It’s Friday, which means the cognitive dissonance of having to work at a job you dislike—in order to pay rent on an apartment of which you are ashamed so that you can have enough money left over to buy products that only make you feel more empty—has probably reached such a shrieking pitch that you will spend the next four hours listlessly clicking at the internet just to numb yourself enough to forget the passage of time until six o’clock. TGIF, right guys? Me, I work in a closet. Even the most elementary theories of social justice dictate that I ease your pain somehow, so here are a bunch of links for you to stab at between coffee breaks, Facebook updates and specious trips to the bathroom.
But first, exciting news! Those of you who can hear my voice in forms other than Arial 80% gray know my frustration at certain limitations to Combat! blog engendered by the iWeb platform, not the least of which is our inability to participate in Digg or appear on Google. Starting this weekend—assuming I can execute a series of completely baffling technical maneuvers involving remote server configuration and jerry-rigged html conversions that I am in no way qualified to do—Combat! blog will become an independently-hosted site running on the WordPress platform. We’ll still be at www.combatblog.net, and changes to the site will be minimal. The formatting will look different and it will probably take me a while to figure out how to execute in WordPress the stunning graphic designs loyal Combat! readers have come to expect,* but we’ll also get ShareThis buttons and Google analytics and maybe, just maybe, more readers. Cross your fingers.
Now uncross your fingers and check out this review of the new Collected Stories of Raymond Carver, which will apparently include unedited versions of stories from the What We Talk About When We Talk About Love era. Those of you who are way, way too into creative writing probably know that Carver’s ultra-minimalist style—which is A) awesome and B) ruining graduate fiction workshops across America—has been increasingly attributed to his editor, Gordon Lish. Lish cut Carver’s stories mercilessly, particularly for What We Talk About, and in so doing contributed to one of the most distinct prose voices in contemporary literature. “Created” is another term bandied about, although that strikes me as playa hatin’. Whether the crediting of Lish at the expense of Carver is an example of overdue justice or of a critical culture jealously opposed to the notion of the author is for y’all to decide. Try not to be swayed by the knowledge that literature M.A.’s are complete tools.
Mistah Carver also makes an appearance in this article about literary drinkers and whether ending a destructive cycle of alcoholism is, like, good. The author, who is most definitely shilling for his book, makes the interesting argument that the value of authorial drinking varies with style. For Cheever and Carver, getting off the sauce seemed to help—for John Berryman and Steven King, not so much. Poets and guys who write really long sentence should apparently keep pounding whiskey.
On the lighter side of substance abuse, here’s an article about a homeless community under a bridge in Providence, Rhode Island that has a written compact governing its operation.* The organization of their mini-society is both communitarian—that’s why you guys are homeless! you’ve created a culture that doesn’t value individual initiative!—and eerily biblical, including a gay couple that lives “near some rocks where men go to urinate.” It’s an interesting read if you can get past the prose, which is a monument to Dan Barry’s writing really, really hard.
Finally, The Cure points out that I wasn’t the only person to to justify my use of advanced media technology to say the word “faggot” yesterday. Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin apologized for his description of a performance by Notre Dame as a “faggot dance.” You’re right—it doesn’t seem as rakishly funny when someone else does it.