Tag Archives: Twitter

David Foster Wallace: The Infinite Jester.

I have just finished reading Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story, D.T. Max’s biography of David Foster Wallace, an author I’ve heard about but never read. I doubt I’m the only one in the latter category. He’s mentioned in the same breath as Dave Eggars, Thomas Pyncheon, Jonathon Franzen and Dom DeLillo. Of these authors, I’ve only read DeLillo’s Point Omega – and that’s only because it’s a short novel. I still didn’t get it – if there was anything in there to “get” that is.

Wallace achieved fame after the publication of his second novel, Infinite Jest. There is a copy of this 1,079 page monster beside me right now, looking at me, daring me to open it up and read it. It’s a scary proposition. All the more so because the author himself felt he couldn’t top it. No matter how hard he worked (and he came up with some great excuses when he couldn’t quite find the inspiration), Wallace’s anxieties and ongoing struggle with depression and addiction – as well as a succession of failed relationships – ripped his undoubted talents as a fiction writer to shreds. His non-fiction, particularly his journalism, kept him alive – but only to a point.

Wallace committed suicide at the age of 46. He left behind his wife of four years, and an unfinished manuscript for what would eventually become The Pale King, a novel about boredom and the I.R.S.

So why would I be interested in a writer I’ve never read, especially one I’d probably never read? * Because he (and I’m sorry if this sounds clichéd) suffered for his art. When he faced long bouts of writer’s block, he wrote to DeLillo and Franzen to complain about his lot. Nowadays we writers moan about our lack of creativity on Facebook or Twitter. Both actions are cries for help, but Wallace had a bit more class about him. He was also a deep thinker; there wasn’t a subject he didn’t want to know about. He studied philosophy, mathematics, tax accounting (for The Pale King), and was a clever, funny, but insightful critic on modern-day consumerism and mass entertainment. Infinite Jest is Wallace’s commentary on a society brought up to worship television, a society that has become addicted to addictions, become increasingly disconnected, and mourning for a loss of community. Wallace gives us no answers because that would be the easy way out. We have to find these for ourselves.

And this is why I am drawn to this man. He echoes my thoughts right now. The world he wrote about in 1996 is still very much the world of 2012. We’re still searching for answers, looking for meaning in an ultimately meaningless society. Will we find them? Wallace didn’t stay around long enough to find out.

* (I will clarify my above statement. I have read Wallace: it was an article he wrote about Roger Federer – Wallace played tennis to a high level when he was younger – and it’s an exquisite piece of writing.)

The Five Stages of Facebook Grief.

Anger: For the love of all that is good and holy, why, Facebook, why have you changed things again? Just as I was getting used to how my feed worked, you go and screw around again. That’s it, Zuckerberg, I’m heading over to Google+. Put that in your hashpipe and smoke it.

Denial: It can’t be happening to me – not again. Not after the last time. It took me four months to have my feed feeding the way I want it to feed. I know what to do: I’ll come back later and maybe someone will have fixed it.

Bargaining: Look, if I quit the whole Farmville thing and unhide my hidden friends and pages, will you give me back my old feed? I’ll be a good Facebooker, honest I will.

Depression: Oh no…now I have to go back to Myspace. How will I be able to look my forgotten friends in the eye again. I’m doomed. Someone kill me now 😦

Acceptance: Oh well, it could be worse, I suppose. At least I know I’m not alone. 500,000,000 other users are in the same boat as me. I had better get used to it.

Life changes, people. So does social networking. You may not like it, but you had better get used to it.

100 Words, 100 Days: Day 57. On Economics.

What I know about economics wouldn’t even fill the back of a very small postage stamp. I can’t tell the difference between hedge funds, trust funds, endowment mortgages and debenture schemes. The only thing I know about defaulting is when the time comes to lay the blame.

Default always lies at someone else’s door (if you pardon the pun). Someone with a bit more knowledge than I suggests that there’s a 98% certainty that Greece will not make its loan repayments within five years.

Default lies with those who gave it to them in the first place. Default was never theirs.

 

 

Crazy: An Ode To NaNoWriMo

Crazy is as crazy does.

But where we would we be without the

BUZZ

Of NaNoWriMo 2010.

Armed with nerve and steeled by

GRIT

Bit by bit,

We’ll wield our pen

For 30 days and 30 nights of madness.

We say we’re prepared.

We say we’re ready.

But nothing will be the same again,

Once we reach the

HEADY

Heights of fifty thousand.

We’re rabbits in headlights.

We’re ducks in the rain.

We’re caffeinated to the gills,

To take away the

PAIN

Of sleepless nights and thoughts of

1,666.

Good luck to one and all.

I hope we succeed and hope we

SURVIVE

To move to a cottage in Devon.

For it is there we’ll recharge,

It is there we’ll lick wounds

And get ready for

2011.

Twitter Ye Not: Ryder Cup 2010

Ryder Cup captains Colin Montgomery and Corey Pavin have slapped a Twitter and Facebook ban on their teams during this year’s tournament at Celtic Manor, Wales. This is a preventative measure on both parts, designed to stop the leaking of information to media and fans alike.

The ban will also stop players from posting embarrassing updates and status reports. Last month, English cricket international Kevin Pietersen embarrassed himself and his selectors by complaining about his non-selection for the one-day series against Pakistan via Twitter. Nice one, Kev!

If Twitter is banned for the Ryder Cup, we would miss out on some Tweet gems such as:

“Tiger missed out on a hole-in-one but finished with a 69. Some guys get all the luck.” Luke Donald.

“Haha! Sleeping in can pay dividends!” Jim Furyk

“Hey Colin! Who ate all the pies?” Corey Pavin

“Fuck off, Pavin! Call me Mrs Doubtfire again and I’ll cut you a new one.” Colin (Mrs Doubtfire) Montgomery

“Should’ve gone to Specsavers instead.” Padraig Harrington

“BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! SOB!” Sergio Garcia

“Keep your fucking hands away from my wife, Woods.” Lee Westwood.

“I wouldn’t touch her with yours, Lee.” Tiger Woods.

“We’ll win by 18 points to 12.” Ian Poulter.

“It’s a 28 point tournament, you Muppet.” Ross Fisher.

“At last, England loves a German.” Martin Kaymer.

“No we don’t. You’re only here because you won the USPGA, you Kraut!” Miguel Angel Jiminez.

“Is the bar open yet?” Graham McDowell.

A Portrait of The Artist as a Post-Dystopian 24th Century Vampyre

Don't need no toothbrush!

How’s it going’, horse? I’m not too bad, thanks for bleedin’ askin’. This vampyre shit is the business, init? Not that I thought so at the start, mind you.

There I was, knocking back pints of Bud at Molly’s in Ballybough, minding my own beeswax, when all of a fuckin’ sudden, I’m a vampyre! It turns out that the blood transfusion I got at the Mater (you should have seen the other fella – I hit his face so hard he was eating from a tube for months) wasn’t the “good stuff,” if you know what I mean. No, it was contaminated with some stem-cell virus shite. Now I suck blood and live like a parasite.

Not much change there, so. I did that when I was human, living off my dole and my ma. But now I don’t age; I get to keep my ladykiller looks, as well as my Burberry.

Fuck sake, boys, Dublin hasn’t changed much in 300 years. Fianna Fail are still in power. Just our luck that Brian Cowen got infected at the same time as me. Now no one can turf him off his throne. Still, at least the Boys In Blue finally won the 2312 All-Ireland GAA Football Championship, their first since 19-fucking-95.

Wankers!

I joined Facebook For Vampyres yesterday. I’ve 450,ooo,ooo,ooo friends now; but if I start getting invites for bleedin’ Farmville there’ll be hell to pay.

"Dying Light," by D. Scott Meek. Order it now or face my fist!

The vampyre chicks are a bit of a let-down, though. I’m all for showing off some flesh, but bloody hell, lads, wearing nothing but the smile on your pug-ugly rotten faces is enough to turn me off my shrimp curry. I’ve seen better looking birds at a shooting range.

I still can’t get the hang of Twitter yet. I’ve only two followers: my ma and my best friend, Georgie Sparrow. Georgie is the oldest vampyre in Ireland. We celebrated his 301st birthday last week by getting right and royally hammered in Fairview Park. A right laugh we had.

I better be off; the sun’s coming up and it doesn’t play well with my complexion.

See ya next time, suckers!

(C) James McShane 2010

Scott Meek’s Blog: reading. writing. revolution.

The Book: Dying Light.

RANT: Hw d u spel ths wurd

Over on WEbook.com, there is a project called Daily WTF?, an interactive blogging site where writers from all walks of life and from all four corners of the world let loose their rants, raves, quiet moments and tortures upon the reader.

No one writer expresses herself with more vehemence than Andalib. And it is with her permission that I republish her most recent blog on text-speak and the lack of imaginative use in the English language. Here is her rant in full. Be warned, though: as is befitting Andy’s style, this piece is not for the faint-hearted.

Rant: Hw d u spel ths wurd

Yes, my dear friends, I know that the title of this particular post is – agonizing to look at but, I had to do it!

I simply had to show you what depths we have sunk to.

Facebook, IM, Twitter, MySpace and whatever else is out there is truly, truly, TRULY a pain in the ass! Yes, they are ‘good’ communication tools; yes, they allow us to speak to others half way around the world; yes, it gives us an inside look into the lives of celebrities and we are privy to some amazing info first hand (I just ate an apple and it was so good!) – um, OK, so maybe not the last one but you get the general idea, right?

Having stated all of that, it irks me considerably when I see that shitty IM lingo appear everywhere. Punctuation, grammar, spelling, pronunciation, synonyms and antonyms are all lost when IM is used.

For example:

‘I bought nice shoes, a nice dress, a nice handbag and the price was nice too.’

‘i luv dis gurl lyk so much i dnt no if id liv if she left me’

The English language is SO beautiful.

It’s eloquent, graceful, classy.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘fuck, shit, c*ck, tits, c*nt’ (parental guidance is due here) and other filthy, vulgar words exist (and are occasionally used by yours truly) but I mean, REALLY!!

Nice, nice, nice??!! There are NO words other than NICE??!!

NONE? In the entire fucking DICTIONARY??!!

Come on, man. SERIOUSLY!!

luv, i , gurl??!!

Wht da fuk mn

wht da fuk

Then the students get a low mark for an assignment, test, exam, whatever for writing shit like that and it’s THE TEACHER’S FAULT??!!

How the FUCK do you explain that one?

‘Your son can’t spell worth shit, Mr. & Mrs. Jones.’

‘Excuse me? What did you say?! Our son is forever writing on the Internet! He text messages all his friends and you’re telling us he CAN’T spell?! This is a vendetta! This is a conspiracy against our Timmy! You must be one of those sick teachers who tried to get sexual with our son but he turned you down so now you’re failing him. We’ll go to the school board with this! You’ll see! We have friends in high places who will send your sorry, manipulative, sex addicted ass bouncing!’

Oh! Then you get the little bastards who go homicidal, suicidal, fucking completely NUTS when that happens and end up shooting the whole fucking school to bits!

Jesus!

We (and here I mean Facebook, IM, Twitter, MySpace etc, etc, etc) are causing children (and some adults) to LOSE THE ABILITY TO SPELL!!!

It’s a fucking Greek tragedy. I shit you not.

There was a survey held recently by a bunch of people who went around asking American teenagers if they could name the first five presidents of the USA. They went to public schools, private schools, slums, upper class neighborhoods – every where and you know what they discovered?

97% of them did not know the answer!

They then held the exact same survey in China. They asked the same question, the same neighborhood situations, the same schools – everything and you know what they discovered?

100% of them knew the answer!

It breaks my heart to know that these little fuckers who write ‘Hw d u spel ths wurd’ and ‘nice, nice, nice’ will one day be our country’s leaders.

Oh the shame.

*#*