab the shortest book within reach, which happens to be by a writer who has been prevalent in my thoughts recently. I’m speaking of Ayn Rand’s former lover, George Saunders.
Okay, Here’s the Review Now, So if You Were About to Abscond… George Saunders is a genius, and he received a grant for so being. This techno-fantastical Animal Farm reminiscent tale is by turns hilarious and prescient. A tiny province known as Inner Horner which can only harbor one individual at a time is dug into, and so a life form toppling into the surrounding province, Outer Horner, is akin to an invasion. And so Phil, the malcontent with peremptory ambitions hatches the plan to tax this intruder, who cannot fit in his own land, for entering theirs illegally, and we can see where things might escalate form there. Not surprising from one who declared that “God the Almighty gave us this beautiful sprawling land as a reward for how wonderful we are… God Almighty gave them that small crappy land for reasons of His own”. Patriots with good intentions, an obedient border guard, and muscle-bound meatheads who thrive on occasional compliments are easily persuaded to do the bidding of one power-grabbing being; made all the easier due to a forgetful, negligent, and nostalgic president—who would long for each moment after it passed, and long for when he longed for each moment gone—with a mirror-faced advisor (symbolism? Where?!). Days of infamy or valor (according to Phil) would be commemorated using ludicrous labels (e.g. Dark Dark Thursday, a.k.a. Amazing Heroic Thursday).
Phase I of the Review-Space Area Improvement Initiative is Complete: I think the best endowment in this book is its implementation of hysterically pathetic euphemisms in socio-political language. Here is a quick multiple choice question. Which of the following terms do you suppose is used as a satirical term for confinement and/or torture and/or oppression in this story? A) Concentration Camp, B) Enhanced Interrogation Technique, C)Liquidation and Relocation, or D) Peace Encouraging Enclosure? Of course anyone with any amount of historical education knows that answer, but is one of them more ridiculous than the others? Not by much.
“Working crosswise to my bold national, fate interdicted my glorious, and due to nefarious, all grand uplift purposes crash down, flags droop, crowds go home.”
This is a wonderful piece exposing Nationalistic tautology and incoherence, and indeed a suggestion against attitudes that could lead to colossal errors in decisions and discourse (about which the media would retrospectively claim they warned us). It is also a portrait of innate barbarism and tribalism and paranoia. It also explains why we Americans don’t always get as much pleasure from drinking our coffee as we should, but more immediately important, it was what I needed to calm my nerves after an anxiety attack involving feeling like a disgusting claymation character cracking apart in stop-motion increments. (less)