We in the humanities are in love with the archive. My readers already know that I am obsessed with archiving otherwise ephemeral social media. I've got multiple redundant systems for preserving my Twitter activity. I rely on the Firefox plugins Scrapbook and Zotero to capture any online document that poses even the slightest flight risk.… Continue reading The Archive or the Trace: Cultural Permanence and the Fugitive Text
A few weeks ago I was interviewed by the Chronicle of Higher Education for a story about the fake David Foster Wallace review in Modernism/Modernity. The Chronicle story is online and at least for the first week, not behind a paywall. I was in Spain at the time, so for the interview I had to… Continue reading Updates on David Foster Wallace review by Jay Murray Siskind
And finally, the wink and nod I've been looking for. Laurence Rainey, the editor of Modernism/Modernity, and Nicole Devarenne, the former managing editor of Modernism/Modernity, sent me this open letter today: An Open Letter to Mark Sample, We appreciate your recent remarks concerning a review essay about David Foster Wallace, one that appeared in late… Continue reading The truth behind Jay Murray Siskind’s review of David Foster Wallace
Jay Murray Siskind is Don DeLillo's only recurring character, having first appeared in DeLillo's pseudonymous Amazons and later as a kind of Mephistopheles character in White Noise. Now, Siskind has broken out of the realm of fiction and entered the real world. I am referring to "An Undeniably Controversial and Perhaps Even Repulsive Talent," a… Continue reading David Foster Wallace, Don DeLillo, and the Littlest Literary Hoax
Here's a CFP for conference panel on Don DeLillo and Play that I'm organizing: CFP: Don DeLillo and Play Sponsored by the Don DeLillo Society 2009 American Literature Association Conference Boston, Massachusetts, May 21-24, 2009 The groundbreaking work of Johan Huizinga and Roger Caillois suggests that play and games are a fundamental part of life,… Continue reading CFP: Don DeLillo and Play
I've never seen a more fitting description of a rowing machine than in Don DeLillo's Falling Man: There was no fitness center in his hotel. He found a gym not far away and worked out when there was time. No one used the rowing machine. He half hated the thing, it made him angry, but… Continue reading The Futility of Rowing
A while ago I posted a few pics of my cereal box wall. I still occasionally come across a cereal box worth photographing, even if it's not in wall form. Here is "Organic Wild Puffs"---one of the trippiest cereal boxes I've ever seen (larger version). Decorated in faux-Aztec imagery, the box suggests a cereal that… Continue reading Puff the Magic Cereal Box
So yesterday my wife, son, and I ventured for the first time into Kids-R-Us, home of the well-behaved toddler, destination of choice for the stark raving mad parent. Our visit deserves a separate post of its own (suffice it to say that it ended with the purchase of 100 plastic balls, each the size of… Continue reading Baby’s First ATM
"The more we rehearse disaster, the safer we'll be from the real thing.....There is no substitute for a planned simulation." So says a character in Don DeLillo's 1985 novel White Noise, as a midwestern town is overrun by men in Mylar suits, conducting a simulated evacuation from some vague chemical disaster. Yesterday we had out… Continue reading This is a test, this is only a test.
My Emergency Planning Calendar from the local nuclear power plant includes many helpful reminders, such as: Martin Luther King Day is January 17; March 20 is the first day of spring; Father's Day is right around the corner on June 19; July 5 sees the emergency siren test at 11:50 AM; And "there are four… Continue reading Warning!! Unusual Event!!
It's been 40 years since JFK's assassination. Still the conspiracies abound. My favorite take on the subject is Libra, Don DeLillo's novel about the life of Lee Harvery Oswald. DeLillo has also recently participated in an online Frontline forum about Kennedy's death. DeLillo calls the assassination "vintage American violence, lonely and rootless" -- the implicit… Continue reading 40 Years ago…