Re: Party all the Time

1

It is better for a man to compete impersonally in society than to compete for dominance in his own home with his wife


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:33 AM
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I know I'm stealing another's "Christ, what an asshole!" response, but that about sums it up. I kind of hope he gets sued for violating the 50% policy or something, when I'm not usually a vindictive person.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:40 AM
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Colossal ass, yes, but mostly, isn't that just an alcoholic who had been keeping it under control by not being able to drink at work losing it when he wasn't under surveillance all day? Sad, but didn't seem to me to be really about paternity leave.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:46 AM
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His wife should try to murder him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:47 AM
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I mean, it's one thing to have to tolerate a spouse who drinks too much and doesn't shut up about it, but a whole nother level when he starts publishing articles about how you do all the work while he drinks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:50 AM
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Yeah to what Moby says. If this (writing, publication) is how he acts when he's sober, fuck him.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:54 AM
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Also I'm getting trolled at the personal-is-political level, like do we really need puff pieces asserting that men will have too much time on their hands if we give them paternity leave? I just want to kick him in the shins. Good thing he has a small child to do it for me.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:57 AM
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Is anybody taking bets on the date and time at which this wanker will issue a social-media-enforced revision-and-expansion of his remarks, which were taken out of context?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:58 AM
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Thorn is objectively pro-murder.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:01 AM
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I know, I'm even losing my pacifism now. This is terrible!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:03 AM
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Plus you only said TRY. Presumably she's too overwhelmed taking care of their kids and this jerk that she couldn't pull it off effectively.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:04 AM
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I don't think there's any way she was actually confused about where the case of Heineken had gone. Maybe SHE should sue him.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:05 AM
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Maybe J, Robot can knit you a pacifism leash.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:06 AM
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This is the kind of article that makes me wonder if school administrators don't have some kind of secret but widely understood policy for dealing with cases where someone violates a policy/set of rules that they wish didn't exist in the first place. "Ok, we caught you (abusing the paid leave policy to sit around drinking all day)/(using tenure as an excuse to not actually teach students)/(etc.). We could discipline or fire you now, or we could agree to let it slide if you write an article about how that policy means you can get away with doing stuff like this in a national publication."

I mean, it wouldn't be directly useful for ending those policies in the short term, but it would be a great contribution to slowly eroding away support for the existence of these kinds of things. I'm not sure school administrators are the sorts of people who would manage to come up with/successfully implement this sort of plan, though.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:07 AM
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Also a case of Heineken over a weekend sounds like he's bored, not alcoholic. I'm willing to believe she keeps the baby away from him, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:08 AM
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14.last: they could come up with it but would scotch it as too long from flash to bang


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:09 AM
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Yeah, a case is what, 24? At the most? How long is a weekend? I'm not impressed.

But I'm happy because an evil school administrator we had to deal with is suddenly and unexpectedly stuck doing freelance evil instead. Out of deference to the spouse, I won't recommend sitting around drinking beer and watching HGTV for a year, even though it works for some people.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:12 AM
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15: Yes. A case of Heineken over a weekend is way, way too much for watching a baby.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:13 AM
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2: There's no stealing; "Christ, what an asshole!" belongs to us all.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:41 AM
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It's possible to be an alcoholic without binge-drinking, surely. 24 beers drunk alone in 48 (or 72) hours may not make you legless if they're spread out, but it still bespeaks a problem.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:44 AM
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19: I just didn't want to identify someone who might not want to be identified, which apparently is not a problem!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:45 AM
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Plus we were all thinking it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:45 AM
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The impression I get from this article is that he thinks it's basically... cute? "Looky me, I sure am a silly little man! Look out, other men are silly little men too! It's not my income I'm worried about! Ha ha! How droll."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:50 AM
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A case of beer in a weekend is one beer every two hours. Considering that the body metabolizes alcohol at a rate of one beer per hour, its perfectly reasonable to drink a case of Heineken in a weekend and not even be drunk.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:50 AM
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24: Kind of. I'm imagining five on Friday, ten Saturday, nine Sunday or something. That's really quite a bit to drink. I imagine he sleeps and all.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:55 AM
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I'm half-convinced it's some sort of Lee Siegel performance art piece, between "I drank my way through paternity leave, tee-hee", "stop comparing me to Cormac McCarthy blush!", and "I wonder if noted homophobe Joseph Epstein will recoil from this sloppy public blowjob". But you know, Occam's razor says he's probably just a hack and an asshole.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:58 AM
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I could not do a case of Heineken over a weekend even when I was drinking fairly heavily. I suppose if you start drinking first thing and stretch it out as in 24 it'd be OK, but I and most people I think tend to drink only in the late afternoon/evening.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:59 AM
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Heineken is probably one of the easiest things to binge drink. Its watered down enough that it keeps you hydrated.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:05 AM
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Oooh, I have a #slatepitch. Excessive paternal leave for academics is bad for women because it lets men get ahead on their research by having an extra sabbatical, while women have to use their leave for actual child rearing and so will fall behind relative to their male colleagues.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:07 AM
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noted homophobe Joseph Epstein

You're making me sad. Epstein was my prof for a class in college, and he was so gracious and decent and funny, it's been a huge bummer to see him slide into lazy hackdom.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:08 AM
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The thing about the practicality of drinking a case of Heineken in a weekend is not exactly that there'd be no way of doing it without getting puking drunk, but that you'd either be getting pretty drunk, or you'd be starting slow, controlled drinking the very moment you got out of bed in the morning. If you're doing either of those without noticing it as a special event, I think there's a good shot you've got a real drinking problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:11 AM
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29: I've seen that seriously someplace -- not so much that paternal leave is bad, but that men use it as a tenure-clock extension to get more publication in, while women end up actually doing childcare.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:12 AM
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Excessive paternal leave for academics is bad for women because it lets men get ahead on their research by having an extra sabbatical, while women have to use their leave for actual child rearing and so will fall behind relative to their male colleagues.

I have encountered a real live (academic) man who objected to all parental leave for academics because it lets parents get ahead on their research.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:12 AM
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34

Heineken! Fuck that shit, Pabst Blue Ribbon.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:12 AM
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I skimmed this article after seeing it on Facebook and didn't get a case of Outrage! but only because I thought it was just a guy confessing his shitheelitude and alcoholism, not a pitch to end paternity leave. Maybe I didn't read a section or missed the tone. I took it more in the spirit of a confessional, like that guy who had a blog post about how he hadn't worked on his dissertation for three years.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:16 AM
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36

35: me, too


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:16 AM
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37

It probably isn't a good idea to drink that much.


Posted by: lemmycaution | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:21 AM
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I don't think Jammies would have trouble polishing off a case in a weekend, if he had time to kill and something on TV he felt like watching.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:29 AM
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Eight beers a day, three days straight? I'm not saying it's an unlikely feat, but doing it without noticing, as ordinary background drinking, seems like a hell of a lot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:31 AM
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A case is twenty-four, right? I'm suddenly thinking wait, maybe it's only twelve? I live in an apartment with no storage space, our beer shopping only goes up to sixpack. If we want more, we walk to the corner.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:32 AM
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seems like a hell of a lot

It's above the median, for sure, but I think "hell of a lot" is a case per day and up. I feel certain there are commenters who can inform us on this topic.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:35 AM
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I think a whole case might be tricky in a weekend, but a lot of that has to do with the sheer volume involved, I mean, both because of the amount of fluids you're drinking but also because of how hard it is to ignore how much you're drinking.

If he'd said the equivalent of that in, say, gin I think it would be a lot easier (and a lot easier to be surprised by later on). It's still an awful lot of liquor (something like one and a half 750 ml bottles I think), but if you started in the early afternoon or so and were mixing relatively strong drinks I can how someone would do it.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:37 AM
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43

Actually, here you go. You're too low and I'm too high. On life.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:37 AM
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Pre-relationship with me, Jammies probably did it semi-socially, easily. Socially, putting away 7-8 beers in the evening on Friday, Saturday, and chipping idly away at the other eight during the day on Saturday and Sunday? No problem. He's an outgoing guy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:45 AM
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Not every weekend, and he has lots of interests that don't involve drinking. But he likes beer, and can drink it pretty steadily.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:46 AM
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42: I'm going to stick to my guns on this one. Eight drinks in a day doesn't seem like a crazy amount to me. But eight drinks in a day, three days in a row, as ordinary background drinking?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:46 AM
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Pre-relationship with me

So who's the buzzkill now?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:48 AM
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44: Sure, but you're talking about a twenty-something partying two nights of the weekend, who knew he'd been drinking pretty hard. The "no, that's genuinely problematic drinking" reaction I'm having is to the guy saying that he was wondering where that case of beer went; that he put it away without noticing it as a particular event.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:49 AM
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48: doesn't this guy sound arrested in mid-twenties development? If not younger!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:00 AM
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I had college friends who would drink a 12 pack a day every day as background drinking and then add on to that substantially when going out. But guess what they were really drunk all the time. Not sure what the debate is.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:11 AM
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As it happens, today is my first day of solo parental leave. I expect to do some actual child care, and not to make any progress on my novel. (I've even removed my work email from my phone, which is making me a little twitchy.)

The one-tenth of a point I'll concede this guy is that my initial leave in the first few weeks of the baby's life did feel slightly fraudulent. People always ask, "How are you sleeping?" and I had to say, honestly, fine, because my wife is doing all the overnight feedings and modern disposable diapers are amazing things. One makes up for that by doing every single thing one can otherwise, like picking up the crying baby at 5am so that mom can get a little extra sleep or taking him on a long walk in the afternoon so she can take a nap. If I started binge drinking at home while my wife was nursing she would murder me in my sleep, from jealousy.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:15 AM
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50: Spike trolled everybody by fudging the denominator and assuming good faith. Also, 34 wins the thread.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:16 AM
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I would be deeply, deeply uneasy about having a partner who could write that my willingness and capacity to care for my child "flooded [him] with awe". I gather from watching friends parent their children that child-rearing is no bowl of cherries, but surely the actual father of a child should feel motivated enough to care for the kid that he's not dazzled and incomprehending when the mother models, like, good parenting.

I would also be deeply uneasy about having a spouse who thought that publishing this was a good idea, unlikely to be traced to him and harm his career.

I do get the feeling, a la 23, that he thinks he's being cute, and the fact that he has grown up thinking that this sort of piece, this sort of behavior and the implicit "ha ha men don't need paternity leave because babies are women's business" aspect are trivial fills me with....well, not rage, since I'm trying to spend 2015 less filled with rage. But it fills me with commitment to a Foucauldian yet neoliberalism-inflected antihumanism, anyway.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:16 AM
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I think I'm staking out the position that if the article accurately portrays his drinking, the fundamental issue is that the writer is an alcoholic, and the fact that having unstructured time off from work exacerbated his problem doesn't say much meaningful about the value of paternity leave. Reading it through any lens other than his being in denial about a drinking problem seems to me to be confused.

I generally resist alcoholic-spotting, but if he's not exaggerating, I'd be really surprised if he didn't have a real problem, on leave or not.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:17 AM
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Can't conceive of the desire or even willingness to down that much heinekin on taste grounds, that's just alot of the same taste swilling about, where's the variety? Also agree this is odd to regard as background state even if hg is correct re arrested development. My god can you imagine being shackled to this guy as a coparent, even post divorce? Shudder. Some things would not be fixable with sobriety, see excellent summary in 53.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:31 AM
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I don't think that a case of beer over a weekend indicates alcoholism. If the weekend goes from Friday after work until bedtime Sunday, I've done it a fair number of times. But it does indicate somebody who has checked out of being a parent for that weekend.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:33 AM
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Reading it through any lens other than his being in denial about a drinking problem seems to me to be confused.

What about reading it through the lens of his confessing to a serious drinking problem? Like 35, that was my reading.

A case of beer in a weekend is one beer every two hours. Considering that the body metabolizes alcohol at a rate of one beer per hour, its perfectly reasonable to drink a case of Heineken in a weekend and not even be drunk.

Back when my wife was trying to encourage me to limit the amount of drinking I was doing (back when I was unambiguously doing way too much drinking), we had a jointly-developed and mutually-agreed rule that I could drink no more than eight drinks. But, I insisted, those had to be eight unmetabolized drinks, so really it was eight drinks in the first hour plus one per hour each hour thereafter, or (more likely) four per hour for two hours plus two the next hour plus one per hour each hour thereafter, or some variation on that. Anyway, it turns out that I'm very bad at keeping track of that math when I've been drinking heavily. And also my wife hates arguing with a belligerent drunk in an effort to police this sort of thing. So the rule didn't last very long as an actual rule. But it was actually a very helpful rule of thumb. Eight unmetabolized drinks keeps me pleasantly drunk over the course of a long evening without at any point sending me to the bathroom to vomit (which is more or less what happened every time I would drink very heavily with no mental brake--I'd keep at 4 or 5 per hour for 3 or 4 hours and then end up with my face in a toilet).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:36 AM
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Didn't he approach claiming that the drinking was caused by the leave, and he was fine once he got back to work? I read the piece as being about the ill effects of leave, which made him a temporary drunk, rather than about how his drinking problem became severe while he wasn't working. If you see the distinction.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:39 AM
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47: you probably feel bad for making that joke, admit it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:42 AM
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58: Yes, the message was paternity leave is bad, because men need the structure of work and aren't interesting in being parents anyway.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:44 AM
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the fact that having unstructured time off from work exacerbated his problem doesn't say much meaningful about the value of paternity leave

Regardless, HE frames it as being about the value of paternity leave.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:44 AM
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I honestly assume he's exaggerating the drinking out of cutesy bad-boy-ness.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:45 AM
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59: Only a little and fuck you!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:45 AM
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62: Could be. My guess is that he's a really problematic drinker who's still holding it together at work but not at home, and that he's in denial enough to not realize that the amount of drinking he described doesn't sound cutely bad boyish.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:48 AM
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58: but that's a ridiculous claim.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:49 AM
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62: Yes. You can hear him thinking to himself, "Aren't I adorable?"


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:50 AM
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62, 66: Yep. Or Bugs Bunny style: "Ain't I a stinker?"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:50 AM
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61: Right, I just think the reasonable response is that his perspective on paternity leave isn't worth much to someone who doesn't have a drinking problem.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:54 AM
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I'll admit it; it makes me mad that he complains about how hard and unpleasant it is to write a novel. You know what's also hard? Writing novels while holding jobs, being a parent, not being able to afford booze, living in an oppressive state, etc. When everything in your life conspires to make it simple for you to create art, and you complain about it, maybe you're not an artist.

I would have sympathy, I think, to some degree, if this essay were about the irony of getting a wretched case of writer's block the moment you have a leave. I'd still think it was small potatoes for bitching, but at least it would be grounds for reflection on the ways art gets made and the strange effect of time and resources on the imagination.

I'd be especially pissed if I were a novelist and creative writing professor. Of those I've known, especially in similar fairly cushy positions, they've all been people who ate their fair share of shit coming up and now work obsessively, especially when they get teaching leaves. And, weirdly, the men I've known in these positions also manage to be really involved fathers. Huh.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:01 AM
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Framing it as a perspective on the value of paternity leave and then intentionally exaggerating/humoring an obviously problematic behavior is a pretty weak rhetorical move if he intended to support that value judgement. So weak, in fact, that I read it as a kidding on the square piece about his weakness and bad partnership.

To be blunt, this isn't a piece about the value of paternity leave--it is a piece about this guy disintegrating.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:01 AM
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Spike trolled everybody by fudging the denominator and assuming good faith.

Busted.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:05 AM
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70: My reading as well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:08 AM
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73

though now I see only men are reading it this way...


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:09 AM
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73: On a thread at the other place, I said I read it as a cry for help. It's just kind of bullshit when your cry for help is also a refutation of the need for a hard-won gender equality measure.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:22 AM
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Well, I'm on board with thinking he's disintegrating; I'm just not sure that he's consciously describing his disintegration. I think he thinks he's writing about the bad effects of paternity leave on his life.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:22 AM
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73: The piece can be about how he's a disintegrating drunk and how he's a sexist asshole. I think Bakhtin wrote a book about that.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:25 AM
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To the other reading: fair enough. It just seemed such a very bad argument about the nominal topic that I lean far the other way.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:26 AM
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If it gets around that you can blame your drinking on the behavior of others, nobody will ever stop.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:27 AM
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Reminds me of this. Put generously, the writer may not have noticed the vanished case if he was in that 10 percent of heavy drinkers and yet may not be an alcoholic. I agree with LB that he most likely is, though. And is definitely a dick.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:29 AM
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I hadn't realized it was this guy until I read the links in 26. That review does admittedly compare him to McCarthy, but not in a positive way.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:32 AM
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No novelist who recognizes the unholy hardship of writing a novel ever wants to write a novel.

All else aside, I maybe am not the very best sport when I hear about the hardships of things like writing novels.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:40 AM
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When my students bitch about having to read some huge masterpiece of fiction, I tell them that no one in the history of humankind has ever lived a life so brutally miserable that they have *had* to read a novel. Any time someone has set aside weeks of your life in which you are offered a once-in-a-lifetime encounter with great art and a room to sit in with peers and discuss it is pretty much the polar fucking opposite of "having to" do anything. If reading Fielding or Sterne is the most grueling experience you have ever had on your schedule, you have never "had to" do anything ever. You *get to* read literature, damn it. I'm pretty sure this goes 10x for writing literature.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 11:48 AM
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Mallory Ortberg: http://the-toast.net/2015/01/06/id-love-help-wife-dishes-im-trapped-something-heavy/


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:00 PM
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81, 82: It's like you people have never seen the riveting documentary Misery.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:00 PM
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Also what AWB said in #69. Yes, yes, yes. I'm so sad he can't write while his wife is raising his infant. That just breaks my FUCKING HEART.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:02 PM
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||

You know what's a swell movie? A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Maybe ogged can weigh on the actors' accents.

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:08 PM
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Is it, nosflow? I'd heard otherwise and was sorry to hear that, so I'm choosing to believe you.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:09 PM
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||

Whee, small victories. (Wee small victories?) My colleague with the big grant has grudgingly graciously agreed to spend some of it for the collective good ("maybe if I don't spend it they won't give me money next time?" the colleague mused dolefully) instead of asking me to overextend my finances.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:12 PM
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89

Where by "instead of" I mean "after, repeatedly", but wevs.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:13 PM
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87: well, I liked it lots. You have to be prepared to accept a slow movie in which very little happens.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:19 PM
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Never heard of it. Accents?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:24 PM
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90: You're speaking my language there!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:24 PM
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The dialogue is all in Farsi, the actors are mostly first- or second-generation emigrants from Iran.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:25 PM
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94

One can be a second-generation immigrant but can one be a second-generation emigrant? I don't see why not but it doesn't seem to come up.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:25 PM
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94: "But we just moved here one generation ago! Now you up and move us to another country?!"


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:31 PM
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96

Oooh ooh ooh a commenter at The Toast unearthed this winning quote from another essay by the same guy:

"But so far my life as a new father has much in common with my old life. My best friend, a Boston story writer, married an Irish Catholic woman from Connecticut with two siblings, an older and younger brother, neither of whom she adored, and so now the diaper work and up-all-night obligations get split down the middle. Furthermore, his bride aspires to be a novelist of all things. His hair has gone grayer, and all those short stories canistered in his cranium stay in his cranium. I, on the other hand, married an Asian woman born in Taiwan who has an identical twin and three other siblings--two of them younger, adored brothers she tended to daily--and although she's an artist with an aptitude that astonishes me--Katie crafted the mobiles above Ethan's crib; they rotate and revolve with a perfection that would have impressed Johannes Kepler himself--all she ever wanted to be was a mother. The difference between brides is greater than that between Schopenhauer and Saint Francis, and so my life as a new father has much in common with my old life. But still: I am in the room when Ethan wakes at night. He wants me awake, too. We are a triumvirate, after all. I have made this. I get no stay-asleep pass."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:40 PM
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97

96: CHRIST, WHAT AN ASSHOLE!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:42 PM
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98

96: I am speechless. And wishing liver damage on him.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:45 PM
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99

83 is great.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:48 PM
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100

He's the worst!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:48 PM
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101

* brides
* aspires to be a novelist of all things
* I, on the other hand, married an Asian woman born in Taiwan
* although she's an artist with an aptitude that astonishes me
* [she made a mobile]


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 12:51 PM
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102

I think he's on the list for when the feminists get their drone.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:03 PM
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103

Christ, what an asshole.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:14 PM
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104

What a fucking terrible person.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:17 PM
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105

All she ever wanted to be was the wife and co-parent of a drunk with an insatiable urge to embarrass them both on the Internet.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:17 PM
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106

I HAVE MADE THIS.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:19 PM
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107

He should go on a bar crawl with that HBS guy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:19 PM
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108

106 was my favorite part of that horror.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:22 PM
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109


He should go on a bar crawl with that HBS guy.

...and hook up with the Princeton Mom.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:24 PM
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We are a triumvirate, after all

I wear earplugs at night so the kids won't wake me. On the other hand, I don't drink, and I am with them all day.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:31 PM
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111

As the philosopher Meatloaf said in another context, "Two out of three ain't bad."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:33 PM
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106: I dunno, you have to hope that they're not his.

And how many creepy comments about Asians (which I'm assuming Doctor Yum is) can he fit into the story?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:35 PM
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113

Maybe "Doctor Yum" is just a nickname from her sister?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:36 PM
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Wow, he has a ton of essays on his site. Maybe unfogged should just be dedicated to making fun of him for the next year-ish?

From the same essay as the above about his submissive asian wife:

New fathers speak of the happiness a child brings, but what I feel--and have felt since Ethan arrived--has more in common with quietude than joy--which, of course, scrambles the mind, since my homunculus wails with a force to rival white squalls and fusses day and night for no discernable reason. "Life is something that should not have been," Schopenhauer wrote, and when I hold my son I say to him, "I invented you," because we make life in order to approach godliness.

A bit later, after a quick Larkin quote:
I sympathize with this logic and welcome it as an attractive alternative to the Christian/Republican go-forth-and-multiply tomfoolery filling up our nation with knuckleheads or the Eastern Islamic imperative to secure victory by outnumbering the infidels. Ethan is here because Katie wanted him here, because she is exceedingly maternal and talented with children. (It does not really take two: it takes one nine months and a strong will--Schopenhauer's Will to Life--and the other barely nine minutes and no will at all.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:37 PM
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115

It's like we finally found Guy In Your MFA's faculty advisor.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:37 PM
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116

114.a - I hesitate to attribute intent to someone who refers to Alaska as "gelid", but maybe re: homonculus he's not just overwriting but really does think that his son is a tiny man who sprung forth magically out of his jizz.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:39 PM
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113: Doctor Yum is (supposedly) the doctor's name. He calls her Doctor Yummy, because he's the worst.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:39 PM
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His position in the great "is being a kinda lonely nerdy dude the worst thing ever?" debate seems clear:

I was fearful of Ethan's arrival because I was fearful of losing sleep and turning into a zombie--and of having to see him one day as a pimpled teenager in lust with a stunning lass who might not return his affections. This, for some of us, is next door to hell.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:39 PM
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I like the incoherent drops of Schopenhauer in the quotations Tweety excerpted.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:42 PM
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nosflow, you really need to read the whole thing.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:45 PM
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119: there are a lot more where that came from. Did you know Schopenhauer never wrote poetry because he was scared of Goethe?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:45 PM
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Hey, the incoherence starts early!

I can best explain why by invoking do-gooder John Stuart Mill. He wrote himself into a real conundrum trying to reconcile individual liberties with the greatest common good. How can one defend total individual freedom while simultaneously calling for a utilitarianism that would benefit the bulk of humankind?

I can hardly believe that this man is paid to teach writing to others.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:48 PM
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Among other things, he doesn't know the difference between a Bohemian and a bohemian, so I had a really great mental image going for a moment until it was crushed by reality.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:48 PM
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In the supremely dull first half of Sartre's autobiography, The Words, he writes: "There is no good father, that's the rule. Don't lay the blame on men but on the bond of paternity which is rotten. To beget children, nothing better; to have them, what iniquity!" And this from a man with no children. To paraphrase one of Sartre's male protagonists in The Age of Reason: children are detestable because all of their senses are mouths. First they observe you and then they consume you. Thank heavens Sartre didn't reproduce--Beauvoir begged him; he held his ground. D. W. Winnicott wrote that we will all have to resign ourselves to "good enough mothering": we parents, even the best of us, are so flawed as to be laughably, woefully inadequate and, of course, incapable of not poisoning our offspring. So the question then becomes not how can I prevent myself from contaminating Ethan, but how can I contaminate him least? (Katie, I'm convinced, shall do no contaminating. She is too pristine in her motherly role.)

Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:52 PM
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Reading these excerpts makes me feel like I've just polished off a case of Heineken over a weekend. It's like I'm avoiding my life by hurting myself.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:53 PM
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Now you know how much to discount good reviews. Or maybe his other stuff is just fabulous.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 1:53 PM
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I gotta say, anybody who thinks to refer to the female attendees at Emerson grad student parties in the 21st century as "multihued ladies of the night" (here) is... well, is terrible, as we know. But his terribleness is turgid and towering and, I dunno, tubercular!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:01 PM
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127: The first baby/sleep essay features "various
dark ladies visiting frequently," which no longer happens now that he's all married and settled and grown up. Ew ew ew.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 2:24 PM
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A moment ago I hated life, but now I hate a dude on the internet. Who needs therapy?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 5:43 PM
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Standpipe!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 5:46 PM
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Bridge!


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 5:53 PM
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129: !!!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 6:07 PM
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I bet his wife gave birth on a pedestal.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 6:10 PM
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132 was supposed to be "Plate!"


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 6:15 PM
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This is why we can't have nice things.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 6:16 PM
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Platica!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 6:39 PM
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Hi, all.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:02 PM
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I'm sorry, Moby! I thought about doing what you wanted, but then I didn't do it!


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:05 PM
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AWB just wanted to be there where she could have done what you wanted.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:14 PM
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I've been coup counted.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:28 PM
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127: Violating the sanctity of off-blog communications, I just suggested this short essay by Tobias Wolff, on encountering his own racist jokes in his correspondence with Raymond Carver, as a counterpoint to Giraldi, both in its degree of actual introspection and in the non-bludgeoning awfulness of its prose.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:48 PM
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That's non-(bludgeoning awfulness), not (non-bludgeoning) awfulness, I presume, since Wolff's prose is neither bludgeoning nor awful.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 7:50 PM
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I really liked that Wolff essay, although there was a bit in the middle where it was unclear to me what his point was, if he was going to make a point, and if he knew whether he was trying to get to a point. It was mostly noticeable because it started so strong, then seemed to lose the thread, then find it again. I remember feeling near-relief at the end, that the promising start wasn't squandered.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:27 PM
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I have fallen down an incredible rabbit hole of this guy's awful writing. It is so amazingly consistently awful! He's a sort of treasure, really.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:29 PM
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Giraldi:Nabokov::Dallas:Jackson


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:38 PM
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People you can count on for fancy prose styles besides murderers, a non-exhaustive list:
1. W. Giraldi


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:45 PM
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It's amazing how not that funny Bloom County is in retrospect given how funny it was at the time. Some of this is due to the existence of "Outland" which kind of ruined it in nearly the same way that Sting's later work ruined The Police.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:50 PM
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144: it's not just the writing, either! He really consistently finds new ways to be personally awful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 8:54 PM
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True!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:04 PM
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147 to ?

I think Bloom County is as great as I thought it was when reading my parents' books as a kid, a decade after they came out. That is to say, everything is amusing except anything involving Bill the Cat, which have always been terrible.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:14 PM
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147 to ?

145, I assume.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 9:15 PM
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147: this video is the ideal of unwatchable warm up porn, courtesy of sting - http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=UGufiv5PB2A

It's sort of a masterpiece of cringe-induction.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:01 PM
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||

Bleg:

Tim likes to stream audio over the internet as he's falling asleep on his MacBook.

Is there a way in OS X (2 versions before Yosemite) or an application that will allow you to set a timer so that it will stop automatically? Basically, I want a "Sleep" Button like on a clock radio.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:28 PM
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2 reactions here:

1) Did I miss the point where I was supposed to write The Baffler off for publishing garbage like this? Or is this that point? I had known them to be misguided but not pernicious in the past, and the fact that 100% of you find this article to be way over the line suggests a catastrophic lapse in editorial judgment at best. What the fuck?

2) So... is this how all Male Novelists appear to Mallory Ortberg? Because faced with something like this, her shtick (which normally leaves me cold, because I'm objectively evil) seems like a pretty judicious response to me.


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 01- 6-15 10:59 PM
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WHEN THE FEMINISTS GET THEIR DRONE is such a great song title. possibly album title. obviously the resonance with Tom Lehrer's PROLIFERATION TANGO is doing work. but still. I want.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:12 AM
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Drones are of course male, idle, useful only for reproduction, and crippled and left outside to starve once this function has been fulfilled, an apiculturalist notes.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:59 AM
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Tim likes to stream audio over the internet as he's falling asleep on his MacBook.

He should be careful not to break the MacBook when he falls asleep on it like that.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 5:20 AM
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Give me a break, ruprecht. Streaming on the internet. The computer is on a table. I was sleep-deprived when I wrote that.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 5:31 AM
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It's very cold outside, and I have to drive my kids to school. On the one hand, my novel will have to wait. My art! On the other hand, my beer will stay cold without refrigeration.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 5:38 AM
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156. Nah, the feminists will get Culture drones, which are much more useful for gentle correction.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 5:48 AM
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Beer will freeze here.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 6:30 AM
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We used to have that problem when I was in school. Because you can't legally have beer, you have to leave it in the car's trunk. Then it freezes. Then you have warm it up by spreading cans out on the dashboard and running the defrost. This makes accelerating quickly a dangerous thing.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 6:35 AM
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156: I know you are but what am I?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:29 AM
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A SAHD essay and not infuriating:

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/01/what-ruth-bader-ginsburg-taught-me-about-being-a-stay-at-home-dad/384289/

Could have called out their economic security a little more explicitly, though I thought it was clear enough.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 4:54 PM
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OT bleg: did Joan Didion ever write anything herself about Cesar Chavez and/or UFW in any of her California-centric essays (I know her husband wrote a book about the grape strike)?


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 5:07 PM
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I don't know but Caitlin Flanagan's essay on growing up during the UFW grape strike is very good and not at all trolly. And has that white-woman-in-the-Central-Valley Didion thing going for it.

(Anywhere else I would feel the need to note something about Flanagan's fitness to lick Didion's boots.)


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 5:23 PM
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