Skip to main content

reality TV in the age of terror?

Atticus: The novel speaks directly—both humorously and dramatically—to the daily challenges of living in a post-9/11, terror-centric age. Nine years after the attacks on our homeland, the aftermath remains impressed onto the collective, pockmarked conscience of our citizenry like a scar that won’t heal. Many folks have grown tired and crazy with (or utterly numb to) a barrage of apocalyptic images rendering us, a post-mortem superpower, sterile. Kind of heavy territory for cheap laughs, no?


Alex: Is this the age of terror? Or the age of information? Or the age of reality TV? Did Lebron drive a white Bronco to his previous owner’s house before catching a flight to Miami where he socked a shoe bomber while apprehending a billion-dollar identity-theft fugitive who held the list of Swiss bank account owners? I don’t know—it seems like King James is an amazing talent but also a young guy taking way too much heat for any move he makes, and the “reality” we watch on TV leaves us disconnected from the struggles of regular workers in our economy and around the globe. And that’s us. I believe that senior members of university faculties and administration may have a similar disconnect to these struggles. They are affluent enough to be rather removed from the very students society entrusts them to lead.

For the vast majority of citizens on this planet—including seemingly “advantaged” American college students who in fact owe more collective debt than any group of young adults in history—daily challenges have a lot more to do with basic things like access to jobs, housing, water, food, etc. The people who terrorize often claim they are fighting to get people these things and the people who claim they are fighting terror say the same. Likewise, universities can point to all the programs they offer which aim to alleviate these struggles both locally and globally. And yet part of the picture is that the average indebted student falls behind by about $25,000 (loans plus credit card debt) by the time he or she finishes undergrad. And then the elasticity of the economy ensures it is any economist’s guess as to what kind of job market these students will graduate into.

Is the book funny? I don’t know. Are the laughs “cheap”? Not for me. I spent six years composing this novel and haven’t received a dime for the writing.

Should Phil Jackson continue his preseason book club and assign Fight for Your Long Day to Pau Gasol? Absolutely. It’s a lot shorter than [Roberto] Bolaño’s 2666. That’s what Phil gave him last year, and Pau deserves a break for playing tough in game 7.

For further interrogation, see Atticus Books. TGIF and the rest of it.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Top Ten Russian Novels!

L.U.S.K. is excited to feature a guest post from Aisha O'Connor-Fratus, writer, editor, parent, and blogger at Hell's Domestic Backside. Enjoy this list of Aisha's ten favorite Russian novels:
1. Anna Karenina (Lev Tolstoy, 1873 to 1877). Anna is rich and bored. Anna hates the way her husband chews his food. Count Vronsky—played by Christopher Reeve, so handsome) sweeps Anna off her feet! But things do not end well for Anna.
2. The Brothers Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoevsky, 1880). Not about a traveling circus acrobatic troupe. Its sweeping explorations of God, free agency, and morality are timeless and haunting. My favorite part is Ivan’s reciting of the poem “The Grand Inquisitor” in which Christ is resurrected during the Spanish Inquisition.
3. Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky, 1866). Life-long graduate student Rodion Raskolnikov tries to justify an unspeakably immoral act with eugenics and hey—a guy needs to eat.
4. Rudin (Ivan Turgenev, 1856). Dmitry Rudin talks the talk, but…

Happy Fourth of July from Henry Miller

I think it was the Fourth of July when they took the chair from under my ass again. Not a word of warning. One of the big muck-a-mucks from the other side of the water had decided to make economies; cutting down on proofreaders and helpless little dactylos enabled him to pay the expenses of the trips back and forth and the palatial quarters he occupied at the Ritz. After paying what little debts I had accumulated among the linotype operators and a goodwill token at the bistro across the way, in order to preserve my credit, there was scarcely anything left out of my final pay. I had to notify the patron of the hotel that I would be leaving; I didn't tell him why because he'd have worried about his measly two hundred francs.

~~ from Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer

The Writing Life Starring Iain Levison

Iain Levison's Dog Eats Dog was published in October, 2008 by Bitter Lemon Press and his even newer novel How to Rob an Armored Car will be published by Soho Press in October, 2009. Back in '00 or so, L.U.S.K. first discovered Levison's A Working Stiff's Manifesto in hardcover with its original subtitle, "Confessions of a Wage Slave." That memoir established Levison's scalding wit and ability to hold the attention of an ever-tweeting audience. It was later released as a trade paperback with a supercharged second subtitle, and Levison has managed to survive, publish, and publish again. With long-terms roots in Scotland and Philadelphia, Levison currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina where he commits literature and carpentry as much as he can.

USK: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer and when did you first identify as a writer?
IL: Writing is the only thing I've ever been any good at. Well, the only legal thing. Early on, I realized t…