The Writing on Page 21

Metzger flashed her a big wry couple rows of teeth. “Looks don’t mean anything anymore,” he said. “I live inside my looks, and I’m never sure. The possibility haunts me.”

“And how often,” Oedipa inquired, now aware it was all words, “has that line of approach worked for you, Baby Igor?”

(from The Crying of Lot 49, page 21, by Thomas Pynchon.)

The Long, Complex Sentences of Ernest Hemingway

So they sat there in the shade where the camp was pitched under some
wide-topped acacia trees with a boulder-strewn cliff behind them, and a
stretch of grass that ran to the bank of a boulder-filled stream in front
with forest beyond it, and drank their just-cool lime drinks and avoided
one another’s eyes while the boys all knew about it now and when he
saw Macomber’s personal boy looking curiously at his master while he
was putting dishes on the table he snapped at him in Swahili. The boy
turned away with his face blank.

People who say Hemingway only wrote in terse, simple sentences forget passages like this one. That whole graph is just two sentences, and the first sentence has three hyphen-words spaced in such a way that they balance and even out like lines of parallel Hebrew.

I’ll Be Your Trick Mirror

Just added to the reading list.

Trick Mirror is an enlightening, unforgettable trip through the river of self-delusion that surges just beneath the surface of our lives. This is a book about the incentives that shape us, and about how hard it is to see ourselves clearly through a culture that revolves around the self. In each essay, Tolentino writes about a cultural prism: the rise of the nightmare social internet; the advent of scamming as the definitive millennial ethos; the literary heroine’s journey from brave to blank to bitter; the punitive dream of optimization, which insists that everything, including our bodies, should become more efficient and beautiful until we die. Gleaming with Tolentino’s sense of humor and capacity to elucidate the impossibly complex in an instant, and marked by her desire to treat the reader with profound honesty, Trick Mirror is an instant classic of the worst decade yet.”

Kill your feed

Remember kill your tv?

I don’t know where or when that sentiment, expressed precisely that way, started. It feels like an 80s thing.

I (also an 80s thing) still have a TV. But today, I killed my feed.

It’s not the first time. It might not be the last.

I deleted twitter (to the extent that such a thing is technologically possible) and gave a heads up to my facebook friends that I’m going into another social media hibernation. I even found a way to mass unfollow everyone on LinkedIn. I got my email inbox to zero.

I’m not saying the folks I connected with on these platforms aren’t important or important to me. I’m just saying that I think I had the right hunch a few months ago. It’s all too much. It’s all too much at once.

Twitter is an especially wily platform. It’s designed to bring you false release. You really haven’t said anything at all in those 280 characters. Really, how could you?

280 characters is certainly enough space to be awful, though.

Life is too short for sifting through all of that.