Thursday, August 17, 2006

The book meme. As tagged by Fluffy. Here are the rules of this meme:
  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 123.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
  6. Tag five people.
I am sorry, but I just can't bring myself to tag anyone. And I also am filled with a piquant combination of dismay and disgust as I reveal that the closest book to me was Issue 5 of Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, with its oh-so-whimsical "Simple Red Cover". I've railed before about how much I dislike McSweeney's. So it galls me intensely that as I looked around our small, vomit-smelling office (I think I've mostly got rid of the smell by throwing away the half-cup of tea that Penny forgot about several days ago and keeping the window open), I could not see many books.

There were comic books, design magazines in other languages that necessitate our entering our own press coverage into Babel Fish ("Small zeitungsformate become allegedly ever more popularer. In Australia, here a group from creative transverse philosophers to true large on admits itself not in such a way and shifts a three square meters large magazine."), newspapers that I haven't even got to read... and then Stuart's bookshelf, upon which sits a revolting collection of McSweeneyses. So it is that I bring you the following, which undoubtedly will blow your tiny minds and drive you straight to the tattooist to get Dave Eggers's face inscribed on your body.
In college I studied philosophy, because I still believed that you could understand the world by thinking about it. When that turned out not to be true I forgot most of what I'd read, but one thing stays with me, one moment: that part at the end of the Symposium where Socrates says, "Starting from individual beauties, the quest for the universal beauty must find you ever mounting the heavenly ladder, stepping from rung to rung -- that is, from one to two, and from two to every lovely body, from bodily beauty to the beauty of institutions," and so on. The heavenly ladder. What a beautiful idea that was: that, just by thinking about it, you could climb away from everything familiar, from the earth to the sky and up and up and up.
That was from "The Observers" by Paul LaFarge. Although there are many more egregious McSweeneys moments in the same volume, such as "Excerpt from the Rodney Rothman Underlined Holy Bible in Outline-Styled Small-Cap Italics" and "Excerpt from Rodney Rothman's 'Rollercoaster'", which consists entirely of "Wheeee..." and breaks off after one or two pages only to continue on random later pages. I will put this vile volume away now.

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