Discover more from The Washington Review of Books
WRB–Mar. 2, 2022
Memesis, Music, McSweeney's, Moaners, etc.
Many readers have asked the Managing Editors if our classified ads [about which more is said at the bottom of this email] are real. The Managing Editors have never fabricated a classified ad, and all ads are, to the best of our knowledge, free from any factual errors.
To do list:
write your congressman and demand they with all their household subscribe to the WRB,
avail yourself of our world-famous classified ads, and, for technical reasons,
tell us the best sandwich you’ve ever had in D.C. here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joshua Landy takes strident issue with the theories of the Girardians.
Plough Quarterly has a new quarterly out, with a music theme. There’s Joey Keegin on Christian hardcore, and Peter Mommsen on the power of song. More on music: Ted Gioia has an interesting post about the decline of the band as the standard unit of recording artist.
The Managing Editors do not understand how the blockchain works, but they do think that The Verge has an amusing piece on the crypto-inflected saga of the auction of the working papers of Jodorowskyʼs failed Dune adaptation.
In the other Review o’Books [oh come on], Molly Crabapple celebrates, in Queens, what Managing Editors in your area are calling, to amuse themselves, “The literary equivalent of Cel-ray” [this is worse]: The Joy of Yiddish Books.
In The New Yorker, Louis Menand snarks on Bleak House and Charles Dickens’s personal indiscretions. [In classic Louis Menand fashion, he faults Dickens for not being Louis Menand. —Nic] And briefly for The New Criterion, Steve Morris rereads Hard Times.
Driftmania has reached the New York Times. The Managing Editors wonder if, like their predecessors at the Partisan Review, the editors of The Drift are scoring that sweet CIA cash [to which we are still open! —Chris]. Maybe we’ll find out at their issue launch event.
The Washington Football Team [no relation] may be moving to Virginia.
‘Freelance Isn’t Free’ Bill Introduced in New York State (Publisher’s Weekly) The WRB is proud to pay each freelancer associated with it a fair wage.
Courtesy of a reader: exhortations all over Brookland. We invite the writers of these urgent messages to take advantage of our unbeatable classifieds rates.
The Managing Editors dissed the transcendentalists last week. In penance, this week we’re offering Robert Gross’ history of their world to the first reader who writes in with the subject line “Transparent Eyeball.”
What we’re reading:
Chris’ only meaningful interactions with books since Saturday have been:
opening J R to a random page and laughing out loud in the Springfield, V.A., Barnes and Noble;
flipping through a copy of Anti-Oedipus and thinking “this seems really fun” (for which he is very sorry); and
admiring a friend’s set of Brian Boyd’s two-volume Nabokov biography.
Nic plowed through Stannard’s biography of Spark. He had the usual quibbles, but thinks these are maybe inherent to the “official biography” genre. [What happened to the 300-page life?]
One unbreakable rule of etiquette is that you must talk to your neighbors at a dinner table. You must; that is all there is about it!
from Emily Post’s Etiquette.
Paradoxes and Oxymorons by John Ashbery
This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level.
Look at it talking to you. You look out a window
Or pretend to fidget. You have it but you don’t have it.
You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other.
The poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot.
What’s a plain level? It is that and other things,
Bringing a system of them into play. Play?
Well, actually, yes, but I consider play to be
A deeper outside thing, a dreamed role-pattern,
As in the division of grace these long August days
Without proof. Open-ended. And before you know
It gets lost in the steam and chatter of typewriters.
It has been played once more. I think you exist only
To tease me into doing it, on your level, and then you aren’t there
Or have adopted a different attitude. And the poem
Has set me softly down beside you. The poem is you.
from Shadow Train
[Donald Barthelme was known to give his writing students the assignment: “Find a copy of John Ashbery’s Three Poems, read it, buy a bottle of wine, go home, sit in front of the typewriter, drink the wine, don’t sleep, and produce, by dawn, twelve pages of Ashbery imitation.” Tracy Daugherty reuses this anecdote in his biography of the late great and in this Z-shaped memorial issue of McSweeney’s Quarterly. In the introduction to that issue, Justin Taylor complains that there is no Library of America edition of Barthelme’s work. Happily, we no longer live in that dim past from which his sad words reach us. —Chris]
[I am making this for my houseguests tomorrow. —Chris]
The WRB Classifieds:
To place an ad, email email@example.com. Rates are 1¢ per word, per issue. Content is subject to the approval of the Managing Editors.
In NOVA: Young man, Christian, in finance, needs fiancée. 6ʼ3”. Byronic. Dog dad seeking dog mom. [Email WRB with subject line “Doggone It!”]
Literate + fit Christian girl, professional engineer in middle America (northwest Arkansas), is open to the idea of meeting marriage-worthy young man. [Email WRB with subject: “Lost in the Beau-zarks”]
Obscene poet seeks female audience to horrify. E.g.:
Roses are red,
This poem would be lewd,
But Helen insists
On Being a prude.
[Email WRB with subject: “Irascere Iterum Meis Iambis”]
Nice Christian girl wanted for nice Christian boy. Him: 25 y/o 6’2” homeowner. Seattle area. Her: Tall a plus. Ex athlete a plus. Must love kids. [Email WRB with subject: “Sleepless in Seattle”]
SEEKING: amateur interior designer to execute vision for an unfurnished apartment. Passion for vintage decor + the classics are a must. [Email WRB with subject: “Tasteful Talent”]
Columbia Heights Rowhouse (f125) seeks resident for one of six bedrooms (ideally m27+) to replace housemate pulled into Brookland’s gravitational field. Available immediately. Must love antics. [Email WRB with subject: “Egg and Dart Era”]
Aging millennial looking for a piano teacher near Fairfax. [Email WRB with subject: “Tickling the Ivories”]
Want to start a podcast but have no idea where to start? Contact podcast expert and Washington Review of Books reader Shadrach Strehle! One client called his rates “cheap,” and his work “exceptional.” But don’t take his word for it, try Shad yourself! For info and a consultation contact Shadrach Strehle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you love is afflicted with a syndrome known as “living in DC” or “considering living in DC,” tell them to talk to their doctor about reading The Girl’s Guide to DC. With just one weekly newsletter, you can get your fill of dating and career advice, DC news, and pop culture by clicking this link.
Critically acclaimed visionary filmmaker Joe Pappalardo demands you watch RODENT KING.
Pray the Rosary daily!