America

Exhibit 1.7.27

England’s Fourth of July Playlist

 

 

Apparently I was so impressed by my own tweet that I put together a breakup playlist for England.

 

The Boo Radley’s – “Reaching Out from Here”

 

Eurythmics – “Love Is a Stranger”

 

The Rolling Stones – “Who’s Been Sleeping Here”

 

The Jam – “Absolute Beginners”

 

Depeche Mode – “Waiting for the Night”

 

The Cure – “10:15 Saturday Night”

 

Roxy Music – “End of the Line”

 

Gilbert and Sullivan – “Alone and Yet Alive”

 

Comment / Posted in America, England, Holidays

Exhibit 1.3.7

Things

Mostly self-aggrandizing, sadly. But this way it’s all in one place so you know where to look. Everywhere else.

* The new issue of Pank is up, and I’ve got a few pieces from my Sire [on]Line project in it. These are Michael Jackson, Bono, and Ghost Ronald Regan and they’re mostly notable for involving one person who wrote “Billie Jean,” one person who is a ghost, and one person who is not, in fact, an American.

* Quick thoughts on Thor: entertaining though I share Jon Favreau’s concern that it completely destroys the rules by which his Iron Man movies were working and makes the upcoming Avengers movie seem impossibly broad. I mean, one guy is a Norse God and another guy is just really good at shooting arrows? Notably, this is the only concern I share with Mikey. I mean, we are talking about a series of films that are basically Robot Jox with better effects. He’ll get over it.

* In the new The Reprint from Zine-Scene an old short-short of mine that was originally in The Southeast Review gets rewritten by the always amazing Kevin Wilson (whose upcoming novel I want to steal from heaven or wherever it’s currently kept). Honored, impressed, excited, etc. Be sure to check it out.

* Sigh.

* So if you go to the new Collagist, you’ll see a lot of great stuff, not least of which is Mathias‘s first short story, some poems by Houston-ite Russel Swensen, and a couple of great excerpts from forthcoming books. You’ll also see that [SPOILER ALERT] by Laura Eve and myself won their chapbook competition. This was an accident done mostly to prevent the winner of the Collagist contest from also winning The Cupboard’s contest. Unfortunately, we also won our own contest. I blame Dave and em for their lax rules.

* Joking. Cupboard contest results soon. Seriously though, I don’t want to be the Jake W. Apple of the chapbook scene. I’ve been embarrassed into retirement.

* If you want a [SA] preview, check out the new Sixth Finch which has one and a lot of other great work up. Do it. It’s not intentionally themed or anything–I don’t think–but a lot of it is wonderfully apocalyptic.

* Speaking of the apocalypse, we must be about ready for another one because Jon Pack Approves or Disapproves is updating again. I love Jon Pack despite his disapproval of dipping sauce.

1 Comment / Posted in America, Links, Things

Exhibit 1.2.17

Things

* So I’ve got a Sire Line up at Everyday Genius right here. You should do what I do and have EG in your Google Reader. You will not be disappointed.

* That Sire Line is mostly notable for being the first one in the series. There are now 50. I have no idea how that project went from something inspired by a picture in Dave‘s bathroom to that .jpg I created at work (sorry, Mark!) to this terrible, long ridiculous thing.

* I’ll write more about both of these bookish soonish, I’m sure, but last week I read Mat Johnson’s Pym and received Ryan Call’s The Weather Stations which I’m going to start today-ish. You’re going to want them both. Trust me.

* The Cupboard is still having a contest. Tell your friends, submit, etc. The deadline is March 31st.

Comment / Posted in America, Fiction, Georges

Exhibit 1.2.7

Things

You know that week everyone has where they have to read Anna Karenina, the Ramayana, the Aeneid, Wieland, Sula, and The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym? Of course you don’t. Nobody else has that week. I have that week. It’s now. Don’t bother me. Here are things:

* The Cupboard continues to hold a contest. Tell your friends to submit here.

* Speaking of The Cupboard, Dave and I are no longer alone. emily danforth has come on board as a co-editor. She cries when people don’t submit to our contest.

* Two of my Houston friends have new online journals. Be sure to submit to, eventually read, and generally appreciate Owl Eye Review and Little Grid. Hooray for doing things.

* You know what you shouldn’t read? The Aeneid. Nothing against it, just don’t.

* O, there’s a new issue of elimae, and I’m in it here. This person liked my piece and for that I’m grateful. Otherwise it’s only notable for being part of my whole Sire Lines of America thing, a project I showed the logo for way back when and then put away for a long time. It’s back. Look for more online. I’m really into online all of a sudden, mostly because I wish I could add more links to this bullet.

Comment / Posted in America, Journals, Things

Exhibit 1.2.3

Letter to an American Farmer: Shut Up

I can’t say I ever had to read much colonial history in the past, but I’ve had to delve into a bit of it while studying the American Gothic. I’ve realized this: colonial Americans are the worst people to have ever existed at any time in the history (and presumably in the future) of this planet.

Here’s what’s wrong with them:

* They had names like Cotton and Prudence.

* Their definition of virtue seems to be basically don’t act too smart or be poor or be Indian or die suddenly. If you do any of those things, you’re a jerk.

* They believed moles and warts were for suckling the devil.

(This brings me to my theory that what happened to Enrique Iglesias’s face was that he accidentally danced into a wormhole that took him back in time to the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the only way to avoid a good drowning was to remove his mole and call himself Prudence. It’s a new theory).

* Whale oil doesn’t make sense. You just boil whale and it turns into whale oil? Do all parts of whale produce oil equally? What do you even use it for in a pre-mechanical time? It’s just weird, like if you boiled Ben Roethlisberger you’d get a big barrel of quarterback oil women would dab on their necks. Well, probably not women. Maybe you could trade it for some sleazy molasses though.

* And I think this is the heart of it: they seemed really bored. It’s not exactly shocking when you read about all the housewives having been on opium because the alternative seemed to be to hang around the meeting house pondering where exactly your neighbors were hiding their devil teat.

1 Comment / Posted in America, History, Jerks

Exhibit 26.9

Tattoo Idea for Someone Else

It’s practical and colorful. Although I guess the problem is that it changes sometimes. O, wait, it never changes except for one state where it changes all the time.

Guess which state. Guess.

Yep, that one.

Comment / Posted in America, States, Tattoos

Exhibit 16.3

The new volume of The Cupboard is now available.


A New Map of America
by Louis Streitmatter
edited by James Brubaker

1 tape-bound volume designed by Beth Sullivan
$5/individual, $15/subscription

The Cupboard is pleased to present A New Map of America by Louis Streitmatter and edited by James Brubaker, a guide for a nation’s lost and grateful citizens.

*ABOUT THE VOLUME*
“An intricate and poetic mystery—as pretentious as it is lovely.”–Sir Jonathan R. Alpert, British Royal Cartographers’ Association

More than thirty years in the making, renowned cartographer Louis Streitmatter’s A New Map of America is at last here for a nation of lost and grateful citizens. In this book—containing the controversial map as well as the cartographer’s notes on the many landmarks he’s surveyed—Streitmatter unveils a new contour to this country’s surfaces and boundaries. The result is a generous guide for any weary traveler. Read it. Use It. Keep it in your pockets.

Find out more here.

*SUBSCRIBE*
4 volumes of The Cupboard runs $15. That’s not so bad. Here.

Comment / Posted in America, Maps, The Cupboard

Exhibit 14.8

Lincoln is the healthiest city in America according to this report which was presumably done in order to prop up the struggling soft news sector. Basically, more people in Lincoln said their health was good (or better) than any other city in America, something that might say more about our wholesome, Midwestern sense of propriety than anything else.

You: How’s your health?
Lincoln: Good!
You: How’s your unquestioned loyalty to conservatives working?
Lincoln: Good!
You: Wie ist Ihr Deutscher?
Lincoln: Gut!
You: How would you describe those mafioso fellas?
Lincoln: Goodfellas!
You: What’s that Keenan and Kel movie you love called?
Lincoln: Good Burger!
You: Pretend you’re praising a dog.
Lincoln: Good boy!
You: This grows tiresome.
Lincoln: Goodnight!
You: Where can I drop off my unruly 17-year-old?
Lincoln: Anywhere!

Ah, I worked so hard for that one safe haven joke. Sigh.

Actually, the only reason I even mention the report is because it also contains the first definitive evidence that everyone in Huntington, West Virginia, is a whiny malcontent (a fact we’ve all suspected). Only 68% of their residents said their health was good to which 100% of Americans said, “Oh, let me play you a song on the world’s tiniest violin, you dying wussies.”

15% of Americans also said, “Love it or leave it.” though they would have said this to anything.

1 Comment / Posted in America, Exclamation Points, Lincoln

Exhibit 13.15

Newsweek‘s Cover Story

America the Conservative
How Obama Might Govern a Center-Right Nation

Is this even true? Sure, it gets said on talk radio and Fox News as if it’s dogma, but frankly, I’d expect a real media outlet to at least explore the idea a bit rather than just assuming. Here’s Newsweek‘s editor Jon Meacham explaining it in bold with my comments in plain text.

But as we point out this week, that enthusiasm should be tempered by what I believe to be a stubborn fact about America: that, as a country, we tend to be center-right rather than center-left…Democrats have won only three of 10 presidential elections, and the three they won were with Southerners who emphasized how different their candidacies were from those of traditional national Democrats…

There are so many things wrong with this that I’ve lost my sense of humor about it. Seriously, there’s nothing funny coming up. It’s probably best if you go read something else.

Okay, on the fact that the Republicans have won 7 of the last 10 presidential elections, it’s pretty convenient how that time period begins right after Kennedy-Johnson. Adding them makes it 5 of 12 for the Democrats. Let’s assume an Obama win (as this editorial does) and we’ve got 6 of 13. Oh, yeah, and Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000. I’ll be fair and say that 2000 is unique and at best a wash while also leaving untouched the advantage that Bush had as an incumbent in 2004. Suddenly we’re looking at 6 wins a piece with 2000 excepted. Don’t even get me started on what a 1968 election would have looked like with Bobby Kennedy either.

Also, that those who won emphasized that they were different from “national” Democrats. Other than this being a profoundly subjective point that has nothing to do with how the men actually governed, I guess my only response would be that the younger Bush campaigned as being a mainstream “compassionate conservative” and a pragmatist rather than a Gingrich-esque zealot. Isn’t that a much better example of running against type than Clinton or Carter?

And what does being Southerners has to do with it is a little unclear. Nixon and Reagan were both from California. Does that mean their wins count less? I can redo that math if necessary.

Second, the fundamental human impulse to protect the familiar is often, in our vernacular, a conservative one, and the administrations of FDR, LBJ and Clinton provide case studies in the checking of radical reform by those on the right…the country’s conservative tinge will shape how Obama governs rather than usher in a McCain era.

Let me reiterate what he’s saying: The lesson of FDR and LBJ (and Clinton, which I’ll give him) is that conservatives check liberal agendas. Really? The New Deal? The Great Society? The Civil Rights Act of 1964? Yeah, what I take away from those years is that it was really the conservatives who shaped our agenda. Jesus.

Okay, well, that can’t be it, right? Surely there’s more. Polls and studies, maybe even some demographic information, which points us toward the conclusion which ended up on the cover of the magazine.

Oh, good, I see quotes coming up, this must explain how when compared to post-WWII Europe we’ve been slower to allow government a more active role in maintaining the welfare of our citizens which points to something fundamental about our character as a nation.

“America is still a right-of-center country, which is what McCain is,” McCain strategist Charlie Black told Holly Bailey. “Barack Obama is a conventional liberal. Ideologically, he’s out of touch.”

Aaaahhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

How liberal a President Obama would be is unknowable. There is no doubt that his Senate record supports Black’s view.

Okay, everybody got that? America is conservative because a Republican strategist says so and Obama’s Senate record–without a doubt–supports the view that, “Ideologically, he’s out of touch.” Without a doubt. No other interpretations. Only one way of seeing this. Black and white. As clear as John Edwards’s political calendar.

Meacham explains himself at length in his own article on the topic here, but it’s more of the same. Democrats are extremists because they aren’t able to enact their liberal agendas (?). Republicans are our natural inclination because we don’t trust government. Liberals will be disappointed because Obama won’t ban handguns or make gay marriage legal (you know, the opposite of how Bush banned abortion and abolished the Department of Education. Man, that was a crazy first 100 days).

In other words, America is a conservative country because Democrats don’t win as many presidential elections. Democrats don’t win as many presidential elections because America is a conservative country. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a logic class, but I’m pretty sure there’s a fallacy there somewhere. Wow, I forgot about logic. You guys hold on, I’m going to go do some syllogisms for fun….

…okay, I’m back.

The truth here is something that seems painfully obvious, and it’s up to Rick Perlstein to point it out, “As far as public opinion goes, the American public is generally not center-right…What we do have is a center-right political system…[America’s Founders] wrote a Constitution designed to make change a slow and deliberative process.”

I understand that doesn’t make for much a magazine cover, but it’s probably an insight that doesn’t deserve to be buried in the middle of an article that relies on quotes from McCain surrogates and Christopher Buckley as the primary evidence of its premise.

1 Comment / Posted in America, Magazines, Politics

Exhibit 11.10

On Editing a Novel #7

TURNING YOUR NOVEL INTO A BOOK OF POETRY. It’s likely that you’ve come to the conclusion that your novel just isn’t working out. If that’s the case, it’s time to take the necessary steps to exploit the lucrative and rewarding world of poetry. Many of your smarter friends’ favorite books of poetry are actually novels converted into verse. For example, everything Robert Creeley wrote was originally intended to be about globe-trotting mercenaries. When he just couldn’t make his technothrillers set in a erotic hellscapes work, he’d delete words until he passed out drunk. This is called poetry.

Let’s take a look at how his unpublished novel South American Murder Trail became the poem “America” through the deletion of a few choice words:

South American Murder Trail ->
“America”

“It’s not South America! It’s a code for subverting reality!” ->
America, you ode for reality!

“Give back the people you took!” ->
Give back the people you took.

“We can’t let the son kill her! Shine light in his eyes! Well, do it again.” ->
Let the sun shine again

“I’ve killed children on all the four corners of the world.” ->
on the four corners of the world

“You thought of it first, but do not be so sure we won’t discover the Camarillo Axiom.” ->
you thought of first but do not

“We’re on our own. Or are we? Let’s keep quiet like the mutes even if it’s an inconvenience.” ->
own, or keep like a convenience.

“People are your own responsibility. You gave your word, Mendoza! You did!” ->
People are your own word, you

“There’s not a weapon invented that can kill locusts. And it’s a problem. What kind of problem? Long-term.” ->
invented that locus and term.

“The crystal is here you said? And, say, is that voodoo?” ->
Here, you said and say, is

“Where we are, no one’s going to give love back. Probably.” ->
where we are. Give back

“What was that? Guerillas or gorillas? We are screwed. So are these people. Your travel agent made a big mistake.” ->
what we are, these people you made,

“I believe in us. And there’s nowhere for me but where you are…um…to be. I could have said that better.” ->
us, and nowhere but you to be.

What was clunky and even highly contrived dialogue is thus turned into a beautiful meditation on what America has lost in both people and spirit by fighting wars. Creeley isn’t the only failed novelist turned poet. John Ashbery’s Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror was originally Battlestar Galactica fan fiction, for one.Through careful deletion, you too can be Poet Laureate.If it doesn’t work out, skip ahead to #22 TURNING YOUR BOOK OF POETRY BACK INTO A NOVEL BY ADDING ADVERBS & SUPER VILLAINS.

3 Comments / Posted in America, Editing, Writing

Exhibit 11.6

I heard the best conspiracy theory last night. Apparently this was relayed by my friend’s mother’s boyfriend which, naturally, makes it pretty good right out of the gate. Normally I’m not one for mocking someone’s irrational fears which generally are a result of ignorance and manipulation as opposed to any actual fault in intelligence or character, but this one was initially couched in terms of Muslim/Obama bashing so I think it’s fair game.

The theory: The government is raising gas prices so that her citizens will be so poor that they will be forced to sell their guns to the government. Once the government has all of the guns, the government will–and this was the actual phrase used–“take us over.”

God, I love that. Here’s hoping.

This is how I see this going down:

America: Damn, I don’t have enough money for smokes.
Government: I know how you can get some money.
America: Is this some sort of gay thing?
Government: Pretty much. I want to buy your guns.
America: Gee whiz, jiminy jillickers, I’ll be, apple pie.
Government: Come on, we won’t take over.
America: Fine then.
Government: We’re taking over.
America: So what changes?
Government: You’ll have to pay taxes on those smokes.
America: Um, okay. That it?
Government: Well, that and Grand Moff Lieberman, yeah.
America: Whatever. What time is Keeping Up with the Kardashians on?
Government: Never. We took it over.
America/Bruce Jenner: Noooo!!!!!

I think I speak for everyone when I say that scenario would be pretty sweet. Of course, it would be even sweeter if it took less time and were funnier.

Comment / Posted in America, Bruces, Theories

Exhibit 10.5

So, apparently My Untimely Death is now at Amazon.com. You can pick it up right here. As this is greatly preferable to having to mail a check, I hope they’ll be getting more than the one copy they currently have.

Did I mention they only have one copy at the moment?

I still think it’s cool.

1 Comment / Posted in 1, America, Little Books

Exhibit 9.13

Stock Photography Review

In honor of local primary election day–America’s favorite non-holiday!–I figured it was time for a brief stock photography review of patriotic images.

Linking your company, self, or jazz fusion band to blind patriotic rage is one of the safest ways to reach customers while assuring you won’t attract the anger of Bill O’Reilly. There are a lot of different angles you can go with though to ensure you’re attracting the right demographic of Americans.

Average


Yep, that’s pretty much what we look like. I think I even own that haircut.

Gun Toting


This photo really captures the toting.

It’s perfect if your business is a private security company or a funeral home. See, this guy–let’s say he’s a bit of a maverick but likes to dress casual–will do anything to protect that mournful, sun-drenched symbol of glory behind him. Why? Hard to say, though presumably he’s vehemently against Puerto Rican statehood. Anyone wanting to add a 51st star is going to need an even bigger gun (and a needle, thread, and cloth star).

The best thing about this photo is that if you Photoshop out the uzi it’s pretty much a Ralph Lauren ad.

Post Traumatic


A quickly growing market!

The fact that there is a series of stock photos for this is horribly depressing. Use only if your company sells shame and horror.

Let’s go out on a positive note with a non-disillusioned soldier in a poorly conceived uniform:


Ah, there we go.

I don’t know what I like more, that this photographer’s idea of a uniform consisted of a khaki shirt fully buttoned or that this might actually be what three-star generals wear on the weekend.

Fake uniform or not, the guy with the uzi is going to be pissed when he finds out this joker stole his flag while he was out buying white t-shirts at the GAP.

America!

Comment / Posted in America, Patches, Stock Photography