Hey, so I wrote an essay about Choire’s new book, which (the essay) was just published on the Millions. Click through and
feel depressed enjoy! In all seriousness, I think the book is beautifully written and conceptually important, and I wanted to explain why.
This is GREAT. In the future NYRB Classics edition of Very Recent History, this should be the introduction.
11:57 am • 29 August 2013 • 55 notes
My last French class was uneventful, anticlimactic. Is this why there were always parties on the last day of class, for our own emotional satisfaction? A manufactured sense of closure? There were only 6 students left, the same six that had come every week. The therapist, the old old man who really wants to know if I am going to take Advanced Beginner, the flibberdigibbet, the Asian girl who is suspiciously good at pronunciation (I am always suspecting people of secretly knowing the language and “cheating” by taking this class), and the lawyer guy, who came around to being fascinated by me in the end because I asked weird questions meant to trap the teacher, corner him grammatically. All of us did this, but I was very persistent about it, unsatisfied when there were holes in his system, as if he invented the language. But what about THIS. But I thought you said THIS. He would try to argue with us but then we would say BUT! Look, there is an “e” and I thought you said whenever there is an “e”…etc. What did we think we would gain? Did we think he would say, You caught me! You Americans are correct. Let me telephone France right away and ask them to issue a correction. We’re eager to forgive him, though, poor Maurice who has to answer for an entire language. We love making sense of why this but not that, so we were eager to forgive him and keep them. We just kept hoping there were incredibly edifying reasons for each exception. To have him explain the why of something, whether it was a hunch for him or just the way he thought of it or actually true, thrilled us all. He says that most countries are feminine, so you are “en” them, versus “au” them. But very new or very unknown countries are masculine. Au Canada. Au Iraq. Israel doesn’t even get an article and I asked if this was some sort of potentially offensive political statement but no one heard me or answered. Then Maurice says states have genders, too. When he told us this we all threw our heads back and rolled around in our chairs. Kentucky he said, making a disgusted face. “Those K’s? That would never be feminine.” He says this like it’s obvious and there we go again trying to absorb his system, to understand. So the lawyer grew to appreciate me because I like to cite every American use of french when he teaches us the words. “Oh sous for under like sous chef because he’s under the main chef! And sur like SUR LE TABLE! Savoir like savoir faire!” Etc. On the last day I cheerfully pointed out that lawyer and avocado were the same word, as if no one had ever noticed. “How do you know which thing people are talking about?” We’d been learning adjectives and a classmate was declaring a lawyer to be blonde. Our own lawyer was bald. As was Maurice, our teacher, who laughed his French head off when I asked him my avocado question. Well, he said with the thickest Parisian accent, if my avocado was blonde I would certainly throw it away! It would certainly be past its date!” CONTEXT! he adds. His favorite answer, which satisfies none of us. Context?! We’re left shaking our heads and muttering to ourselves. We need more clues than that. We’ll never understand this language. In fact, at the beginning of class on the last day that is what everyone was entreating him over. We know nothing! How will we ever know? How will we ever understand someone? Maurice said but oh you know a lot. “We don’t even know the past tense!” “Well,” he says, “think of all the things you can say. I like to watch films. I live in New York. I work in an office. The rug is blue.” We sound like children in the eternal present, I thought. I wanted to make a joke about the Power of Now but did not risk it. Maurice sped through lesson after lesson that we never got to, and we absorbed none of it. Where is. Colors. Numbers over 60, my god. This made the flibberdigibbet actually exclaim, “OH, YOU FRENCH PEOPLE,” which I loved. And soon class was over, and still we didn’t speak French. Still, I can’t pronounce my R’s. He told us numbers aren’t so important, you can always write them down, or point to your watch, which seemed like both a quaint anachronism and a very ineffective way of communicating. When class was over we all said thank you, in English, and shuffled out.
6:05 pm • 28 August 2013 • 46 notes
Okay, this condescending dashboard ad is pretty hilarious in the context of that Bill Watterson thing that was circulating on Tumblr yesterday.
1:28 pm • 28 August 2013 • 58 notes
“Breeding happens every fall, and to chart the couplings, Fat Toad’s four bucks are given a big square crayon in red, yellow, green, or blue. The crayons are strapped to their chests with a harness. By morning, the nannies’ rainbow rumps indicate the dominant buck. “Kids who visit see the colored goats and ask, ‘What’s that?’” Hannah said, laughing.”
1. We are going on a little road trip to Vermont this weekend, and may never come back.
2. “nannies” !!!
3. also this: “The boy goats smell terrible right now because it’s mating season,” Tim Sinnott told me at Fat Toad. “They pee on their beards to attract the ladies.”
9:02 pm • 27 August 2013 • 24 notes
marginalutilite said: I didn't know anyone read Amichai besides my Israeli friends!
Last week’s penis parakeet was my grand entry into Amichai (thank you, past lives of current love), but I spent much of yesterday reading this book cover to cover. The intro talks about what is lost in translation - significant it seems. Still, I loved it a lot not knowing what I missed.
4:24 pm • 26 August 2013
is this too much to ask or what
My standards for twerking are such that one’s ass must move independently of the rhythm of your body, one beat off. It — the ass — should be guided by but moving in the opposite direction of your muscles and bones. It should fall one moment later, and rise up out of its own accord.
12:59 pm • 26 August 2013 • 46 notes
In the library today, storytime is cancelled (apologies for the short notice), the mothers are listless, and I am the sniffling person people are moving to get away from.
11:54 am • 26 August 2013 • 11 notes
question for the ages
Why does my life partner edit all the Ha’s out of my personal essays?
12:55 pm • 23 August 2013 • 19 notes
Trying to help L pick readings for her wedding ceremony. Succeeding wildly with Yehuda Amichai.
12:43 pm • 22 August 2013 • 45 notes