Caveat lector: This summer, I’ll be posting even more infrequently than usual (!), which is to say: about as often as Kohoutek comes around. I’ve got my head in the big, shaggy maw of a book-in-progress, and unlike those authors who roll over in their sleep and snore out a book a year, effortlessly, I labor mightily and bring forth a pellet maybe once every five years (if I’m lucky). My books aren’t so much written as accreted, forming at the speed of your average stalactite. (Sorry, can’t divulge the subject of this one until closer to my as yet unscheduled publication date. Hopefully, sometime this century…)
All of which is to say that I’ll be checking in only desultorily, so if you want to be pinged when I’ve posted, sign up for my mailing list.
In the meantime, more Advertisements for Myself:
Looks like I’ve attained a Warholian level of microfame via Wikipedia. Shovelware readers should feel free to take the Pepsi Challenge and hack the page, adding any information that seems relevant. Of course, the site’s editors will expunge any shameless editorializing or full-throated ranting.
Finally got a contributor’s copy of an anthology that came out last year, The Legacy of McLuhan, which includes my essay “The Mechanical Bridgeroom Stripped Bare: A Catechism of McLuhanism for Unbelievers.” It’s high-spirited bloodletting, in which I settle my Oedipal issues with the Father of Us All (or at least those of us who do media criticism).
In other news, I wrote a profile, for The New York Times “Styles” section, of the suitably saturnine underground cartoonist Mark Newgarden.
Teaser: “For most of his working life, Mr. Newgarden, 46, has been using the visual rhetoric of gag culture to plumb the dark places in the human psyche. His cartoons are absurdist valentines to the losers who knock themselves out trying to make people laugh: the alcoholic clowns, the painfully lame comedians, the no-talent cartoonists and especially the hack humorists who ground out joke books and magazines in the 1950’s and 60’s, the golden age of novelty-shop culture.”
Also, the June and July issues of PRINT and ID, respectively, feature articles by me. PRINT is publishing my essay on the Death—or not!—of Print, and ID is running my essay on the French banlieue (brutalist low-cost housing) as incubators—or not—of the social pathologies that gave rise to the recent immigrant riots and car-burnings throughout France. (Read it here if you’re too cheap to buy the damn thing, but be aware that the online version is a pale shadow of its sumptuous hardcopy self. And read it fast, before link rot sets in.)
Speaking of France, a Parisian start-up called Verity just ran a spirited (if somewhat linguistically fractured) Q&A with me. I’m in Al Gore-Inconvenient Truth-Mike Davis-Ecology of Fear–Day After Tomorrow-Eco-pocalyptic Jeremiah mode, in the last half. Sample: “My great worry that is even the rising tides won’t instill some sense of ‘planetary awareness’ in our Dear Leaders, to resurrect a moldering phrase from the eco-conscious ’70s. Do they have an escape plan, equal parts Doctor Strangelove and Silent Running? Are they planning to hit the eject button when the going gets tough and send their gated communities, well-staffed by small persons of a brownish hue, hurtling toward the stars, in search of new worlds to colonize? Somehow, we have to deny them that failsafe, and make them understand that, like it or not, we’re all in the same leaky little Poseidon lifeboat together.”
Diverting beach reading, as the polar caps melt and we move our beach chairs back, back, WAY back—say, about a mile inland…