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477 pages, Hardcover
First published January 1, 2013
Maxine heads for work, puts her head in a local smoke shop to grab a newspaper, and finds everybody freaking out and depressed at the same time. Something bad is going on downtown. ‘A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center,’ according to the Indian guy behind the counter.
‘What, like a private plane?’
‘A commercial jet.’
Uh-oh. Maxine goes home and pops on CNN.
‘Ground Zero,’ a Cold War term taken from the scenarios of nuclear war so popular in the early sixties. This was nowhere near a Soviet nuclear strike on downtown Manhattan, yet those who repeat ‘Ground Zero’ over and over do so without shame or concern for etymology. The purpose is to get people cranked up in a certain way. Cranked up, scared, and helpless.
‘how everybody's regressing? 11 September infantilized this country. It had a chance to grow up, instead it chose to default back to childhood.’
same old classic dotcom dilemma, be rich forever or make a tarball out of it and post it around for free, and keep their cred and maybe self-esteem as geeks but stay more or less middle income.
‘So…’ some presentable young lady spreading her upturned palms, ‘warm and friendly here, right?’
‘And after the stories we heard,’ Lucas nodding, gazing amiably at her tits.
He's silent, wherever he is. By now one more American sheep the shepherds have temporarily lost track of, somewhere in the high country above this ruinous hour, cragfast in the storm.
‘No matter how the official narrative of this turns out,’ it seemed to Heidi, ‘these are the places we should be looking, not in newspapers or television but at the margins, graffiti, uncontrolled utterances, bad dreamers who sleep in public and scream in their sleep.’
“You know what Susan Sontag always sez.
“‘I like the streak, I’m keeping it’?
“If there’s a sensibility you really want to talk about, and not just exhibit it yourself, you need ‘a deep sympathy modified by contempt.’”
“Their idealism, their youth...Maxi, I haven’t seen anything like it since the sixties. These kids are out to change the world. ‘Information wants to be free’ - they really mean it. At the same time, here’s all these greedy fuckin dotcommers make real-estate developers look like Bambi and Thumper.”
"Irony, assumed to be a key element of urban gay humor and popular through the nineties, has now become another collateral casualty of 11 September because somehow it did not keep the tragedy from happening...as if somehow irony, as practised by a giggling mincing fifth column, actually brought on the events of 11 September, by keeping the country insufficiently serious - weakening its grip on 'reality'. So all kinds of make-believe - forget the delusional state the country's in already - must suffer as well. Everything has to be literal now."
"Ain't like I was ever Alfred Hitchcock or somethin. You can watch my stuff till you're cross-eyed and there'll never be any deeper meaning. I see something interesting, I shoot it is all. Future of film if you want to know - someday, more bandwidth, more video files up on the Internet, everybody'll be shootin everything, way too much to look at, nothin will mean shit. Think of me as the prophet of that."