Inter Alia

February 28, 2008

Inter Alia #9: The Aquarian Age is All the Rage 2

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A few weeks back, in a review of Christopher Sorrentino’s Trance, I remarked upon the recent proliferation of novels about the counterculture of the 1960s and about its turn toward violence. The book reviews in this week’s New Yorker would seem to confirm the trend. The lead item in the “Briefly Noted” column concerns Susan […]

February 18, 2008

Inter Alia #8: Whither the Short Story? 10

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I.In the ongoing conversation about the future of literature, novelty is a rare thing. For at least forty years, American novelists and critics have been worrying about the fate of the novel – and of reading itself – and though the finer points of the argument have changed, the basic contours have stayed remarkably constant. […]

January 27, 2008

Inter Alia #7: Up, Obama, or Deja Vu in South Carolina 1

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This weekend, as part of a recent David Foster Wallace kick, I decided to revisit “Up, Simba,” an 80-page essay on John McCain and postmodern politics. On assignment for Rolling Stone, Wallace spent the final week of the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary embedded in the McCain campaign. McCain ended up losing to George W. […]

January 8, 2008

Inter Alia #6: DeWitt Goes Digital 9

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From anecdotal evidence, Radiohead’s In Rainbows experiment – distributing the album via website, on a “suggested donation” basis – seems to have been a success. As it begins to market In Rainbows through more orthodox channels – CD pressings, iTunes – the band remains mum about the total number of downloads and the average donation […]

August 31, 2007

Promoting the Book (Inter Alia #5) 2

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Last week, for the first time, I held in my hands a copy of my first book of fiction, A Field Guide to the North American Family. The experience is often likened to that of holding one’s firstborn child, and if the comparison seems hyperbolic in terms of intensity – this was more of a […]

August 15, 2007

Inter Alia #3: Master Blaster 1

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Piqued by Leon Wieseltier’s huffy take on James Wood’s exodus to The New Yorker, many commentators seemed to overlook the paper of record’s tacit endorsement of the proposition that Wood is “brutal,” blasting away at our frail eminences. Isn’t he that vicious British critic? an English professor recently asked me. In fact, Wood is anything […]

July 5, 2007

Inter Alia #2: George Packer and the Fetishization of Politics 11

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Generally, the appearance of a new in-house blog at one of the country’s major media organs arouses in me roughly the same degree of enthusiasm I feel when the Yankees sign yet another star free agent. Granted, there are some fine journalists doing casual posts for The Atlantic and The New York Times (and presumably […]

June 15, 2007

Inter Alia #1: Notes Toward a Sporadic Column 5

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I’m still working out my relationship with the blog as a critical organ… I guess, in a way, we all are. My thoughts, as visitors to this site may have noticed, tend equally toward the associative and the forensic. And yet, as a gift to you, the reader, I’d like to carve out a space […]

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