The premier journal of http://clinomania.blogspot.com criticism.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Readers are invited to consider the following:
Are too many of Jack's social events related to Vice magazine, a magazine by, for, and about jerks?
Jack's thoughts on t-shirts seemed to us to be a bit disjointed. He uses this subject matter to cobble together quite a few not very related personal grind-axes of his, like Mindy's weight loss, different pom-poms he saw on chicks, and Nintendo.
(Which reminds one: we had a great idea here at Somenotions to make a movie about the rash of suicides that no doubt broke out among 6 and 20-sided die makers around the time that Nintendo came out and put paper D&D out of business. Two other good ideas for movies: (1) at an elite 1950s girls' school, a clean-cut young man, a veteran, is hired to be the new Dungeonmaster. He teaches the girls quite a bit about D&D and, indeed, themselves. The fancy girls learn what it's like to be a loser because the monsters are always shitting on them. (2) in the '70s, five kids are really in to D&D. But one of them moves away mid-quest. Now, 20 years later, they meet up as grown men to finish it. Think "Big Chill" meets "Mazes and Monsters.")
But back to the subject at hand - "Mikey, Your Mission..." reminds one of George Plimpton's review of Thomas Pynchon's novel V. in the New York Times Book Review in 1961, which we read because our dad had a collection of old-timey book reviews and we as a child were really a monstrous nerd, like a whole other category of nerd. Anyway, Plimpton says that there's a rash of novels that follow a rake's adventures, which is a good form for a novel from the writer's perspective because it allows him to stitch together a bunch of short stories, which in themselves aren't very marketable.
This seems to be what Jack has done - stitched together a few only tenuously related thoughts under the vague rubrick "t-shirts." Which is all well and good, we had some laughs, but frankly we look to him to make more cogent, coherent posts, meditations on a theme, rather than a gaggle of overbaked riffs. But perhaps, having gotten these ideas off his chest, he'll be less distracted in the future?
Divers readers have complained about laxity of postings here of late. Regrettable; we have recently moved offices, and as a result have been slower on the keep-up than one might like.
Jack, for his part, has been a busy beaver indeed. "Behind Every Little Fish" is a dandy post, in our opinion. Some naysayers pointed out that it plays to the worst of Jack's shortcomings - one idea beaten to absolute death. But we've always been partial to this aspect of Jack's prose, and feel he has a good horse upon which to beat here. This post also illustrates what seems to be a growing theme in the 'blog: Jack's outrage at Society's recurring failure to live up to his high standards of punning and word-play. Much like a child who knows a fellow who has the USS Flagg but fails to be constantly putting his GI Joe's on it, Jack can't stand Hollywood which fails to use its amazing toys.
We were surprised Jack was able to get beyond the simple, dumb fact that Katie Couric is a voice in a movie.
"I'm Sneezy" was a fine post in the category of personal rant. Remember in the '90s when every dicknose with an MFA was writing a memoir about their crappy childhood in Indiana or whatever and how their Dad smoked pot and their mom had attachment issues so boo-hoo? And it was all emotional and earthy? It would be divine if Jack spawned a new decade of memoir, which was just people sarcastically bitching about nuisances and making snarky comments about the people who crossed their path. That would certainly be as "true" as writing about how you came to terms with your uncle who used to pop wildcats with a .22 and you thought that was great when you were in writing class at Auburn.
More to come.
Monday, June 21, 2004
Thanks for your letter of today, June the twenty-1st. Things here in LA are going quite well; you fellows in New York have us by the balls on drunken carousing, but we compensate somewhat with our relative riches on hot tubs and tar pits. Glad you’re enjoying my magazines – please continue to do so. I have not yet seen Napoleon Dynamite but expect I will presently based on your strong feelings of love towards it.
I think your strong and apparently appropriate feelings on the subject of David Denby might be mitigated if you considered the facts of this molasses-brained halfwit’s life, as exposed in his autobiography, “American Sucker.” I quote from Publisher’s Weekly, a reputable thing: “[Denby] sunk hundreds of thousands of dollars into the NASDAQ . . . [he] nearly suffered a nervous breakdown when his wife of 18 years left him . . . [he] brutally details his decline, from a night of impotence to an affair with a married woman, then a six month obsession with Internet porn.”
If the poor fellow’s only gratification these days comes from snarkery in the pages of a magazine filled with mediocre comics (I hope you haven’t forgotten / given up on the several excellent ideas you and I had for these) and pretty good articles that are sometimes about things I care about, like silver thieves and Antarctica, perhaps we should cut him just the slightest bit of extra rope.
Further, your own writings have in the past reached their highest pinnacle when you chronicle and participate in the ups and downs and degradations of the human condition, the unique puzzle of having a superior apparatus for spiritual and philosophical examination and consideration locked inside a body that demands hilarious primate gratifications (as I write this, at least one of my associates is known to be masturbating within minutes of making a pretty insightful argument about how dumb people are at making business decisions). So I imagine you might give Mr. Denby the slightest bit of mercy if you knew that he, too, laid bare his comical disgraces for all to see.
That said, the man’s a side-grinning titty-pants, and should I see him I will indeed give him your remarks.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
We expected quite a bit from Jack on the 100th Bloomsday (note: can it be the 100th? There was only one. Or the 100th anniversary? that's not quite right either - or is it?) Perhaps we expected too much.
We confess that for our tastes, his kleinomania post was a noble but flawed experiment in prosery. A bit too much, is the simplest way of putting it, like a Kingsley Amis book with chocolate sauce all over it. We did enjoy this phrase: "Well for him!" in referring to man-boobs. Also, this turn of words: "Also, much of 20 Questions was played at, and many entertaining mysteries were, in that fashion, solved." So the Old Cat still has fight in him, in any case.
But all in all, somewhat unsatisfying. We did not read this post with relish, as one might eat the innards of beasts and fowl - eh, now, Joyceans? The style didn't ring true. A little off-key. In the past, we've pointed out and delighted in Jack's meticulous and elegant prose style, but this most recent addition seemed far to an extreme. An even keel is by no means how we would describe Jack's temperment, but he had struck a rude but effective balance - gentlemanly yet embittered, historically informed yet hyperconnected, personal yet with an authorial distance. So we were disheartened to read what amounts to a lustily executed but ill-considered pastiche of some lesser talents.
Still, art being the rough beast that it is, no one can fault the man for a bit of experimentation, and we, and we hope, he, will soldier on.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
"Triumph of the Human Spirit" may be Jack's finest hour yet in an exceptional month of June. Here we see his old themes - Man Made An Ass of By Woman, Poor Creative Decision Making By Committee, The Hidden Treasures of New York City. And devilishly, his title takes on several meanings - the name of the statue, an ironic meaning playing on the failure of the "human spirit" to go on a date, a cruel mockery of the "human" woman who failed to present her boobs for Jack. But of course, the text itself is the true "Triumph" - Jack has made comedy of tragedy, and surely isn't that the truest "Triumph of the Human Spirit"? Either that, or those giant heads on Easter Island, which are also a triumph of the human spirit.
Punchy, salty prose is Jack's giant head - it crackles and stings a bit in the mouth like a crisply made BLT. The little details - the flower in the hair, the 427 dead Africans - make it all the more worthy.
But this entry also calls the reader's attention to one of the central dilemas of Clinomania-study. The simple fact is, Jack's misfortunes make for better reading than his highest moments. For example, the time he banged that lady in Hudson River Park didn't make for the finest posting, but his immoderation with booze, and his crazed rants in the wake of rejection burble into magnificent prose. It reminds one of the comment our associate Vali made recently - he noted that Gatorade tastes so good when you're hung-over, it's almost worth the hang-over.
So the purest Clinomania reader, who must inevitably love Jack, is tortured by the fact that he must also root for mal-events to befall him. The resulting struggle draws one towards the text - we have to read constantly to see whether our dark wishes have come true. Reading becomes both a delight and a punishment for our wicked instincts. Consider: you can't watch a Harold Lloyd movie without loving Harold Lloyd, but you also want him to fall and be beset by injury so that comedy will ensue. Similarly: one roots for tremendous blizzards to hit Boston, just so something interesting happens. If there's going to be snow, it may as well be a motherfucker, just to get you out of bed in the morning.
Of course, we've never seen a Harold Lloyd movie, but the same seems to be true of Jackie Chan.
--On another note, some readers have expressed concern about this site- we can't nearly keep pace with Jack's recent spat of delightful musings, all worthy of excavation. But sadly, we're afraid that the robots inside the computers owned by our Australian dictatorial employer will find our thoughts distasteful. So our usual practice is to write our thoughts out in our own blood on napkins at the office, then copy them into the interweb once at home. Apologies for laxity.
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
We found ourselves quite fond of the "Everything Smells" post. True Jack form. He begins a bit of a discussion in seemingly genial terms, then continues as though he has taken a fresh sip of his gin and vinegar, and carries on, stabbing away without relent until his subject is made to look the fool, and his reader asmirk. We hope Jack doesn't limit himself merely to television criticism; plenty of assbutts across the web can do that. But it is a subject that seems to bring out in him his true character - a viewer willing to invest the time to watch, and having done so, earned the right to condescend.
Indeed, mightn't one of the deepest themes of Clinomania be the captivity of the media consumer? The reluctance to change the channel, hurl the book across the room? Jack will watch bad things, even after having cut to the core of their badness. He's a prisoner aware of, and quite sardonic about, his condition, but unwilling to make a dash for freedom. He's like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank maybe.
Aren't we all. Aren't we all.
Readers are invited to reply with their thoughts on this notion on our bulletin board, which does not exist.
Monday, June 07, 2004
Well, no sooner do we pat Jack on the back a bit too handily then he disappoints a shade with "ass burgers," a pun made several weeks ago by the New York Times, a newspaper know to be for dicknoses. But not being the type to learn our lesson, we pat him on the back again:
Worth noting is Jack's year retrospective. Having had the good fortune to know Jack rather well personally, we feel he undersells himself a bit. The degree to which his life has improved in the previous year is truly remarkable - if nothing else, he wears shirts with a good deal more frequency. But there is much else! When we first encountered him, he was living in a domicile not much better than a tin-sheet hut from the slums of Bouganville. But now he lives like a prince in a beautiful estate that oft reminded us of a well-appointed submarine.
Further, Jack's modesty apparently forbids him from mentioning his high literary efforts. This is surely Jack's finest achievement of the previous annum. We have it on good information that no fewer than eight readers check in on his musings daily. Perhaps eight is not an absurdly high number. But these eight are of the finest sort, discriminating to the utmost, brains made of the finest, most highly synapsed goop. We would turn William Buckley's old quip on its head, and say we'd rather be governed by these 8 than by the first 8 names in the Boston phone book, and by a damned sight. These 8 would see to it that we drank a lot and pointed out how stupid other people were and what poor TV programming decisions they made.
In any case, we offer this: a word of praise to Jack, for raising the calibre of stuff to read on the interweb. Let's hope that in the coming year he continues. And we'll do our part by very sporadically offering critical reviews of his content. Godspeed, Jack Year Two.
Friday, June 04, 2004
Here we are! The Old Fellow is back, and in top form. First rate prose from him today, on the subject of ScarJo. We could have done without the Nabokov - we've always been of the opinion that nerds are a little too instant in banging you over the head with Vladimir, as though just by walking around and watching TV you're not paying him enough attention. The way a six year old might worry if you weren't effusive enough in praising their damn toy robot from Radioshack. A similar phenomenon with Philip K. Dick. Shouldn't true fanatics just assume that every intelligent person is on board, and not insist on having you take a loyalty oath every ten minutes?
But we digress - we're thrilled with the High Style demonstrated today by Jack. The third and fourth paragraphs should be copied into chapbooks by eighth graders wishing to learn the art of descriptive essay. Furthermore it must be noted and is all the more remarkable that Jack no doubt composed these words whilst ass-deep in Moet vomit.
Let's hope muses continue to glide back and forth in front of him and drive him to heights of word-forming of the first order.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Sweet heavens, what is it with Clinomania and pinworms? The damned robots must have decided Jack's loyal readers have pinworms coming out their arse! Or cunny, in the case of the ladies.
A flurry of posts from Jack today. Apparently, last night involved some uterine issue spilling all over the place before Jack's very eyes. As if the fellow wasn't interested enough in lady-issue before!
More detailed coverage to follow - we at our office were busy in an independent research project. Just the sort of bullshit "bloggers" might be interested in, we're ashamed to admit: we were trying to determine whether or not Stephanie Herseth (D-South Dakota) is the cutest Congresswoman. We did this by painstakingly going through the member pages of every woman in Congress. A lot of chunkers and olds.
Turns out, Herseth has it won, and by a damned sight! Although Jennifer Dunn (R-WA) was probably quite a knock-out circa 1947.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
When reading about these terrorist types who like to bomb things for no good reason, and would rather America replace its culture of boobs and Cuervo with one of burqa'd women and public beheadings, one often hears so-called "experts," ie jackasses with a master's and a cluttered office at a "think-tank" wherein to hang their rumpled hat talking about "the Arab street." This apparently is a place where Arabs talk about how they're feeling about America to American journalists, who dutifully write it down on their iBooks once they're safely back at the Bethesda Coffee Bean, and e-mail it off to The Weekly Standard or what have you, then dart off to pick up their offspring at lacrosse camp.
Anyway, we offer a report of our own from the street, the street of Clinomania readers, which it turns out is the 10 between LA and Anaheim. On this street, opinion seems to be that Jack's blo' is fallen on stern times. This job of his is getting in the way of more vivid writing on such subjects as the film industry and the humours of whiskey. True, all seem to enjoy his latest romantic liason, an Entente Cordiale of sorts. One might say a French cooter served as Lafayette to a beleagured Continental Army that was Jack's member. But the strum-und-drang about his unfortunate employment situation is getting a bit too heady for the masses. After all, we read the damn thing for the same reason we presume he writes it - sweet relief!
Let us hope that Jack's misery and tedium is lessened. We wish this not merely while wearing our Christian Fellowship hat (a beret with a tassel), but while wearing our Literary Critic hat (a fetching boater number a la Buster Keaton). Back to wit! Down with workplace blitherblather and sour-toothing.
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
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03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
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11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
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12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006