Table of Contents

Introduction

A Chronological Sequence of Events re Tao Lin in Terms of Me

A Chronological Sequence of Events re ‘Richard Yates’ in Terms of Me

A Summary of [Certain Aspects] re ‘Richard Yates’

– Veganism

– Facial Expressions

– Using Celebrity Names as Name of Characters

– Having Sex With/Being Romantically Involved With a Person Who

Is Many Years Younger Than Oneself

– Shoplifting

– Suicide

– ‘Cutting’

– ‘Bulimia’

– Writing Aesthetic

– My Thoughts re Some Reviews re ‘Richard Yates’

– My Thoughts re Some ‘Blurbs’ re ‘Richard Yates’/Tao Lin

– My Thoughts re Every Contest Entry re 3x ‘Richard Yates’ Contest On Tao

Lin’s Blog

– A Comprehensive List Of Bands/Artists I Listened To While Reading ‘Richard

Yates’ & Writing/Editing This Review

– A Comprehensive List re Places/Dates/Times I Read ‘Richard Yates’

– Some Types Of People Who Might Like To Read ‘Richard Yates’

– Why I’ve Never Reviewed A Book Before, Why I’m Reviewing ‘Richard Yates’

Now, & Why I Most Likely Will Never Review A Book Again

– Conclusion

– [Other Relevant Links]

 

Introduction

Tao Lin (born July 2, 1983) is the author of five books of fiction and poetry.He is the author of two e-books and the co-author of two e-books.He has been published by myriad literary journals, both online and in print.He maintains a literary website via Blogger, a Twitter account, a Tumblr account, a Flickr photo stream, an art blog, and more.In November 2008, he founded the literary press Muumuu House (which has since published two books of poetry).He has his own iPhone application called ‘North American Hamsters’ (forthcoming, sometime).His second novel, ‘Richard Yates,’ is to be released September 7, 2010 by Melville House.

A Chronological Sequence of Events re Tao Lin in Terms of Me

When I was a sophomore in high school (fifteen or sixteen years old), my friend Richard Wehrenberg Jr. showed me bearparade.com.On that website, I read ‘Nosferatu’ by Noah Cicero.

Some time later, I was at my friend Kelly’s house and I showed her bearparade.com on her computer.She saw Tao Lin’s name and said, ‘Tao Lin?Like this Tao lin?’ and showed me the ‘Ass Hi Books’ website.I said something like, ‘I guess,’ not wanting it to be ‘this Tao Lin,’ because I think I didn’t like Kelly that much or something.I said something like, ‘I guess it has to be the same Tao Lin.Like, what are the chances of there being two Tao Lin’s?’We said some things about ‘Nosferatu’ by Noah Cicero.I said some things about politics and lemonade, or something.Kelly told me that she had a book by Tao Lin called ‘Eeeee Eee Eeee’ and that she would let me borrow it.She said something like, ‘I like Tao Lin.I think he basically just writes about how everything is meaningless.He is kind of weird, but I like him.’I said, ‘I don’t think it’s just like, about how everything is meaningless.Like, I think it’s about more than that or something.’I said that without ever having read anything by Tao Lin, wanting to ‘dominate’ her in the conversation, to make her feel bad, I think, or worse, about her assessment of ‘Eeeee Eee Eeee’ by Tao Lin.

Kelly later let me borrow ‘Eeeee Eee Eeee’ by Tao Lin.I read it mostly at school and in my bedroom, I think.I remember liking it.I remember thinking it was cool that Tao ‘name dropped’ the band ‘I Hate Myself.’I remember feeling able to ‘relate to’ the main characters life, to varying degrees.I remember really liking the part in ‘Eeeee Eee Eeee’ where like, ‘the president,’ like, an alien president or something, ‘goes on’ for two or so pages, talking about his worldview.I remember admiring how Tao seemed to ‘just’ ‘lay his worldview out there’ in a way that seemed very direct and easy to read, to me.I also remember reading a quote about how capitalism ‘directs peoples energies towards abstractions and not other people,’ or something, and feeling confused.I remember getting the general idea that capitalism, in his view, was bad, because of that reason, and I too ‘fucking hated’ capitalism, but not for that reason, then, I think.Overall, I really enjoyed reading ‘Eeeee Eee Eeee.’

At some point, an interaction occurred between my eighth grade English teacher and me re the bearparade.com version of ‘Eat When You Feel Sad’ by Zachary German.I, in my memory and in conversation, have often attributed this to my ‘coming across’ Tao Lin, forgetting about [situations I have just written about before this].The first time I met Noah Cicero, this is how I told him I came across writing on the internet.I can’t remember if I told this to Tao or not.Seems like an honest ‘lapse in memory,’ though, not like I was lying, or something.I mean, I guess I was technically lying, but not… on purpose, I don’t know.

At some point, still in my sophomore year of high school, my girlfriend at the time showed me an article in Nylon Magazine that featured Muumuu House (Tao Lin’s publishing company) and the authors affiliated with it. I remember seeing that Brandon Scott Gorrell’s book recommendation was “Less Than Zero” by Bret Easton Ellis and that Noah Cicero’s was [something] by Richard Wright.I remember thinking some things about the person who was pictured as Ellen Kennedy’s ‘Burger King’ t-shirt, and about how Zachary German looked.

At some point, my friend Mallory ordered ‘Bed’ by Tao Lin.I read it and I liked it a lot.I remember thinking it was cool that Tao ‘name dropped’ Leftover Crack in one of his stories.I also remember thinking things about how Tao seemed to be a vegan.

At some point, I read some things on the Muumuu House website and other things that were available for free online by authors such as Tao Lin, Noah Cicero, Ellen Kennedy, Brandon Scott Gorrell, and Zachary German.

At some point, I wrote, on a ‘scrap’ sheet of paper during study hall, a ‘manifesto,’ to some degree, about “copying Tao Lin and/or [anyone else.”It essentially said things, in a ‘profound seeming way,’ perhaps, to the effect of ‘either everyone is copying everyone or no one is copying anyone, or both, or something.’

Last summer, the summer going into my junior year in high school, I created www.smokingonanemptystomach.blogspot.com and [email protected]

I think that Miles Ross, a ‘Muumuu House’ associate/author, to some degree, was the first person to comment on my blog.He said that my blog ‘seemed sweet so far.’He commented again saying he ‘liked the post I deleted.’I remember having read Mile’s ‘selected tweets’ on the ‘Muumuu House’ website, having enjoyed them thoroughly, and having felt happy that he commented on my blog.

At some point, Brandon Scott Gorrell and I started e-mailing and Gmail chatting, after I text messaged him saying that I liked his book.

At some point, David Fishkind and I started Gmail chatting, and he said some things about Tao and how he like, talked to Tao or something, or was friends with him, and I thought that that was cool.

At some point, Zachary German, a ‘Muumuu House’ accosicate/author, to some degree, and I started Gmail chatting.

At some point, I remember telling somebody that I thought it was weird that Tao and I hadn’t Gmail chatted yet.I said “hi” to Tao twice on Gmail chat and recieved no response.

One night, while drinking with my friend David, I Gmail chatted Tao, not expecting a response.Tao responded and we talked from the hours of ~2 a.m. until ~4 a.m. or something like that, I think.

‘From then on,’ Tao and I Gmail chatted ‘off and on,’ usually, ‘to this day,’ in ‘spurts,’ to some degree, of frequently Gmail chatting and infrequently e-mailing and vice-versa.I remember specifically a period of time re frequent chatting where we’d, almost nightly, in my memory, or every other night, perhaps, discuss “pretty girls being/seeming ‘out of reach,’” repeatedly saying things like, “pretty girls seem out of reach” and [other things about girls and the phrase “out of reach”].

I remember a group Gmail chat with Tao, Victoria Trott (a ‘Muumuu House’ associate/author, to some degree), and Brandon Scott Gorrell, that seemed ‘really sweet.’

I remember a group Gmail chat with Tao, Zachary German, Carles (of Hipster Runoff), Bebe Zeva, and other people, I think, on New Year’s Eve.

I met Tao, David Fishkind, Miles, and Zachary in physical reality during March 2010.

I am going to New York City on August 5th re chilling with them again.

Seems sweet.

A Chronological Sequence of Events re ‘Richard Yates’ in Terms of Me

At some point, I read that Tao Lin sold shares to his second novel, to be entitled, ‘Richard Yates,’ on, I think, Tao’s website.

At some point, I listened to an interview on BBC radio, via Tao’s muxtape account, in which Tao explained, to some degree, why he sold shares to ‘Richard Yates,’ who purchased shares, and [other things about other things, sometime pertaining to ‘Richard Yates’].In the recording I listened to of the interview, after Tao said goodbye (the interview, assumingly, was conducted over the telephone), one of the radio show hosts ‘erupted’ in laughter, making a noise like he was ‘releasing something he had been “holding in” for a period of time and was now able to release [aforementioned “thing”],’ saying that Tao was “great” and ‘like Bukowski.’The radio show host said some very positive things about Tao before and after mimicking Tao’s monotone voice.

For a period of time, I saw various references to ‘Richard Yates’ on various websites.

At dinner, while I was in New York City, Tao said some things to me about ‘Richard Yates.’He said some things to me about his publisher feeling ‘personally offended’ re the main character, who is 22, dating a 16 year old.Tao said something like, ‘I feel like if I was going to like, go to Harper Perennial or something it seems I should just like, kill myself or something,’ while grinning and looking at his food.

At some point, on Gmail chat, Tao mentioned ‘Richard Yates’ to me on, according to my Gmail archives, ~17 occasions, saying, “i have the cover for ‘richard yates,’ seems bleak…like i should kill myself…”and “going to work on ‘ry’ / good night bro.”

At some point, I received stickers of the cover of ‘Richard Yates,’ some poems printed on what seemed to be colored construction paper, and [other things omitted for certain reasons] from Tao.While playing a show at ‘The Monster House’ in Columbus, Ohio, my friend Mallory placed a ‘Richard Yates’ sticker on my friend Richard’s bookshelf next to books by Noam Chomsky, Bob Torres, and Michel Foucalt.She took a picture of it.

On July 19, I received a galley of ‘Richard Yates’ (a draft printed on computer paper) after e-mailing with Tao and establishing that I would review it on ‘The Nervous Breakdown.’On the top of the first page of ‘Richard Yates,’ in Tao’s handwriting, “Richard Yates / by Tao Lin, 7.16.10” was written, an upside down cross replacing the ‘I’ in ‘Richard’ and a ‘right-side-up’ cross replacing the ‘T’ in ‘Yates.’Tao sent the galley to Mallory, for some reason, the envelope reading ‘Jordan Castro c/o M.A.W.’ Mallory and I conversed for ~30-100 seconds, saying that we did not know what ‘c/o’ meant.I said some things, saying I felt excited about reading ‘Richard Yates.’Mallory said some things, saying she felt excited about reading ‘Richard Yates.’

A Summary of [Certain Aspects] re ‘Richard Yates’

Veganism

Veganism is mentioned throughout ‘Richard Yates’ in the same way it was mentioned throughout ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel,’ in my view, in that ‘veganism’ as a concept, or an ‘ideological framework,’ so to speak, is never addressed by anyone in the book explicitly.Instead, veganism seems to be more of a ‘complimentary detail,’ ‘making appearances’ in sentences like, “”I told her you were an autistic vegan and she said ‘autistic vegans can still rape people.’””and “In the shower he thought about organic fair-trade vegan chocolate nut bars he had been stealing from Whole Foods every day.”This seems like a logical choice by Tao, in my view, to have veganism ‘surface’ like this throughout ‘Richard Yates,’ due to the majority of everything in both ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ and ‘Richard Yates’ being expressed through external situations/circumstances and short, direct, literal sentences.

In a two-hour-long ‘feature-length indie film,’ created by Mallory and I, in which we discuss ‘Richard Yates’ at ‘much length,’ I say something about how it is possible that the two main characters in ‘Richard Yates’ think of veganism as ‘beneficial’ or ‘good’ (as expressed through their external choices in concrete reality) due to the positive health affects of eating vegan foods.The books deals with, to some degree, obesity, trying to lose weight, and ‘trying to exercise self-control over oneself in various situations/circumstances.’The characters seem to choose vegan foods in an effort to (depending on which character) lose weight, maintain health, and/or exercise self-control over his/herself for [some reason, perhaps].It could also be inferred that, based on the large amount of drawings of animals and stuffed animals referenced throughout the book, that the two main characters care about and like animals enough to not eat them.

My personal subjective opinion re veganism: I have ‘been a vegan’ since eighth grade.I initially ‘went vegan’ after watching videos online of animals being slaughtered in slaughterhouses and ‘pledging’ with my friend Aaron to ‘be vegan, even though we can pretty much only eat crackers.’ Reading the book, “Making a Killing: The Political Economy of Animal Rights” by Bob Torres seemed to be a notable ‘turning point’ re my understanding of veganism.In my current way of thinking, veganism is ‘good’ because it reduces physical pain and suffering in the world, while increasing my physical well-being.I also understand veganism as a means of eliminating, in a very direct and tangible way, ‘hierarchies’ from my life that, I feel, directly effect [other sentient beings] via physical pain and death.It also seems fine to ‘not be a vegan’ too, like, if veganism doesn’t make sense re ones personal context/goals or something.I don’t know.It does sort of seem, in my view, like any living person would logically conclude that veganism is ‘good,’ via recognizing that, ‘obviously,’ because one is choosing to remain alive, one feels that ‘life is desirable,’ to enough of a degree to ‘remain alive,’ and ‘should’ therefore try to act only in ways that allow the most life to the most living organisms possible, or something.If not for that reason then it seems logical, in my view, to at least choose to adapt a vegan diet due to the scientific fact that it potentially (unless one dies via ‘unnatural causes’) allows one to live for a longer period of time than if one chose to eat meat and/or dairy products.‘In conclusion,’ veganism seems ‘really good,’ in my view and I like how Tao mentions it in his writing.

Facial Expressions

The phrase ‘facial expression’ is used in ‘Richard Yates’ exactly 80 times.

I have read in reviews, ‘shit-talking’ comments, and [other places on the internet] that [certain people] do not like Tao’s use, or anyone’s use, of the phrase ‘facial expression.’Someone once told me on Gmail chat that I ‘shouldn’t use the phrase “facial expression” because that is Tao’s thing.’

Here is a list of the different types of facial expressions in ‘Richard Yates,’ via the index in the back of ‘Richard Yates.’

In my view, a facial expression is a very complicated thing.For me, as ‘someone who suffers from “social anxiety/[other emotional dysfunctions],”’ controlling the muscles in my face is something I often become aware of very frequently.It is interesting, in my view, how and when Tao chooses to mention a character’s facial expression.In my experience, Tao saying what facial expression [certain character] was displaying at [certain time] in [certain situation/circumstance] can serve the purpose of anything from illustrating ‘[emotion/feeling/thought]’ to ‘causing the reader to laugh.’

Here are some examples of the phrase “facial expression” used in ‘Richard Yates,’ what ‘purpose’ I felt they served, to me, and how I reacted internally/externally.

The man in the orange shirt was on the other side of the bridge walking in the opposite direction, toward Ming Moon, with a serious facial expression. In this instance, I think that the mentioning of ‘the man in the orange shirt’s facial expression was used to convey feelings of sarcasm and absurdity in [specific situation], ‘lighten the mood,’ and cause the reader to laugh.Internally, I [did whatever I do before and during laughter].Externally, I laughed quietly.

She looked at his face with a worried facial expression.In this instance, I think that the mentioning of [character]’s facial expression was used to convey the emotion of [character].Internally, I felt maybe a little emotional – sympathetic, or something.Externally, I stared with a serious facial expression at paper.

Haley Joel Osment said his girlfriend was 17 and his guide’s facial expression changed a little.In this instance, I think that the mentioning of ‘his guide’s facial expression was used to convey that something internally had changed within ‘his guide,’ causing it to become noticeable/visible via ‘his guide’s face.Internally, I felt some brief, vaguely negative feelings towards ‘his guide.’Externally, I stared with a serious facial expression at paper.

Often, in ‘Richard Yates,’ a character does something with a neutral facial expression.Neutral facial expressions seem, in many instances, especially re the two main characters, to illustrate a mild-extreme detachment from [character’s] thoughts/feelings/[things happening around (character)].

My personal subjective opinion re facial expressions: described above, to some degree.

Using Celebrity Names as Names of Characters

In a collaborative e-book written by Tao Lin and Kendra Grant Malone, entitled ‘Connor Oberst Sex,’ the main character’s name is Connor Oberst.In the poetry book, ‘sometimes my heart pushes my ribs’ by Ellen Kennedy (Muumuu house, 2009), there are stories with characters named Ned Vizzini, Woody Allen, and Norm Macdonald. In an e-book written by Brandon Scott Gorrell, entitled ‘Nervous Assface,’ the main characters names are Lydia Davis and Richard Yates.In ‘Eeeee Eee Eeee,’ Tao Lin’s first novel, there is a minor character named Elijah Wood.In ‘Richard Yates,’ Tao Lin’s second novel, the two main characters are named Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning.

Some time ago, I think I read an interview with Tao somewhere on the internet in which he explains why he likes to use celebrity names as names of characters in his writing.I remember him saying that maybe he does it because he thinks it is funny.I can’t remember anything else, or any other reasons from any interview or [any interaction] I’ve had with Tao, about why he likes to use celebrity names as names of characters in his writing.

Personally, I don’t think the names of the characters in ‘Richard Yates’ affected my reading of the book at all.I did not imagine the celebrities as I was reading their names.Mostly, I did not imagine anyone concretely, I don’t think, but when I did, I imagined Tao as Haley Joel Osment.I, for [certain reasons], imagined Dakota Fanning’s mother as a slightly obese African American woman.I imagined Dakota Fanning to be white and ‘not “very obese,” but “mildly overweight.”’

Perhaps, if anything, the use of celebrity names created a sense of detachment from the more ‘serious aspects’ of ‘Richard Yates,’ due to, I would imagine, feelings of sarcasm/[other feeling ‘like sarcasm’] is one were to actually imagine the celebrities whose names were used as the characters in the book.

On ~2-5 occasions, I have ‘caught myself’ wondering if ‘the real’ Haley Joel Osment or Dakota Fanning would ever read ‘Richard Yates,’ immediately ‘shoving aside’ or dismissing my thoughts as ‘really stupid, or something.’On ~1-3 of the occasions, I think I knew prior to wondering if ‘the real’ Haley Joel Osment or Dakota Fanning would ever read ‘Richard Yates,’ that I ‘didn’t want’ to wonder what I was going to wonder, or think what I was going think, but still wondered/thought it, in a manner like I was ‘testing myself’ or [something].

Repeatedly moving my cursor over my minimized Gmail screen, seeing “Gmail – Inbox – [email protected]” each time, ‘to my dismay.’

My personal subjective opinion re using celebrity names as names of characters: described above, to some degree.

Having Sex With/Being Romantically Involved With a Person Who Is Many

Years Younger Than Oneself

In ‘Richard Yates,’ Haley Joel Osment is 22 years old when he becomes romantically involved with Dakota Fanning, who is 16 years old at the time.

Dakota Fanning’s mother is upset about the difference in age.

At some point, when Haley is with ‘his guide’ (Haley is at a beachside restaurant), Haley tells ‘his guide’ that his girlfriend is 17 years old and ‘his guide’s facial expression changes (see ‘facial expressions’ above).

Though the book never ‘delves into’ or ‘explores’ the topic explicitly, it can be assumed, based on the actions of Haley Joel Osment, that he believes the difference in age between himself and Dakota Fanning to be unimportant.

It is mentioned that Dakota Fanning has had previous love-interests who were older than her.This could mean many things about Dakota – that she is exclusively interested in older men, that she doesn’t care about age and has ‘simply’ happened to feel attracted to the personalities and [other traits] of those men who were older than her, she ‘simply’ wants to ‘spite’ her mother, or [any other thing].

My personal subjective opinion re having sex with/being romantically involved with a person who is many years younger than oneself:In my view, having sex/being romantically involved with a person who is many years younger than oneself is no different than having sex/being romantically involved with a person who is the same age as or many years older than oneself.Objectively speaking, age does not mean, or have anything to do with, anything other than age.Age does not inherently ‘mean’ ‘wise’ or ‘mature’ or ‘educated’ or [any other abstraction], thought I guess, technically, age and years and days and hours and minutes and seconds are abstractions, to a large degree, except for like, ‘year’ meaning [the cycle thing that the Earth and Sun ‘complete then start over’ after 365.25 days or something] and days and hours and minutes and seconds being ‘measurements’ of ‘time’ re ‘the cycle thing.’I think that, still, those things ‘qualify’ as abstractions re they can’t be touched or seen or anything like that, and they are, objectively, concepts created by humans.It is in this way that ‘age’ could not possibly inherently mean ‘good,’ ‘bad,’ ‘smart,’ etc, or [anything besides ‘age’].

Shoplifting

In ‘Richard Yates,’ Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning frequently shoplift.They shoplift things like vitamins, floss, and a Richard Yates novel.

At some point, Dakota Fanning steals eight dresses from American Apparel.

Haley Joel Osment steals other things.

In Tao’s other books, shoplifting is a common theme.In ‘Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy,’ his second book of poetry, he explains his philosophy re ‘why it is okay to shoplift from publicly owned corporations.’He writes, The function of a publically-traded company is to increase it’s worth so that stockholders will have more money now than before.A publically-traded company must increase profits or convince the hamster population that profits will increase soon or else it will exist less, then not exist. / When one publically-traded company loses business another publically-traded company gains the business. / An independently-owned company is not existentially require to increase profits, but can use profits to increase wages, improve quality, lower prices, fund charities, or institute money-losing but socially-beneficial programs such as ends in themselves rather than means for increasing profits.”

My personal subjective opinion re shoplifting:My philosophy re shoplifting is similar to Tao’s, in that I think that shoplifting from publicly-owned companies/corporations is morally ‘okay,’ ‘good’ even, given my arbitrary context and assumptions, and that shoplifting from a locally-owned business is not morally ‘okay’ or ‘good.’I don’t like capitalism at all and I don’t like ‘big business’ at all, I guess.I think shoplifting is a ‘good’ thing.In 7th grade I got arrested for stealing a ‘Three Six Mafia’ CD from ‘The Exchange.’I also had a stolen iPod and ~$130 stolen dollars in my bag at the time of my arrest, but the police could not prove that I had stolen the iPod or the money so I got to take the iPod home with me and received the $130 after my year of probation was over.In 9th grade or the beginning of 10th grade I used to sometimes ‘correct’ people, saying that “shoplifting” was actually “liberating,” or something.The most recent thing I have ‘shoplifted’ was iron-vitamins from Giant Eagle for Mallory because she is ‘borderline’ iron deficient.

Suicide

Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning repeatedly say that they are going to kill themselves.At some point, Dakota Fanning says that she is going to kill herself and Haley Joel Osment tells her to kill herself by putting her neck on the railroad and letting a train run over her neck.Dakota Fanning goes to the railroad tracks.

My personal subjective opinion re suicide: I think that, in my experience, most people who I know who have said that they ‘wanted to die/kill themselves’ ‘really’ ‘just’ wanted a major change in their life.I think that, in my experience, I have never ‘actually’ wanted to die or kill myself, seeing as I never actually killed myself, but I couldn’t mentally figure out ‘what it was I wanted’ or ‘how to fix my life problems,’ so I just reacted to things by thinking, ‘I want to die.’I still frequently think variations of the thoughts ‘I want to die,’ ‘I hate my life,’ ‘I hate myself,’ etc, but I think that I always feel ‘mildly-severely detached’ when these thoughts ‘occur,’ often times thinking them in a ‘non-sequitur-ish’ manner while doing things like brushing my teeth or working on writing.

I guess, in my view, if one kills themselves, it is okay, or something, for them, but I think a lot of the time the person who kills themselves ‘loved ones’ feel ‘bad’ or experience various forms of ‘abstract pain,’ which, to a degree, is ‘selfish’ of the person who kills themselves; however, I guess, technically, to a degree, it is up to [anyone else besides the person who kills themselves] to decide how to feel about the person killing themselves.

‘Cutting’

Cutting is defined by www.dictionary.com as ‘the act of a person or thing that cuts.’In ‘Richard Yates,’ the person cutting is Dakota Fanning and she is cutting herself.Dakota Fanning mentions cutting her chest, her breasts, her stomach, and more.She also cuts organic tempeh.

In the book, ‘cutting’ seems like less of a suicide attempt and more of a [something else].Dakota Fanning says she sometimes cut herself before masturbating.I think I read in an interview with Sam Pink that he used to, or still does, the same thing.

My personal subjective opinion re ‘cutting’:I think that, in my view, ‘cutting’ in an attempt to do anything other than kill oneself is ‘bad.’I think that, though it is not desirable to me, at this point and time, cutting oneself and successfully killing oneself is different and ‘better,’ to a degree, than cutting oneself ‘simply’ to ‘inflict pain’ on oneself.I think that, if one is alive, and not in the act of killing his/herself immediately, then, whether they cognitively recognize it or not, they have an interest in being alive and honestly feel like ‘life is desirable.’I think that the logical extension, or ‘next step,’ after realizing that one thinks that life is desirable, is to act in ways only that allow all other living things (sentient beings) the ‘highest quality’ of life, for the longest amount of time, including oneself.I don’t think ‘cutting’ does this.I can understand how cutting oneself can feel like a ‘rush,’ or something, but so can like, smoking crack or ‘beating the shit out of someone,’ which are both, I think, objectively, not life-affirming for all parties involved.‘Cutting’ seems bad.

‘Bulimia’

Throughout the novel, Dakota Fanning struggles with seemingly ‘uncontrollable’ binge eating, throwing up, and lying to Haley Joel Osment about binge eating and throwing up.This elicits feelings of ‘extreme sympathy,’ ‘please stop lying to me,’ and ‘wanting to help Dakota and not be “mean” to her anymore, ever’ within Haley Joel Osment.

My personal subjective opinion re ‘bulimia’: Bulimia seems bad, to me, I guess.It seems like I don’t really know much about it, and I don’t know whether or not it’s something one can ‘actually control.’It seems like maybe one can control it, or something, to some degree.I don’t know.I don’t really know anything about it.Seems pretty bad.

Writing Aesthetic

I have always liked Tao’s writing aesthetic.I like the style of ‘Richard Yates.’I like that, in my view, Tao’s writing aesthetic changes, to some degree, as each of his books or [other writing] is released, which seems ‘only natural’ or ‘inevitable,’ to varying degrees, I guess.For example, the style in ‘Bed’ seems different, to a large degree, ‘on the surface,’ than the style in ‘Richard Yates.’I like that the language Tao chooses to use in all of his books is simple, clear, and accessible to a large amount of people.I like that Tao uses scare-quotes.I like that Tao chooses to use mostly ‘concrete’ words, speaking literally as opposed to using abstractions.I like that in Tao’s writing, content seems to matter, or something, not matter, I’m not sure of what word I’m trying to think of… his style seems to be ‘dictated’ by the content, or something, to some degree.

I think one of Tao’s goals re ‘Richard Yates’ was to convey the meaning of any given [situation/feeling/action/(anything)] in the most literal, clear, and direct manner possible.I think that Tao achieved this goal, to a large degree.The sentences in ‘Richard Yates’ are very literal, clear, and direct.In my experience, the effect of the sentences being written in this style was an easy, fluent reading of the novel, as the ‘staccato’ sentences created a sort of rhythmic feeling in my brain.I also think that, given ‘the way Tao is’ and ‘the way Tao assesses, in my experience, situations/circumstances,’ the tone and style with which ‘Richard Yates’ was written in is appropriate.I think that many people, in my experience talking to them or reading what they have written about Tao, understand Tao’s ‘deadpan’ voice and/or short, direct sentences as being ‘depressing’ or ‘[some other feeling like depressing].’I don’t understand Tao’s writing as ‘depressing’ or ‘[any other feeling like depressing],’ as I feel, in my experience, similar to Tao re ‘how we assess/perceive situations/circumstances, cognitively and emotionally.’I think Tao’s books, including ‘Richard Yates,’ are ‘life-affirming’ in that they have inspired me to want to both ‘live’ and write, to varying degrees.

I also think that Tao’s choice to construct sentences as he did in ‘Richard Yates’ is ‘good,’ given my arbitrary notion of ‘good,’ because it allows for the reader to draw conclusions, or to perceive any [situation/feeling/action/(anything)] however they would like to, re connotations or opinions, due the objective language that Tao uses.It has no rhetoric, which is, to me, desirable.

Though Tao’s style is different, to some degree, in all of his books, I think that all of it could accurately be called ‘minimalism.’Minimalism, to me, means that there are no ‘unnecessary’ details or [anything].It is in this way that I feel like ‘Bed,’ ‘despite its Lorrie Moore esque style,’ is minimalist, and similar to ‘Richard Yates.’Nothing feels like excess.

I also think that it is also ‘good,’ in my view, that Tao uses language that most literate people would be able to understand.I read in a review, I think, somewhere on the internet, that one of Tao’s goals was to write books that ‘even a 40-year-old employee who works at K-Mart and never went to college’ would be able to understand/appreciate.If that is one of his Tao’s goals, I think that he accomplished it, to a large degree.I am now wondering if, in the interview I think I remember reading, he was stating one of his goals or explaining why ‘K-Mart Realism’ was called ‘K-Mart realism.’I’m pretty sure it was one of his goals though, I don’t know.

Tao uses some scare-quotes in ‘Richard Yates.’ In my experience, Tao’s writing (as well as many other writers’ writing) has received much criticism for using scare-quotes in his writing.Many people use the word ‘gimmick’ while explaining, usually to a ‘weirdly unspecific’ degree, their aversion towards scare-quotes.Here is a tweet about scare-quotes.In my current way of thinking, I think, if ones goal is to decrease the amount of non-sarcastic abstractions used in ones writing, that scare-quotes are a ‘good’ literary device re illustrating some degree of self-awareness re using an abstraction or a word/phrase one wouldn’t normally use non-sarcastically.

In Tao’s writing, and, I think, all of the writing that I enjoy reading, the content seems to be ‘the only “important” thing’ to me, as long as I can understand the language being used.The content in ‘Richard Yates’ seems good to me, because, in my view, it is interesting, emotional, relatable, funny, life affirming, and intelligent.It seems weird to me that so many people/reviewers seem to talk mainly about, in conversations/reviews, Tao’s ‘gimmicks,’ ‘promotional stunts,’ surface-level style, and [other things unrelated to content].It just seems, to me, like Tao is utilizing a style that ‘might as well’ be called, ‘write what you want to write in the most logical way, “logical way” meaning the way that is easiest to understand, or something.’

‘Richard Yates’ is ‘minimalist and raw.’

Preface to my review of reviews, blurbs, essays, and Gmail chats

I do not unsarcastically ‘believe’ [any subjective sentiment] to be ‘true’ or ‘untrue,’ ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’  It is a fact that two people can read the same thing and feel differently, which means that, ‘obviously,’ the thing being read has no inherent ‘value’ or [anything].  One’s assessment of the things I write about below is, in my view, equally as valid as what I have written.  My goal was not to ‘personally offend’ or ‘suck anyone’s “dick.”‘  My goal was to write about what I thought about certain things at the time when I was writing about them.  I think I accomplished this goal, to some degree.  Thank you.

My Thoughts re Some Reviews re ‘Richard Yates’

HTMLGIANT Review

I read the first half of the first paragraph of this review and then my eyes became unfocused and my mind ‘went blank,’ to some degree.I re-read the first paragraph.Seems interesting to start the review in this way.I feel like it is objectively untrue that “one would expect, going in, that the scandal which supposedly holds the weight of the novel would actually sustain itself as a scandal.”I rarely read reviews of books unless they are written by my friends, re most reviewers saying things like [quote in previous sentence].It seems ‘bad,’ in my view, to state subjective truths, or personal experiences, or [anything that isn’t an objective truth] as an objective truth.

In the second paragraph, the first part of the first sentence says “…at least in my reading,” which I like and appreciate.I am reviewing this review as I am reading this review. ‘On to the second part of the first sentence of the second paragraph.’

I like and agree with the whole second paragraph, which I guess is one sentence.

I don’t think, if I understand it correctly, that I agree with the third paragraph, to almost any degree.In my view, which is, I guess, equally as arbitrary as Alec Niedenthal’s view, don’t think that Haley Joel Osment’s thoughts, feelings, words, or actions were rooted in ‘simply’ wanting to “police” Dakota Fanning’s life.I think that Haley Joel Osment genuinely cared about Dakota Fanning, but do to [certain emotional ‘(something)s’] it ‘came out’ or ‘manifested in the form of [thought/feeling/action]’ in a way that could possibly seem [something besides ‘caring’] to someone.I think that, based on my memory of the content of ‘Richard Yates,’ all of Haley Joel Osments “lecturing” (as Haley Joel Osment ‘put it’ in many e-mails/Gmail chats) or “policing” (as Alec Niedenthal ‘put it’ in the HTMLGIANT review) were, in my view, rooted in feelings of wanted to help Dakota Fanning achieve her goals and assess situations/circumstances/’her life’ rationally.I think, as opposed to “…[Haley Joel Osment’s] Dakota is only himself,’ that ‘Haley Joel Osment’s Dakota’ is Dakota, but he wants her to be ‘a Dakota who perceives/understands her goals and acts in concrete reality in a manner that allows her to achieve those goals,’ because perhaps he thinks she wants to be this Dakota, or because Dakota actually does want to be this Dakota.

I am now questioning my assessment of whether of not Haley Joel Osment was “policing” Dakota Fanning.I was thinking that, in my view, police generally do not help people, but Haley Joel Osment wanted to help Dakota Fanning, but now am thinking that maybe some, or a lot, of police want to help people, but do not or can’t in fundamental ways, and the same maybe ‘goes for’ Haley Joel Osment.I don’t know.

I don’t know what “twee” means.I don’t know re fourth paragraph.Seems dramatic.I’m unsure if, as the review states, Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning were to become ‘the end of each other,’ because, as far as I know, neither of them ‘ended,’ or like, died, or something, as a result of the other person.I agree that ‘Richard Yates’ seems vaguely, to some degree, in some parts, ‘heartbreaking.’This paragraph seems to state many subjective truths as if they were objective truths, which I don’t like.

I like and agree with the whole last paragraph.

Overall rating:7/10.Some parts seemed ‘good,’ others ‘bad.’I disliked the phrasing of subjective sentences.I liked the length.

Alt Report Coverage

I don’t regularly read ‘HIpster Runoff’ or ‘The Alt Report.’‘Carles’ coverage re ‘Richard Yates’ seemed okay.The length of the post was good.

Re “Not sure if ‘book releases’ are the same as ‘album releases,’” I think they are… I can’t think of a difference between the products being released.

Re “Will this book’s title be as ‘catchy’/meme-worthy/alt-appealing as Shoplifting from American Apparel?” I think yes, but for a difference kind of ‘alt-audience.’I think, whereas ‘Shoplifting from American Apparel’ was intended to, or perhaps ‘just did,’ ‘entice’ hipsters or [people who like stealing or shopping at American Apparel], or something, ‘Richard Yates’ could ‘work in the same way’ but with people who are interested in literature or in Richard Yates books.

In the comments section of this post, David Fishkind wrote, “does tao lin’s mom pronounce his name ‘tao rin.’”

Someone wrote that they haven’t read Tao Lin but that he is ‘one of [his/her] favorite writers.’

Tao Lin commented, ‘bros…’

Overall rating: 8/10.Had ‘no rhetoric,’ and was brief, which I prefer in most writing, I think.No, I don’t know, I think long things are okay if I like them, I don’t know.I didn’t like the font size of the post or that the page felt ‘cluttered with shit,’ in my view, to some degree.I think this post was probably ‘good’ for Tao because I think The Alt Report gets a lot of hits.I don’t think I disliked anything about the content of the post.

David Fishkind Review

I liked reading David Fishkind’s review of ‘Richard Yates.’

It seems interesting, to me, that David’s girlfriend initially ‘introduced’ him to Tao Lin’s writing.I felt interested in reading about where he read [various books].I like that David has sentences like, “he seemed funny and good…” It seems ‘good’ and relatable, to me, to think of things like that.

I did not know that ‘Richard Yates’ was originally scheduled to be released in September 2009.I did not know that the release date was ‘pushed back’ so much.

I think that the sentence, “i assumed ‘richard yates’ would have a yellow cover and a picture of an animal,” is funny.

Initially, upon reading David’s review, I thought things about how I thought David might have been ‘annoying’ Tao, to some degree, re asking him for ‘Richard Yates’ so frequently.Now, I seem to not think that, or feel that way, or something.It seems natural to ‘want it that bad’ after such a long time waiting to read the book.Also, it seems like Tao never ‘didn’t want to give David a copy.’I think I ‘misunderstood’ the interactions between David and Tao, and also ‘misunderstood’ when they took place, or something.

I like and agree with the sentence, “the conversations, emails, and physical interactions that take place between the two are so honest, engaging, and ‘dare i say’ ‘raw.’”I think “‘dare i say’ ‘raw’” is funny.

I like and agree with the second to last paragraph.

Overall Rating:10/10.I felt interested the entire time I was reading David Fishkind’s review of ‘Richard Yates.’I like the way David chose to write the sentences.I like the font and the layout on David’s blog.I think David’s voice, or sentences, were not pretentious, or something, in the same way a lot of reviewer’s sentences might be.I don’t think any subjective feelings or thoughts were written as objective truths, which is important to me.His voice and the details he included in the review seemed ‘really good,’ in my view.Good job, David.

Author Description

I initially smiled while reading this for the first time, upon reading that Tao, if he had the money to do so, would mail anyone “$20 bills or [whatever you wanted, to a certain degree].”I think that this ‘shows’ something about Tao, that I feel like I’ve ‘always known,’ to some degree, or something.I feel unable to further elaborate, at this point, re ‘what it is I’ve “always known,”’ due to ~6 attempts and failures, ~5 out of the ~6 times resulting in my typing something about how Tao is a “good person.”

I really like Tao’s description of ‘Richard Yates.’I think that it is probably, in my view, ‘the best’ re [any commentary re ‘Richard Yates’ ‘thus far’].It seems like obviously it would be ‘the best’ re ‘who knows about Tao’s writing better than Tao,’ or something.

This is the entire paragraph.I don’t think I can ‘do it justice,’ or write about it in a satisfactory way, due to it’s ‘goodness,’ or something.I think that this is the best description of ‘Richard Yates’ that I have seen.

*Richard Yates is “Tao Lin’s second novel,” ~55,500 words of such mainstreamly/conventionally “socially relevant” topics as “cutting,” eating disorders, statutory rape, dysfunctional families, reckless shoplifting, “mental disorders,” “biofeedback,” and psychotherapy within a “page-turner-ish,” linear, focused, journalistic narrative featuring such non-mainstream elements, some might say, as “unyieldingly concrete/literal prose style,” “lack of authorial rhetoric (except, arguably, on the structural or stylistic level, though in those cases the rhetoric would be implied, in the manner of a ‘side-effect,’ to some degree, and only vaguely rhetorical),” “intensely/preconceptionlessly quirky/’weird’/cutesy, to varying degrees, at times, dialogue,” “an overall ‘non-sequiturish,’ ‘messageless’ quality impervious to certain kinds of book reviews and certain kinds of ways to discuss ‘literature,’” and “[other elements].”

Overall rating: 10/10 for reasons describe above.

Justin Taylor ‘Giant Comment’

In the first paragraph of the comment, Justin Taylor uses asterisks around the words “a lot.”I found this interesting.It seemed to me like Justin Taylor was using asterisks in place of scare-quotes, or something, for some reason.I have seen, in other comments, Justin’s aversion towards writers like Brandon Scott Gorrell, and I wonder if he chose not to use scare-quotes, where scare-quotes would have been appropriate, in my view, ‘simply’ ‘in order to’ disassociate himself from ‘that crowd’ of writers.

I like and agree with, to some degree, the sentence, “…here more than perhaps anywhere else I felt like the aesthetics were amplifying or enforcing the ethics of the work, which made for an at times highly unpleasant–though thoroughly enrapturing–reading experience inasmuch as the general ethical issues raised–and the particular ethics of the individual characters–are ambivalent and somewhat deranged.”The parts that I don’t agree with, are “…more than perhaps anywhere else,” and “…somewhat deranged.”

I think, as Justin Taylor seems to think, that ‘Richard Yates’ is very self-aware.I don’t think there is a ‘refusal to question itself,’ I just think that there is no desire to ‘question itself.’ I think that rather than ‘questioning the story,’ it would be more beneficial for Tao to assess the situations/circumstances described in the book calmly and rationally, and to, from there, decide how to think, feel, and/or act from then on.I think that since what happened in the story has already happened, that there is no point in ‘questioning it,’ or something.One ‘should’ maybe just accept it and move on.I also think I might ‘simply’ be misinterpreting the meaning of the story ‘questioning itself,’ and be ‘automatically disagreeing’ with it, subconsciously, so that I have more to write about.

I think that the story is told dispassionately because Tao’s goals was to use ‘concrete’/literal language and to tell the story objectively, meaning that a passionate voice (usually, in my experience, requiring abstractions to obtain) would not allow him to achieve his goal, if that was ‘in fact’ his goal.

I did not think of Earnest Hemingway while reading this book.The only two books of Hemingway’s that I have read are, ‘The Old Man and The Sea’ and ‘The Sun Also Rises.’I could see how they could be seen as similar, stylistically, to ‘Richard Yates.’I am not saying that I don’t believe Justin Taylor, or agree with Justin Taylor, re ‘whether or not “Richard Yates” is similar to the books by Ernest Hemingway that he compared them to,’ I just have not read any of those books by Hemingway and do not know enough to comment.

Overall rating: 7/10 for reasons described above.

My Thoughts re Some ‘Blurbs’ re ‘Richard Yates’/Tao Lin

Richard Yates is hilarious, menacing, and hugely intelligent. Tao Lin is a Kafka for the iPhone generation. He has that most important gift: it’s impossible to imagine anyone else writing like he does and sounding authentic. Yet he has already spawned a huge school of Lin imitators. As precocious and prolific as he is, every book surpasses the last. Tao Lin may well be the most important writer under thirty working today.”
—Clancy Martin

I agree that, in my view, ‘Richard Yates’ is “hilarious, menacing (to some degree), and hugely intelligent.”I have never read any books by Kafka so I do not feel ‘qualified’ to say anything re the second sentence of this blurb.I do not agree that it is impossible to imagine anyone else writing like he does and sounding authentic.It seems strange to like, think of someone’s writing as inauthentic, or something.Or, I mean, I think that everything is equally as ‘authentic’ as everything else, or something.Like if a person writes something that they feel accomplishes the goal that he/she wants to accomplish then isn’t it authentic?

I agree, I guess, that he has, to some degree, ‘spawned’ some people who ‘imitate’ him; however, I think, ‘according to my worldview,’ that, technically, possibly objectively speaking, the people who are ‘imitating’ Tao Lin are actually ‘only’ ‘imitating’ the writers that Tao Lin imitated, and the writers that they imitated, etc.Like everyone is born ‘empty’ and they are filled with things (‘input’) and can only express or think/say/write (‘output’) what they’ve been filled with, the output being a dependant on the input, and not being able to exist without the input.For example, ‘Tao’s writing’ may seem ‘new’ or ‘innovative,’ to some degree, and is, in my view, to some degree, innovative; however, that is only because of everything ever that has happened to him.The same goes for anybody ever and their art.

I agree re Tao being prolific.He has written and published a lot, which seems ‘good.’I don’t know who the most important writer under thirty working today is, but I think most days I think it’s me.

“A revolutionary.”
—The Stranger

I think that whenever I see this blurb, I always view it with a high sense of sarcasm.I think I remember reading the whole blurb, or something, of this blurb, somewhere.Like I think that this is a segment of the full blurb or something from ‘The Stranger.’A blurb of a blurb.

I guess, in my view, Tao is, to some degree, ‘a revolutionary,’ in that he is the ‘first’ to do everything he has done, as any single person is the ‘first’ to do everything they have done, or something.

When I think of the word ‘revolutionary’ I think of ‘Anti-Flag,’ ‘Zach de la Rocha,’ ‘Mumia Abu Jamal,’ ‘Crimethinc,’ and [other things of that nature].Not that I think of any of those people as effective revolutionaries, or something, but that’s ‘just what I think of’ I guess.So fuck off.Jk re ‘so fuck off.’

“Tao Lin writes from moods that less radical writers would let pass—from laziness, from vacancy, from boredom. And it turns out that his report from these places is moving and necessary, not to mention frequently hilarious.”
—Miranda July

This is the blurb that caused me to buy ‘No One Belongs Here More Than You’ by Miranda July.I think that I borrowed a copy of ‘Eeeee Eee Eeee’ from a friend from school and I saw this blurb on the back cover and then I remembered that she was the same person who wrote the screenplay for ‘Me and You and Everyone We Know.’Or like, she did something re that movie, I’m not sure if it was write the screenplay.

I like this blurb, because I agree with it.I think that other writers who don’t write from the ‘radical moods’ that Tao Lin writes from might not choose to not write from them, I think that they probably just don’t feel them.Or, I guess, objectively, they don’t feel ‘the same’ moods at Tao, but I also think that maybe they don’t feel the degree of detachment and [other emotions] that Tao feels, therefore they don’t write about them, because they don’t know them.

“A master of understatement–or, rather, of statement.”
—Vice Magazine

I like this blurb.I have never read ‘Vice Magazine’ nor do I have any knowledge of ‘what “Vice Magazine’ is “all about”’ or [anything else re ‘Vice Magazine’].It sounds like it might be a popular magazine.

I like this blurb because I think that Tao’s writing is just what the blurb says it is: Statements.Tao’s sentences and literal language are statements of what is, not what things ‘should’ be like or what things might be.He writes statements about his perception of reality, which is more often than not a calm, rational, detached perception.I think that, while many writers use statements occasionally, as a rhetorical device, or to ‘prove a point’ or something, Tao’s use of ‘statement’ is the same as the use of ‘sentence,’ which, in my view, is ‘so sweet.’

I like that in this blurb, the blurb-er initially says ‘understatement.’ I think that that is a common ‘misconception,’ to some degree, re Tao’s writing/books – that he tries to use ‘understatement’ as a literary device, when really he is just stating things objectively and ‘simply.’Many people call the minimalist, objective, literal structure/style of his sentences as ‘understatement,’ when, ‘in fact,’ most other writing is ‘simply’ ‘overstatement.’

My Thoughts re Every Contest Entry* re 3x ‘Richard Yates’ Contest On Tao

Lin’s Blog

Contest One entries

Entry 1 – ‘A Gmail chat (between [someone] and ‘Kathleen’) about Tao Lin’s ‘Richard Yates’

I wonder am curious as to who ‘me’ is in the Gmail chat.I will review this Gmail chat before going to the comments section of Tao’s blog post about the contest to see who ‘me’ is, so I do not have any pre-judgments re the Gmail chat.

Interesting that ‘me’ says to Kathleen that, “Haley Joel Osment makes Dakota Fanning be a vegan since she’s fat.”I feel like Haley Joel Osment didn’t ‘make’ Dakota Fanning do anything, he just tried to help her in the only way he knew how – rationally.I feel confused re ‘1,000 page novel in 55,500 words because of minimalism.’I like, ‘me,’ feel like, in my view, ‘Richard Yates’ is ‘better’ than ‘Eeeee Eee Eeee.’

Interesting how ‘me’ was so heartbroken by ‘Richard Yates.’I honestly felt like ‘Richard Yates’ was life-affirming and affected my life in immediate and ‘positive’ ways.Interesting that ‘me’ keeps comparing the characters in ‘Richard Yates’ to characters in novels by Richard Yates.

I skimmed some things in this Gmail chat.I thought it was funny and relatable when I read that ‘me’ “want(s) to say Helvetica over and over again,’ seems sweet.I, unlike ‘me,’ like how David says ‘like’ a lot.

I skimmed some more and saw the phrase ‘like a huge gaping hole.’

I am thinking ‘me’ is from New York City because she says wanting a pass to Bobst library.I am going to go to the comments section of Tao’s contest post to see if I can find out who ‘me’ is.‘Me’ is Caitlin Colford, and is, ‘in fact,’ from New York City.I clicked on her blog and she has ‘Ads by Google,’ which I dislike.I like that her Blogger profile page displays her blog and that the only blog she follows is her blog, seems sweet.

Overall rating: 6/10.Seemed mildly enjoyable.I didn’t agree with some things Caitlin and Kathleen said, and didn’t really enjoy their tone of voice, or something.Still didn’t seem, in my view, ‘bad’ to read or ‘annoying,’ really.Other reasons explained above.

Entry 2 – Semi-Comprehensive Review of ‘Richard Yates’/’Tao Lin’

I don’t know whose blog I am looking at now re ‘Semi-Comprehensive Review of ‘Richard Yates’/’Tao Lin.’ The person has no followers on Blogger and their Blogger profile name is ‘The Doctor.’They only have one post, which is the semi-comprehensive review.I am wondering if maybe ‘The Doctor’ created this blog for the sole intent of writing an essay for Tao’s contest, seems sweet.

‘The Doctors’ essay consists of nine sections – the internet (re ‘Tao Lin’) / ‘official site’ / HTMLGIANT review / coverage of this blog post / Alt Report coverage / Fishkind review / author description / Justin Taylor coverage / control what i will be wearing in september ‘nylon.’

I liked the style that ‘The Doctor’ employed, immediately, via stating objective facts for the whole first paragraph.I guess technically the second paragraph consists of facts too, which I like.I thought the details ‘The Doctor’ included about Miranda July being ‘hot’ were funny and relatable.I thought it was nice of ‘The Doctor’ to pre-order ‘Richard Yates.’

I like that, though I don’t agree with the cover being ‘disturbing,’ in my view, ‘The Doctor’ says that the cover ‘seems’ disturbing.This makes me feel like he is recognizing the fact that the cover is not inherently disturbing, just that to him or her, the cover ‘seems’ disturbing.It seemed honest of him or her to say that he thought ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ was ~30% funny, which seems low, to me, or something.

I, like ‘The Doctor,’ didn’t feel very comfortable while reading the HTMLGIANT review of ‘Richard Yates.’I, generally speaking, do not feel comfortable while reading any piece of writing on HTMLGIANT.I thought it was funny that ‘The Doctor’ thought Haley Joel Osment was dead, but he isn’t.I like the use of facts in this essay.Seems really good.

Interesting that ‘The Doctor’ has had ‘bad experiences’ re foam parties, seems interesting.I didn’t see the ‘tips comment’ that ‘The Doctor’ mentioned, I didn’t even look at the HTMLGIANT coverage of Tao’s contest.I am wondering now if it would have been beneficial to me.

I feel confused re “…the guy, presumably Dakota Fanning…” re ‘the real Dakota Fanning’ is a female, and in the book, is a female character.

Seemed ‘so sweet’ that ‘The Doctor’ thought that David Fishkind’s blog was “…the guy who made the album ‘anti-america,’ (me).Though the album is called, ‘anti-american,’ I still appreciate the name drop, seems sweet.I think that ‘The Doctor,’ based on this review, and based on what I’ve ‘gathered’ about him or her from this essay, would enjoy reading ‘Baby Hedgehogs and American Apparel Dogs’ by David Fishkind.

I think it was funny that ‘The Doctor’ couldn’t seem to take David Fishkind’s review seriously after seeing that Fishkind voted for Tao to wear a turtleneck in the september issue of ‘Nylon.’

Overall rating: 9/10 for reasons described above.Not 10/10 re ‘anti-america,’ sorry bro.

Entry 3 – TAO LIN CONVERSATION TIME! (version 2.0)

The first paragraph before the Gmail chat seems highly sarcastic to me.The use of exclamation marks makes me imagine that a ‘very excited’ Asian person writing this.

I ‘skimmed’ ~70% of the Gmail chat, feeling like I ‘couldn’t possibly read it,’ seeing many capital letters and exclamation points.The bright yellow background and the font of the text also seemed bothering to me.The person, who, for the majority of the time, it seems, was talking to himself or herself, seemed very excited throughout the entire Gmail chat.I saw some things about Bret Easton Ellis and I saw the word ‘Absurd.’

I just clicked back to the Gmail chat to look at it some more, and I saw the sentence “I could get touched?By Tao Lin?”

I do not mean to sound ‘like a douche bag,’ I really don’t, there is nothing, as stated above in the preface to all of these reviews of essays and Gmail chats, inherently ‘wrong with’ or ‘bad’ about this Gmail chat.

Overall rating: 2/10 for reasons described above.

Entry 4 – A CONVERSATION ON THE SUBJECT OF TAO LIN

This conversation begins with an “unrelated note” that states, “no, you don’t me.”

When I first arrived at this Gmail chat, I ‘command f’d my name, thinking, ‘for some reason,’ that my name might be mentioned in the Gmail chat or [somewhere on the page].It was not.In the preface to the Gmail chat, the girl who maintains the Tumblr page that contains the Gmail chat said that Elvis Costello was going to be mentioned at some point in the chat.This increased my interest in the Gmail chat because I like Elvis Costello a little bit.She also states in the preface that, “Likely this entry will be considered “illegitimate” by the likes of Tao Lin, since I don’t think it adheres to any of the actual “guidelines”…” The chat, evidently, was not considered “illegitimate.”

‘Me’ in the Gmail chat, presumably the girl who maintains the Tumblr page, ‘kicks off’ the chat by talking about how she just ate a hot dog.I smiled while reading that she had just eaten a hot dog.

I felt confused while reading the majority of this Gmail chat.I think that, like the third contest entry, ‘me’ is talking to themselves.

It is interesting to me that ‘me’ found Tao Lin via Tumblr and his forthcoming ‘North American Hamsters’ iPhone app.

‘Me’ said something interesting about reading ‘Richard Yates’ causing her to feel as though she was ‘being followed / all [her] life.’

I ‘skimmed’ through the majority of this chat.

Overall rating: 3/10 for reasons described above.

Entry 5 – Richard Yates/TAO LIN

The girl whose blog this essay is on has links below her profile picture to ‘elimae,’ ‘gourmet,’ ‘hoy,’ ‘unpiano,’ and ‘wdtsp.’I thought that she has writing on ‘elimae,’ which seemed impressive to me, but when I clicked the link to see her writing, it just ‘took me’ to the ‘elimae’ home page, which seemed disappointing to me.

The first paragraph is about the title, ‘Richard Yates.’The style that the paragraph is written in seems okay.It made me decide to read the entire essay.

In the third paragraph, the author of this essay writes about the cover of ‘Richard Yates.’Reading her interpretation of the cover seems to have been my favorite so far, funny and thoughtful and it included a lot of things I’d never thought about before reading it.I like most of the sentences, but I couldn’t understand the thought process behind,“the “conch-face man” [who i thought was the author, another mistake] seems either “whacked-out” on drugs at a medium-size house party thrown by a girl he’s in love with or a young fantasizing rapist.”

The fourth paragraph is about the content in ‘Richard Yates.’I like this paragraph.The person writing this essay seems like someone I’d be able to get along with in physical reality, to some degree, if we saw each other or ‘hung out’ once or twice a week in ‘not-so-social’ situations where it was only the two of us ‘hanging out’ or maybe the two of us and a good mutual friend.This paragraph caused me to feel interested in reading “disgrace” by J.M. Coetzee.The person writing this essay seems to have a ‘good taste,’ in my view, in literature, re mentioning the book “Self-Help” by Lorrie Moore, which is a book that I like, and a book, I agree, that “Bed” by Tao Lin reminds me of.It is interesting that Tao’s writing ‘converted’ the person writing this essay to vegetarianism for ~two years and that she feels “sure of ‘conversion’” re veganism.

The fifth paragraph is about Tao Lin, the author, where the person writing the essay states, “i have no interest in the “artist,” but every interest in the “art,”” which seemed interesting to me.The person says something about Tao’s age as a reason why ‘Richard Yates’ is not going to be his “magnum opus.”This makes me believe that the person writing the essay places an importance on age that may or may not affect her opinion of the ‘illicit’ love affair between Haley Joel Osment and Dakota Fanning in ‘Richard Yates.’

Overall rating: 8/10 for reasons described above.I also enjoyed the blog layout and font.

Entry 6 – 7.25.10

The person who wrote this blog post(Ami, according to his or her Blogger profile) seems possibly ‘old,’ or older than the majority of the other contestants, due to his or her liking of Tao Lin “in high school” and his or her possible ‘discovery’ of Tao Lin via ‘Word Riot.’I think Tao was published in ‘Word Riot’ ‘quite some time ago,’ if I remember correctly – possibly circa 2007.

Ami doesn’t seem to like Tao Lin very much, but owns a Tao Lin shirt, as one can see here when he or she types, “…yeah maybe you think it’s silly that I have a Tao Lin shirt, fuck you…”

I thought it was funny that, according to this essay, Ami wrote “leaf corpses” as opposed to “dead leaves” on a paper or something in eighth grade.

I disagree with Ami’s analysis of Tao Lin’s ‘minimalist’ style as being a “gimmick.”Ami writes, “It seems like a gimmick, how he writes like he does, like he’s writing the way he does not because it contains any literary/technical advantages, but because it makes him sound different.”I don’t know how Ami can ‘prove’ this statement, or what Ami would say as support for this statement, but my assessment of Tao’s style differs heavily from his or hers (see ‘Writing Aesthetic’ above).I think that it would be impossible to prove Ami’s statement, unless Tao explicitly stated that he writes the way he writes for [the reasons that Ami is speculating Tao writes the way he writes for].

I do not like the tone with which I perceive Ami as writing in.He or she seems to be very fond of unsarcastically using the terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ to describe Tao’s writing, which seems undesirable to me as a reader.

Ami goes on to say things about how he or she feels like he or she might be “missing.”He or she types multiple sentences trying to ‘figure out’ what Tao’s ‘point’ is.This is where I think he or she has ‘gone wrong:’ Tao’s writing does not have, or try to have rhetoric or ‘a point to “prove.”’I do not think that Tao’s lack of caring about “whether or not the reader can sympathize with anything in the book” (if said ‘lack of caring’ even exists) ‘stems from’ laziness, as Ami speculates, but rather from a desire to write things exactly how he wants to write them, and not how he thinks other people would want him to write.I think, if anything, it is ‘good,’ in my view, that Tao writes without thinking about the reader, if Tao even does this, because that would, in my view, make his writing ‘all the more honest.’I do not think that Tao wrote ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ or any of his books ‘for that matter,’ with the intent of ‘coping-out’ and/or ‘alienating’ people.I do not think, “alienation is what we feel by default.”I think that ‘obviously,’ objectively, people don’t feel [any emotion] ‘by default’ due to [any external situation/circumstance].The only ‘proof’ I feel I need to ‘site’ for this is that I do not feel, nor have I ever felt, in my memory, acute ‘alienation’ as a result of reading Tao’s writing.The fact that two different people can read the same book and feel differently towards the book, to me, illustrates how humans ‘choose,’ to some degree, how to react to external situations/circumstances/[other things], and how ‘alienation’ is not what is felt ‘by default.’

Ami mentioned how, near the end of ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel,’ there is a “really good, compassionate moment,” which reminded me that the last scene in ‘Eat When You Feel Sad’ by Zachary German is also in ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel,’ I think.I ‘found that out’ while re-reading ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ for a fourth time after recently having read ‘Eat When You Feel Sad.’Seems sweet.

I think it is funny when Ami says of the characters in ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel,’ “…they seem to be thinking things that robots would think…”

I like and agree with the third to last paragraph beginning at the third sentence.I think that this paragraph just ‘upped’ what I am going to give this essay re ‘overall rating’ by one or two ‘ranks.’

I think it is funny, and seems relatable, that Ami kind of ‘opened up,’ seeming, in my view, ‘very honest’ and ‘candid,’ perhaps, when he or she says, “I really do love Lorrie Moore.”

I think the end of this essay is funny, bringing up the shirt again was funny.

Overall rating: 7/10.Seemed fun to read and to think about.Seemed written pretty well.I like that I felt like I had so much to write about it.I like Ami’s blog layout and font.I read the entire essay without wanting to stop reading the essay, which is ‘good.’Other reasons described above.

Entry 7 – Tao Lin

This is an essay written by ‘Uncle Farkus.’I feel like I have seen ‘Uncle Farkus’’ name somewhere on the internet, but I can’t remember where.I think it had something to do with Bebe Zeva, but I really don’t remember.I like the layout and font of ‘Uncle Farkus’’ blog.He has his own domain name which seems impressive.One thing I don’t understand about ‘Uncle Farkus’’ layout, despite my liking it ‘anyway,’ is why the link colors are black.It seems like if he ever wanted to use bold font or something, that links displaying essentially as ‘bold font’ could confuse the viewer of his blog.I guess I ‘should’ call it a website since it has it’s own domain name.From now on I will call it a website in this review.

I like the way ‘Uncle Farkus’ structures his sentences.It is funny to me that he mentions the Asian population in New York City.

I like that ‘Uncle Farkus’ includes a screenshot of one of Tao’s previous tweets that he liked, and that I liked too but had forgotten about.I felt happy to see that tweet again.The tweet was, “idly believed for ~3-5 seconds that a ‘bengal tiger’ had looked at my blog due to seeing [a certain phrase] on my statcounter.”

I think ‘Uncle Farkus’ makes a typo when he says, “I was going to ask Tao to do it, but I figured he was super busy or might would charge me because he is probably poor via Melville House Publishing ‘taking all his profit’ + not having a ‘real’ job.”

Overall rating: 8/10 for reasons described above.I also liked that the essay didn’t seem, in my view, ‘pretentious’ in the same way that other essays I have read so far have seemed, in my view, ‘pretentious,’ to varying degrees.

Entry 8 – My Essay on Tao Lin and Our Histories Intertwining

According to this persons Blogger profile page, he or she is named ‘JK’ and is a twenty-seven-year-old student living in Illinois.His or her blog seems to have a ‘pretty standard’ layout, which seems fine, in my view.‘JK’s ‘ABOUT ME’ section of their Blogger profile page ‘simply’ reads, “Sad.”Seems sweet.

The essay is separated into eight sections: ORIGINS / GENOROSITY / NETWORKING / SHORT STORY / HIPSTERS / RICHARD YATES, THE NOVEL / MEETING TAO / DEATH OF LITERATURE.Below the essay, there is a comment from someone named ‘sara’ saying that she liked ‘JK’s essay.

I like that ‘JK’ ‘points out’ Tao’s ‘generosity.’I, like ‘JK,’ feel like Tao is generous.In my experience, Tao has showed me large amounts of generosity in various ways, including sending some of my friends free copies of ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel,’ sending me free stickers/[omitted for legal reasons]/pictures of drawings, ‘giving me’ $300 via my investment in ‘Muumuu House,’ and linking me in the ‘news’ section on the sidebar of his blog pretty frequently.I like that ‘JK’ takes the time to point out and thank Tao for sending him so many free books, which is something, in my experience/observation, hardly any writers would be willing to do.

It seemed interesting that ‘JK’ mentioned his or her dad in a manner that, in my view, a teenager would mention his or her dad, or something, somehow.I think it is funny that ‘JK’ wrote the sentence, “Cyberbullies exist.”I think that ‘networking,’ thought I hardly, if ever, think of the word ‘networking’ in a manner that isn’t assessed with high degrees of sarcasm, is ‘very easy’ on the internet.I think that, in my experience/observation, it is very systematic.Like, add someone on Facebook or e-mail someone complimenting his or her writing.Exchange some more brief/semi-brief e-mails re his or her writing.Gmail chat or Facebook chat with them occasionally.Increase the length or ‘depth’ or ‘quantity of personal information’ in e-mails.Increase the frequency with which Gmail chats and Facebook chats occur, talking about things friends would normally talk about, ‘interspersing’ inquiries re their writing in the conversation so the ‘power struggle aspect’ of the relationship still seems ‘tilted toward [person one is trying to network with].’Etc, etc.It really seems that systematic to me.I don’t know…

I liked that ‘JK’ included a personal anecdote re interactions between ‘JK’ and one of his or her ex-girlfriends in relation to two books by Tao Lin.I enjoyed reading this section of ‘JK’s essay.

I like that ‘JK,’ in the section of his or her essay entitled, ‘HIPSTERS,’ ‘shit-talks’ hipsters, to a degree, but then follows his or her vague ‘shit-talking,’ by saying that he or she is “just talking from personal experience,” which seems important to me.It does not seem as pretentious as it would seem, in my view, without saying that.Seems good.

It seems like ‘JK,’ according to this essay, has written a lot of novels.Like, 2.7 novels or something.I am starting to wonder who ‘JK’ is, in more detail.Like if his or her novels have been published or not.I don’t know, doesn’t matter I guess.‘JK,’ if you are reading this, please e-mail [email protected] and tell me if your novels have been published or not.Thank you.

Was ‘the real Dakota Fanning’ in ‘The Sixth Sense’?It seems like, based on how ‘JK’ phrased it in his or her essay that she was.I’d Google it but I guess I’d rather someone leave a comment and let me know.Seems better to receive a comment with this information.‘I’ll tell you what,’ I will honestly not Google whether or not Dakota Fanning was in ‘The Sixth Sense,’ and the first person to comment the correct answer will receive one free copy of my chapbook.

Now, reading the last paragraph of this essay, it seems to me that ‘JK’s novels have not been published.

Overall rating: 9/10 for reasons described above.

Entry 9 – Richard Yates and Tao Lin

According to the Blogger profile on the blog containing this essay, the author is named Harry.This also seems like a blog that was possibly created with the sole intent of writing an essay for this contest.Once again, ‘seems sweet.’I saw that Harry’s e-mail address is on his Blogger profile page, and the e-mail address ([email protected]) seemed familiar to me, so I searched my Gmail inbox for that e-mail address.I got no results.

Harry’s essay is separated into six sections – [an untitled ‘introduction type thing’] / The Name / The Cover / The Index / The Reaction / Post essay thoughts.

The introduction seemed like ‘just a summary’ of [certain things re the three contests on Tao’s blog re ‘Richard Yates’].It seemed interesting to me that he chose to omit the ‘I’ before “Spent a short time on chat roulette…” having used ‘I’ a couple of times already in the essay.

I like Harry’s ‘account’ of reading ‘The Easter Parade’ by Richard Yates.I, like Harry, read ‘The Easter Parade’ earlier this year and seemed to experience the book in a similar manner as he did, according to this essay.I liked and could relate to the sentence, “I enjoyed reading The Easter Parade a lot; it’s a book about some very depressing things, though, it did not make me very depressed.”The only thing I guess I would change is put quotes around “depressing” due to the content in ‘The Easter Parade,’ or any book, or [anything], not being inherently “depressing” as the content in ‘The Easter Parade,’ or any book, or [anything] is not inherently [anything].I just repeatedly thought, in a seemingly uncontrollable manner, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”I thought about changing “beauty” to “depression” and typing it here, with quotes, but decided to type this instead.

The way that Harry organised his thoughts in chronological order re the cover of ‘Richard Yates’ seemed vaguely innovative, especially when compared to all of the other essays I have read so far that discuss the cover of ‘Richard Yates,’ and was, in my view, funny and enjoyable to read.

It is interesting to me that Harry brings up reading ‘just a few paragraphs of Tao Lin’s work’ as something that ‘wouldn’t work,’ to a degree, to “try and show something.”I have heard this said about the individual poems in ‘during my nervous breakdown i want to have a biographer present’ by Brandon Scott Gorrell, and about the individual poems in ‘cognitive-behavioral therapy’ by Tao Lin.I have also thought this about the individual poems in my full-length poetry book, ‘if i wanted to feel happy i would feel happy already’ (forthcoming, somewhere, sometime).I think that a lot of times, especially for ‘non-conventional’ writing or art, it is necessary for that writing or art to be surrounded by other writing or art of the same nature/[something] in order for it to be ‘better understood’ by the reader/viewer.I think I agree that “2-3 paragraphs of Tao Lin’s writing would be a bad amount to use for something.”

Overall rating: 9/10 for reasons described above.I also like Harry’s blog layout and choice of font.

*Note* I have seemed to notice, I think, at this point, that, as a rule, the most recent contest entries are the most ‘readable,’ in my view.I am unsure if this is because people took more time on their entries and so they posted them later or what, it just seems like something I noticed and I thought I’d ‘point out.’I also think that I am being, if anything, ‘a little more lenient’ re ‘things I would normally not read or like,’ and, because I ‘have to,’ to some degree, read these entries for the sake of this review, I am already ‘starting off liking the things I am reading more so than I would if I didn’t ‘have to’ read them,’ to some degree, having accepted that I am going to read them.I do not fully ‘stand behind’ any opinion that I have written ‘thus far’ and I did not/do not intend to ‘offend’ anybody or ‘make anybody think that I feel [a certain way] about them as a person.’ *Note*

Entry 10 – “What the Fuck, Richard Yates?” by Brian McElmurry

I think that this is the first essay I’ve read so far re Tao’s contest re ‘Richard Yates’ that has not been on a personal website (either Tumblr or Blogger).

The introduction to this essay seems interesting to me.Brian sites a Dennis Cooper essay that I have never read about a person playing a drum set inside of a box and how peoples’ reactions are to the drumming coming from the box.This description reminded me of seeing ‘Ben Bennet’ perform ‘experimental percussion’ at ‘The Monster House’ in Columbus, Ohio (on the same night I met Cody Troyan, see below).At this point, I have read Brian’s introduction and I feel interested in continuing on reading his essay.

I like what Brian seems to be saying about Tao Lin’s goal of reducing suffering via “[understanding] the only thing we can control is our reaction and emotions to the world.”Brian seems to ‘really understand,’ in my view, certain aspects of Tao’s writing that all of the contest entries I’ve read before this either ‘don’t understand to the degree that Brian understands’ or ‘simply didn’t mention at all.’

I don’t understand or know anything about what “post-modern” or “modern” or [words like that] mean.

‘Damn’ re “Nobody cares really.  Nobody cares really.  Nobody cares really.  Nobody cares really,” re David Fishkind’s review of ‘Richard Yates’ and [maybe some other, like, universal thing, or something, that is trying to be said here, I don’t know].

I ‘skimmed’ the rest of the essay.It seemed pretty good, but I am getting kind of tired and I think maybe ‘this is the entry’ that has ~5k words or something.It just seems, at this point and time, really bleak to me to read more about Tao Lin.I will reconvene tomorrow, I guess…I’m probably not going to finish Brian’s essay.No offense to Brian: so far it has been a pretty good essay, in my view, it’s just that I’ve read and written so many things about Tao Lin yesterday and today and tonight that I don’t think, at this point and time in my life, I’d be able to read this essay without experiencing some form of mild-extreme fatigue, therefore not being able to ‘truly judge the quality’ of this essay, in my view.

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 11 – Richard Yates and ‘Richard Yates’

This essay is written on a Tumblr page.I think it’s funny that in the first paragraph the author of this essay says something about not knowing how to pronounce “Tao” and that one of her ex-roommates would tell the author of this essay to pronounce “Tao” as “Dao.”

This essay uses the word “colposcopy” which is defined by dictionary.com as “an examination by means of a colposcope.”

The author of this essay says, “Information technology will eventually be the death of security by obscurity.”I have never heard “security by obscurity” before.Seems interesting.

I like that the author of this essay talks about all of the different Wikipedia search results for ‘Richard Yates.’Seems interesting.I think it is interesting that most people who don’t live in North America call ‘football’ ‘hand egg.’Seems sweet/funny.

The author of this essay, if I understand what he or she has written correctly, thinks that ‘Richard Yates’ is Tao’s first novel.It is his second novel.

The author of this essay says that he or she started their Tumblr account ‘solely’ in order to enter one of Tao’s other contests, but then decided to maintain it.Seems sweet.

Overall rating: 7/10 for reasons described above, to a some degree.

Entry 12 – TAO LIN

The name of the Blogger page containing this essay is ‘SEXCALIBER HROSSPOWER.’It seems to me that the author of this essay’s Blogger account could have been created for the sole purpose of entering the ‘Richard Yates’ contest.

I feel uncomfortable with the author of this essay seeming, in my view, vaguely misogynistic, saying, “…girls do not like ‘The Sun Also Rises.’”Or, rather, I think I would feel uncomfortable if I ‘knew,’ to a large degree, that the author of this essay was not being sarcastic, and truly believed, unsarcastically, that “girls do not like ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ however, my ‘immediate reaction’ to seeing that sentence was to ‘laugh’ internally, to some degree, viewing the sentence with a high degree of sarcasm and self-awareness.I think that probably the author’s intent was to seem sarcastic.I think based on the context of the paragraph it could be proven, to a degree, that the author’s intent was to seem sarcastic.Seems sweet.

The author of this essay mentioned Ron Silliman’s review of ‘Shoplifting From American Apparel’ and later mentions Tao’s being a guest on Michael Silverblatt’s radio program.Until he or she mentioned Michael Silverblatt’s program, I had been confusing Ron Silliman for Michael Silverblatt.

I like, and think it is funny, that the author of this essay is the first person, in my memory, of the essays I have read so far, to ‘blatantly say what “[a certain number of ‘contestants’]” have been thinking, I think, to some degree’ re the cover of ‘Richard Yates.’He or she states, “It goes without saying that the cover for this book looks like a guy trying to open a vagina from behind.”Seems sweet.

The author of this essay positively mentions Tao’s ‘work-ethic,’ which I like.

The author of this essay writes, “Someone once said only Tao Lin and Ellen Kennedy should be allowed to use scare quotes. I’m still not sure who Ellen Kennedy is but I think whoever said that had a point.”For some reason, I immediately thought that it was DJ Berndt who said this.I don’t agree, to any degree, with this quote or the idea that ‘only [a certain person or group of people] ‘should’ be ‘allowed’ to write in a certain style, or, to a certain degree, ‘do [anything besides murder or something].’Seems really bad.

It seems interesting, in my view, that (and I have come to the same conclusion, to some degree) people who like Tao Lin did not like ‘Inception.’I had heard from two friends of mine that ‘Inception’ was really good, then saw that some other people didn’t like Inception.Seems [something].

Overall rating: 7/10 for reasons described above, to a degree.

Entry 13 – A preemptive review on the upcoming book, Richard Yates, by Tao Lin, done for a potential and seemingly eminent free copy of said book via a contest on his blog here where you can complete different services for goods/currency and everyone participating/spectating/lurking seems to be happy, having a good time, feeling a sense of ‘togetherness’ in this literary ‘blogosphere’ by Cody Troyan.

I first received an e-mail from Cody Troyan on June 16, 2010.The subject line read ‘this might be weird or pleasant.’Before opening the e-mail, I imagined various e-mails that could follow that subject line, mostly including him as a ‘gay fan.’Like, literally a gay person who liked my writing or my LookBook.nu page or something.The e-mail was actually, in my view, ‘pleasant.’He complimented me on my writing, saying he was 17 years old, lived in Columbus, Ohio, and came across ‘think tank for human beings in general’ because his sister used to live with Richard Wehrenberg Jr.According to the e-mail, Cody “[had been] haphazardly following [me] on [my] blog ‘n such and then got into looking at tao lin’s stuff and it’s all been very pleasant for me.”It seemed ‘so sweet’ to me that, according to the way it sounds in the e-mail, Cody ‘found’ Tao via my blog, or something.

I met Cody Troyan at a show I played at ‘The Monster House’ in Columbus, Ohio on July 8, 2010.He seemed nice, and was with a friend whose shoes I liked.

I think Cody’s ‘pre-emptive review’ has an interesting title.His review is broken into four sections: Tao Lin, the ‘man’ / Tao Lin, the ‘target’ [via Richard Yates] / Richard Yates, the ‘mollusk man’ / Tao Lin, the ‘eventually likeable enigma.’

Cody uses scare-quotes interestingly, seemingly randomly, or like, in the instances he uses them, I think I understand why, but then I can’t understand why other words or phrases aren’t scare-quoted.For example, Cody quotes “‘man’” in the title of the first section of his review, but he does not quote “Cuddling up…” in the first sentence of the first paragraph.Tao is objectively a man, so I personally wouldn’t quote ‘man,’ but one could say that Cody perhaps felt uncomfortable or sarcastic while writing the word ‘man’ in this context, so he decided to scare-quote it; however, “Cuddling up…” is not like, a literal thing, and I personally would feel sarcastic, in this instance, using that phrase, so I would scare-quote the phrase.There are many other instances where Cody scare-quotes or doesn’t scare-quote things that I personally wouldn’t scare-quote or would scare quote, but I think that it is sort of like how he has a different Tumblr layout than I do.I wouldn’t want to have his Tumblr layout, and I think that mine is ‘better,’ but I wouldn’t unsarcastically ‘tell him’ or ‘argue with him’ or ‘try to convince him’ that mine is inherently ‘better,’ because it is not, it is ‘just’ personal preference.So there is no inherent subjective differences re ‘good’ or ‘bad’ between our Tumblr layouts or choices re where to scare-quote words, except for their objective differences.

I like and can relate to an extreme degree with the sentence “Alec Niedenthal [the last name makes me think ‘Neanderthal’ in my head, repeatedly] reviewed Richard Yates on HTMLGIANT…”I also repeatedly thought “Neanderthal” while reading/reviewing Alec Niedenthal’s review of ‘Richard Yates.’I thought it was funny and sweet of Cody to mention this.Seems like how could one ‘not think of Neanderthal’ while seeing “Niedenthal.”

I have no clue what Cody means when he says that naming the characters Dakota Fanning and Haley Joel Osment is “like making ‘those annoying non-sequiturs’ into ‘those gosh-darn lovable lovebirds.’”Dictionary.com defines the term ‘non-sequitur’ (in the ‘Cultural Dictionary’) as “A thought that does not logically follow what has just been said: We had been discussing plumbing, so her remark about astrology was a real non sequitur.’”I think that maybe Cody is ‘misunderstanding’ the term ‘non-sequitur’ as [something other than what dictionary.com defines ‘non-sequitur’ as being].

I thought it was funny that Cody ‘shouted out’ to Zachary German.I think Cody’s assessment of Zachary being a “cool bro” was ‘spot on,’ as I think Zachary is a “cool bro” as well.

I appreciate Cody’s attempts at thinking ‘outside the box’ re his review.I like the sentence, “Something about how you get ‘embroiled in a minimalist soup that you never would expect to contain a palatable secret ingredient, feeling dumb for not realizing transparent vegetable [vegan?] broth can hide things from you too.’”That sentence was Cody describing the “’deepness’” in ‘Richard Yates.’

I like the whole last paragraph of the second section.Seems sweet re using ‘Richard Yates’ as a pseudonym to have sex with women.I feel like his friend who suggested using ‘Ernest Hemingway’ made a bad suggestion.I thought it was funny that Cody made plans to use a pseudonym to ‘hook up’ with a girl under, but didn’t talk to any girls.

I, like Cody, have wondered about the thought process behind the cover of ‘Richard Yates.’Seems interesting.Initially, I didn’t like the cover, but now I like it.I, like Cody, have wondered about possible sexual implications and ‘industry secrets.’

I, like Cody, like Bret Easton Ellis.I, like Cody, may or may not be ‘post-ironic,’ or, ‘post-post ironic’ or something, in some things that I do.I feel weird about terms like ‘post-[anything]’ and ‘ironic.’I feel like any term that ‘shuffles people into a category’ or something makes me feel uncomfortable.

I, like Cody, think of Justin Taylor vaguely as a ‘bigot bro,’ and respect Cody’s willingness to say that he thought of Justin Taylor in this manner.I, like Cody, think self-promotion is ‘good.’

Overall rating: 7/10 for reasons described above.

Entry 14 – richard yates contest

The author of this essay seems to dislike the word ‘hipster.’

I imagined, honestly, as if this were an actual possibility, upon reading the sentence “There’s a lot of Richard Yates sitting on the table near me,” that a lot of ‘tiny people, like tinier than midgets’ were ‘idly “playing”’ on the author of this essays table.

It is interesting to me that the author of this essay has noticed that Tao doesn’t seem to watch a lot, if any, television.Seems interesting, as something I think I’ve vaguely noticed, or thought of before, but never thought of to like, a ‘full’ degree, or something.Like I don’t think I’ve ever thought an entire sentence about Tao’s seeming lack of television watching.Seems interesting.‘Kill your T.V.’ I guess.

It seems weird to me that people think of Buddhism, as like, a thing, because I don’t, or something.Like I feel like Buddhism doesn’t… I don’t know, like, doesn’t mean anything, or something.Like Tao’s writing, ‘Richard Yates’ more specifically, doesn’t have to do with Buddhism, I don’t know.I feel like a lot of the ideas expressed by ‘Haley Joel Osment’ in ‘Richard Yates’ are just about being rational as opposed to irrational.I don’t know anything about Buddhism, I don’t know.I didn’t mean to say that the author of this essay says anything ‘bad’ or ‘good’ about Tao’s relation to Buddhism, I just thought I’d mention it, or something.

Seems [something].

I like the layout of the Blogger page that this essay is on, and the font seems easy to read.This seems to be a ‘real blog’ of someone who ‘didn’t “just” make a Blogger account for contest purposes, but blogs frequently, according to his “blog archive” on the sidebar of his blog.’

Overall rating: 7/10 for reasons described above.

Entry 15 – Google translating can make you look like a dyslexic teenager (Tao lin/Richard yates contest)

On the top of this persons Blogger page is a Charles Bukowski quote.They seem to be from another country.Seems so bleak, like, to read an entire transcribed Gmail chat, to me, right now.

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 16 – A Response to Responses to Tao Lin’s “An Account of Being Arrested” Article

The name of the Blogger page that this essay is on is called, “ULTRAVIRAL RADIATION.”According to his Blogger profile, the bloggers name is Drew and he is an “Experimenter, Student, Designer, Musician, Skeptic, Contributor, Explorer.”

This essay is not about ‘Richard Yates,’ but about an article that Tao wrote for ‘Gawker’ about getting arrested for trespassing.I personally enjoyed the article, laughing some while reading it, and enjoying it’s style and other things.There was a notable ‘shitstorm’ that followed the publishing of the essay in the comments section of the essay.

The author of this essay calls the ‘shit-talking’ in the ‘shitstorm’ “flack,” which is a term I’ve never seen or heard used before.Seems interesting.

I like and agree with the whole first paragraph once Drew’s ‘response’ begins.

In ‘part two’ of Drew’s essay, he writes, “I think to be an observational writer is to be one of the most genuine of “genuine” writers.”Seems sweet/interesting.

Drew seems to be intelligent, in my view, and I liked reading his essay, to a large degree, despite initial ‘turn offs’ re the font or style his blog header is ‘drawn/written’ in.I liked this essay.

Overall rating: 9/10 for reasons described above, to some degree.

Entry 17 – ~800 Line of Moderately Embarrassing and Possibly Homosexual/Incestuous Gmail Chat Between Ryan Tarr and Myself Concerning Tao Lin for a Contest

I really don’t think I want to read or review Gmail chats anymore…Feels hard to get into them, feels hard to like them, for me.

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 18 – Wednesday, July 28, 2010 (Gmail chat)

I don’t feel interested, at this point and time in my life, in reading Gmail chats about Tao Lin, between people I don’t know.It is nothing personal at all re the people talking, and it is ‘not about’ my like or dislike for said people.I just really don’t think I want to read or review Gmail chats anymore… Feels hard to get into them, feels hard to like them, for me, for now.

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 19 – A GMAIL CHAT WITH ALEX SHEPPARD RE TAO LIN AND RICHARD YATES BY TAO LIN

‘Can’t stress enough’ how bleak my life is… ‘Can’t stress enough’ how much I’ve endured re ‘this contest…’Repeatedly thinking things like, ‘God damn this shit…’ and ‘Fucking shit…’

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 20 – chat about tao lin for his contest

Seems [something].

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 21 – facebook chat re: tao lin book contest

whassup!

Overall rating: whassup!/10

Contest 2 entries

Entry 1 – 126+ minutes

Mallory Whitten and I created this ‘feature-length film’ re ‘Richard Yates,’ after reading ‘Richard Yates.’Together, we decided, that in terms of our ‘shitty-ass jobs,’ it would be ‘obviously’ ‘worth it’ to create a video that would win the contest re monetary reward. I told Tao that we were going to film a very long video.Some other things happened.

The morning of the ‘video shoot,’ I ingested 20 mg adderall.At some point during the day of the ‘video shoot,’ I purchased a 12-pack of Miller High Life brand beer. During a Gmail chat with Tao, I told him that I “bought a 12-pack in preparation,” re filming the video.

Mallory and I filmed the video, setting our goal at two hours, and achieving that goal.

Our ‘game plan’ was to not upload the video until August third, to ‘ensure a win,’ but Tao told me in e-mail that he would ‘give us the $250’ if we uploaded our video on the day of the e-mail to help generate interest in the contest.I obliged, and, after much trouble uploading the video, I uploaded the video.

Tao ‘live-e-mailed’ me, to some degree, while watching the video, saying things like, “lol…” and “i’m laughing like a jackass in library.”He suggested I record the ‘impromptu’ song I played at ’80:25’ as a “theme song” re ‘Richard Yates.’I recorded the song.

So far, I’ve spent $59.95 of the ‘prize money’ on a ‘vimeo plus’ account, in order to upload the video in it’s entirety, and $5 on ‘a beer’ for Jeff from ‘Bomb the Music Industry!’I told Tao, and intend on, using all of the $250 of ‘prize money’ to ‘further support the arts.’That is also what I intend to do with the ‘prize money’ if I win this contest, and what I intend to do with the money I obtained from investing in ‘Muumuu House.’

Tao e-mailed me last night saying that we could use $75 to ‘treat’ ‘ourselves’ to a ‘medium-expensive’ raw organic vegan dinner at Pure Food & Wine when I come to New York.  I agreed.  Seems sweet.

Overall rating: 9/10 for reasons described above, to some degree.Not 10/10 because I ‘started to feel “pretty shitty” towards the end of making the “movie”’ (still seemed worth it though!!!) and also because, in order for the video to be uploadable, I had to decrease the quality of the film, making the ‘move’ really pixelated.

Entry 2 – 48+ Minutes

I watched ~1-2 minutes of this video, feeling ‘pretty shitty’ about the entire time I was watching it, and for a little while after watching it.The people who created the video seemed to be like, in a restaurant, in my memory, and I think the person being filmed said some things about ‘not really know anything about Tao Lin,’ which seemed bleak, in my view, like, to film a 48+ video about someone one doesn’t really know anything about, or something.

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 3 – 19+ Minutes

I watched ~5-6 minutes of this video, feeling good about watching it the entire time I was watching it.Noah had told me on Gmail chat that he, Brittany Wallace, and Shannon Neale had created a video.He said that they were “on speed, drunk and [we] smoke pot during it.”He said, “it is really funny.”

It seemed funny, in my view, while I was watching it.I felt interested.

Last night, some nights after the Gmail chat, I was with Noah, Brittany, and Shannon at a bar in Kent, Ohio, and Shannon said something about the videos.Noah said something about my video being two hours long.I think I ‘drunkenly’ ‘threw my hands in the air’ or [some similar motion], expressing an uncontrollable grin, and said [something] in a vaguely ‘defensive, yet joyful’ tone of voice about ‘shitty-ass jobs’ and [something].

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Contest 3 entries

Entry 1 – 7 people

My initial reaction to watching this video seemed to include the thoughts, ‘this…,’ ‘this has to be staged…,’ and ‘this… was this staged?’It still, to some degree, ‘seems staged,’ I guess, but also seems just as ‘not staged’ as ‘staged,’ I don’t know.I had thoughts of ‘staging’ this contest, but I didn’t.I probably, given my context and goals, ‘staged’ ‘this shit’ and ‘raked in the $300.’Seems easy to stage.Seems easy.

Overall rating: [felt no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ feelings towards this, just seemed to not feel ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ to any degree]/10.

Entry 2 – 3 people

I initially like, didn’t ‘grasp,’ or see, to any degree, anything, or something.Like, I couldn’t tell who said, “Richard Yates,’ who turned their head, or if anyone ‘even’ said “Richard Yates” or turned their heads.I watched the video for a second time and saw both who said “Richard Yates” and who turned their heads.This video seemed, in my view, ‘definitely staged.’

‘Should I “just stage” a “fucking” video…’

Overall rating: 4/10.Couldn’t ‘see shit,’ really.Seemed ‘staged.’I don’t know.

Illegitimate entries

Entry 1 – not all participants are “in frame”

Seemed ‘like it didn’t fit any of the requirements,’ but still seemed okay and watchable, in my view, to a degree, seeing as I watched it.

Overall rating: 6.5/10

Entry 2 – not >70% “on topic,” [Tao] feel[s]

[Refer to statements/feelings above re reading/reviewing Gmail chats at this point and time in my life].

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 3 – not all participants are “in frame”/visible at the relevant moment

Tao sent me the link to this video in e-mail or a Gmail chat, saying, I think, in my memory, “lol…” and “the sun…” of the video.I am pretty sure it was a Gmail chat now, in which this interaction took place.I said things like, “lol…,” “’ay,’” and “ay, richard yates, lol.”I ‘liked’ this post on Tumblr.Seems funny/sweet.

Overall rating: 8/10, for reasons described above, to a small degree.

Entry 4 – not >70% “on topic,” [Tao] feel[s]

I didn’t read any of this.I feel so tired and ‘sick of,’ to some degree, writing this essay.Trying to endure.Seems so hard to endure, for some reason, while other things seem much easier to endure that maybe would seem like they ‘should’ be less easy to endure, or something.

Overall rating: Incomplete…

Entry 5 – uses an obvious “gimmick,” to a large degree, [Tao] feel[s], and doesn’t seem not >70% “on topic”

I didn’t read any of this.It seems so weird, like the person wrote >200k words, or something.

Overall rating: Incomplete…

*as of 8.1.10

A Comprehensive List Of Bands/Artists I Listened To While Reading ‘Richard Yates’ & Writing/Editing This Review

johnny hobo and the freight trains

dntel

the sidekicks

the anorexic olsen twin

[misc. music via speakers at border’s]

star fucking hipsters

bomb the music industry!

best friends forever

letters to the moon

jordan castro

defiance, ohio

monstrosity

the mountain goats

delay

broken social scene

michael jordan touchdown pass

A Comprehensive List re Places/Dates/Times I Read ‘Richard Yates’

7.20.10: bedroom, ~12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m., alone

7.21.10: beach, ~4:00 p.m – ~6:00 p.m., w/ Mallory

7.21.10: Mallory’s bedroom, ~10:30 p.m. – ~10:31 p.m., w/ Mallory, Lilly

7.22.10: backyard, ~11:45 a.m. – ~12:30 p.m., alone

7.22.10: bathroom, ~12:32 p.m. – ~12:38 p.m., alone

7.22.10: bathroom, ~12:59 p.m. – ~1:04 p.m., alone

7.22.10: bathroom, ~2:29 p.m. – ~2:40 p.m., alone

7.22.10: bedroom (bed), ~11:40 p.m. – 12:18 p.m., alone

7.23.10: bathroom, ~11:39 a.m. – ~11:48 a.m., alone

7.23.10: ‘piano room,’ ~2:00 p.m. – ~2:09, w/ Mallory

7.23.10: bathroom, ~3:29 p.m. – ~3:35 p.m., alone

7.23.10: ‘piano room,’ ~6:45 p.m. – 6:59 p.m., alone

7.23.10: bathroom, ~7:00 p.m. – 7:05 p.m., alone

7.23.10: ‘family room,’ ~7:06 p.m. – 7:25 p.m., w/ mom

Some Types Of People Who Might Like To Read ‘Richard Yates’

Fans of books by Tao Lin, ‘Eat When You Feel Sad’ by Zachary German, ‘The Bird Room’ by Chris Killen, ‘Less Than Zero’ and/or ‘Imperial Bedrooms’ by Bret Easton Ellis, [any books by ‘minimalist’/’page-turner-writing’ writers]…

People who are interested in people who shoplift, people who have ‘relationship problems,’ people who are ‘emotionally dysfunctional’ via depression, detachment, suicidal tendencies, people who are obese, people who are vegan, people who struggle with self-control, people with ‘eating disorders,’ people who have sex with people who are younger than them, people who have parents who ‘just don’t understand,’ people who cut themselves…

Hipsters/’alt kids’ trying to ‘get in on’ the ‘next big thing’ re ‘underground lit…’

Dakota Fanning and/or Haley Joel Osment and/or fans of Dakota Fanning and/or Haley Joel Osment…

Parents of kids who own ‘Richard Yates…’

People who have already read ‘Richard Yates…’

People who have read this review in its entirety…

Fans of [any of the bands listed above re ‘A Comprehensive List Of Bands/Artists I Listened To While Reading ‘Richard Yates’ & Writing/Editing This Review’]

 

Why I’ve Never Reviewed A Book Before, Why I’m Reviewing ‘Richard Yates’ Now, & Why I Most Likely Will Never Review A Book Again

I have never reviewed a book before, because I generally don’t like talking about books, or talking in general, for that matter, when it requires, I think, a degree of rhetoric and unsarcastic subjective opinion to do so.My opinions and thoughts and feelings about things change frequently, and are normally assessed by me with a high degree of sarcasm, always ‘knowing’ that my opinions, etc are ‘equally as arbitrary’ as everybody else’s, and that they ‘don’t matter,’ to some degree, in my view, when, like most instances that can be cited in this review, they do not affect physical reality and are not relevant in the context of ‘forever’ or ‘everything and nothing.’I don’t think I would have reviewed ‘Richard Yates’ if I didn’t know Tao personally.I don’t know.

I reviewed ‘Richard Yates’ because I wanted to support Tao via entering his contest, I wanted to make money, enabling me to further ‘support the arts’ to a degree unachievable without the money gained from winning this contest, I like writing assignments and it was, for the most part, fun to work on this review, and because I haven’t been posting very frequently on ‘The Nervous Breakdown’ and ‘Richard Yates’ and the contest re ‘Richard Yates’ gave me something to write about, and I think will generate ‘vaguely mad’ hits for ‘The Nervous Breakdown,’ to some degree.

I will most likely never review a book again, unless it is my own book or a book by one of my friends, or unless there is [some other compelling reason to review a specific book], because I don’t like ‘having to,’ to some degree, assume things about the universe in order to form opinions and ‘arguments’ and [other things that I feel are ‘undesirable’ to me, especially re thinking about books, or something].Seems bad, I don’t know.

Conclusion

I liked reading ‘Richard Yates’ by Tao Lin.I liked and disliked reading things on the internet that had to do with ‘Richard Yates’ by Tao Lin.I liked and disliked constructing this review; I think it will ‘pay off.’I would suggest purchasing/reading ‘Richard Yates’ by Tao Lin.

 

[Other Relevant Links]

http://richardyates.info/

http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/2010/07/3x-contest-re-richard-yates.html

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7665458-richard-yates

TAGS: , ,

JORDAN CASTRO (b. 1992) is the co-author of poetry chapbooks, Assuming Size and think tank for human beings in general (self-published, 2009). He is the author of No Ceilings (e-book, wtfpwm, 2009) and Orientation (e-book, Pangur Ban Party, 2009). He has been published widely on the internet. He maintains this blog. He can also be found on Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and YouTube.

57 responses to “A Comprehensive Review of Richard Yates, Tao Lin’s Second Novel”

  1. Greg Olear says:

    You have written here, Jordan, the first-ever book review longer than the book you’re reviewing — no small feat.

    I don’t like much Richard Yates (the writer) or Haley Joel Osment (the actor who crashed his Saturn in a DUI last year). I do, however, like Dakota Fanning.

    I am also compelled to mention that Wallace Shawn sold shares of his future earnings in the late 60s/early 70s. There was a big article about him and it in The New Yorker (of which his father was editor in chief, although well before this article ran) when I was in college, which is to say, when you were in diapers. He still pays those early investors, who did rather well for themselves…his plays didn’t do so well, but his voice work in the “Toy Story” franchise alone I’m sure paid off some vacation homes.

  2. marshall says:

    “On the top of the first page of ‘Richard Yates,’ in Tao’s handwriting, “Richard Yates / by Tao Lin, 7.16.10” was written, an upside down cross replacing the ‘I’ in ‘Richard’ and a ‘right-side-up’ cross replacing the ‘T’ in ‘Yates.’”

    Goddamn. Seems really good.

  3. marshall says:

    I feel like I’m going to die right now.

  4. The cover of ‘Richard Yates’ is pretty great.

    I am curious about your use of quotation marks. Outside of enclosing directly quoted matter, one would use quotation marks (rarely, I think) to enclose words that deserve special notice. It would seem that doing it a lot would sort of downplay the impact of the trick.

    And why is the title of Tao Lin’s book not italicized?

    Everything is not meaningless.

    • Gloria says:

      The type of quotes you’re referring to, Justin, are called scare quotes and, yes, they are supposed to used sparingly.

      Here’s a good article:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scare_quotes

      Note especially the part that says, “Style guides generally recommend the avoidance of scare quotes in impartial works, such as in encyclopedia articles or academic discussion.”

    • i don’t think that using scare-quotes frequently downplays the impact of them, or decreases their value, or something, in my view, as frequently using periods would not then make the period ineffective, or something.

      i think i explained why i use scare-quotes in the essay above, or why i like them

      i don’t know re the title of his book not being italicized, i don’t know very much re ‘grammar’/’punctuation rules’/[other things ‘of that nature’]. i am thinking not that it would have been a good idea to italicize the title, i think i will go back and do that. thank you

      i agree re everything is not meaningless

      here is an excerpt from a poem from my forthcoming poetry book, ‘if i wanted to feel happy i would feel happy already’…

      “i understand meaninglessness as a lack of meaning, meaning for
      ‘meaninglessness’ to exist as an understandable abstraction, ‘meaning’ must
      also exist, as one abstraction could not logically exist without the other, and it
      is in this way that life is not ‘inherently meaningless,’ but that life is ‘inherently
      [nothing],’ or ‘[nothing] [nothing],’ rather”

      • it seems that i no longer have the ability to edit this post.. unsure if this is temporary or permanent

        thank you re italics, now regretting, to some degree, not having italicized all book titles

      • I subscribe to that rule about prose that the storytelling ought to sound like you’re telling it to someone in a bar. It’s simply a matter of taste, I guess. I wouldn’t sit in a bar and make quote-bends with both index fingers while telling a story.

  5. sam says:

    yay, its a tao lin (b. 1983) clone (b. 1992)! and he liked ‘richard yates’! what a surprise, yo!

  6. “police generally do not help people”

    how dare u

    a policeman held the door for me at chipotle the other day

  7. @anti-sam, lol…
    @mallory, thank you
    @brittany, lol… i want chipotle now

  8. Simon Smithson says:

    The only work of Tao Lin’s I’ve been exposed to has been on TNB; such an in-depth review paints many surfaces of Richard Yates, Lin, and you, Jordan Castro.

    17,000 words as a review, in core and anscellany, is an impressive feat.

  9. petty says:

    I can’t believe you reviewed my gchat and gave it 2/10. Why is this like, seeming like a good idea for you to do? I am not a very excited Asian person. I am a normal feeling Caucasian person. And you are a fucking ass. I was not being “highly sarcastic.” The background is pea green, not yellow. You’re such a “douchebag” that you have totally made me think: wait, this is Tao Lin’s friend? Maybe I will not read or recommend his books. Amazing. You little twat.

    You shouldn’t use the internet to cut people down, to get on your high horse and ride people down. That is not nice. Or cool or productive. People everywhere already feel sad, lonely, hurt, depressed. They don’t need your douchbaggery to make them feel more sad, lonely, hurt, depressed. You are a snot. And snots are a dime a dozen.

    • “I do not unsarcastically ‘believe’ [any subjective sentiment] to be ‘true’ or ‘untrue,’ ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ It is a fact that two people can read the same thing and feel differently, which means that, ‘obviously,’ the thing being read has no inherent ‘value’ or [anything]. One’s assessment of the things I write about below is, in my view, equally as valid as what I have written. My goal was not to ‘personally offend’ or ‘suck anyone’s “dick.”‘ My goal was to write about what I thought about certain things at the time when I was writing about them. I think I accomplished this goal, to some degree. Thank you.”

      “there is nothing, as stated above in the preface to all of these reviews of essays and Gmail chats, inherently ‘wrong with’ or ‘bad’ about this Gmail chat.”

      i do not feel i was “using the internet to cut people down, to get on [my] high horse,” etc… i was trying to accurately/honestly write down my reactions, as they were happening…

      please refer to the statements i’ve quoted above from the essay (the first being my preface to all of my reviews re essays, the second being directly from my review of your Gmail chat) as ‘proof’ that i did not mean harm, nor do i feel that my initial assessment of your Gmail chat is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ or ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than yours.

      i did not insult you as a person, in any way, in my view… i did not “call you” an excited asian person, i said that that is what i thought of, after already having stated in my preface to [all reviews] that [see above].

      it seems, based on what you have written about it not being ‘good’ (my interpretation) to make people feel “more sad, lonely, hurt, [and] depressed,” in my view, it is not consistent, to then call me a “douche bag” and “snot” with the implicit intention of ‘cutting me down’ and/or making me feel more “sad, lonely, hurt [and] depressed.”

      though tao and i are friends, this does not mean we share the same views re your gmail chat or [many other things]… i would still suggest purchasing/reading his writing, as he had ‘little to nothing’ to do with my review of your Gmail chat besides him hosting the contest which posted it.

      i, again, did not mean for you to feel upset. i am sorry if you felt upset.

      • Johnny Blin says:

        I find it interesting that you don’t believe in good or bad in aesthetic judgment. Okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinions-even if they are wrong. To a certain extent, I get it: people have unique tastes. However, I think that people with opposite tastes can agree on the merits of some works. So, if nothing else, a work can be judged by its clarity and coherence. And if the intention is to be unclear and incoherent, then it can judged by that. An artist–I include writers–are successful when they express clearly their intentions. If I say something meaning one thing and you interpret it as something else entirely, that’s bad. Art has nothing to do with people’s feelings for it. You might like reading the yellowpages, the dictionary, etc., but a work of art it does not make. People can have different opinions about the merit of a work, but among these opinions there wrong ones and right ones. Something to think about it.

        • jordan says:

          “If I say something meaning one thing and you interpret it as something else entirely, that’s bad.”

          i don’t view that as bad, just different

          if a person says “i am an animal,” one person could interpret it literally and another could interpret it to mean “[speaker] is a strong, forceful person.” but the speaker could have meant something else entirely. who is at fault? who is “right” and who is “wrong”? no one. they’ve just had different life experiences or [something] and, in that moment, perceive the sentence a certain way. the sentence has no inherent meaning or qualitative value, as 3 different people can peerceive it 3 entirely different ways.

          i believe in “liking” and “not liking” art, or “effectively communicating” and “not effectively communicating,” but i don’t think art or words themselves have inherent meaning or qualitative value

          • Johnny Blin says:

            Why talk (or write) if not to be understood? Why did you presumably invest so much effort to write your review of Richard Yeats? If being understood and not being understood is all the same to you.

            What is this about “3 different people can peerceive it 3 entirely different ways” What are you referring to exactly? Your example? “I am an animal” First of all, I don’t think you can use your example as representative of the indeterminancy of all language. Some sentences are more or less indeterminate than your “I am an animal.” But, even by your example, it is total unmitigated bullshit to assert that “I am an animal” can be perceived in 3 entirely different ways by 3 different people.” Even if it was possible because you found three schizophrenic people to prove your point, it would still be nonsense. Language is indeterminate but it is not totally indeterminate–there is a limited range of possible meanings to “I am an animal.” You are parroting silly pomo theory that I doubt you’ve even read. There is language that is more and less indeterminate. An artist is someone who can control to a considerable degree the level of indeterminancy in the language she uses.

            Inherent value? I never used that term and I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. But I fail to see what that would have to do with “3 different people can peerceive it 3 entirely different ways”. So? I mean if I have an intended meaning for a sentence then that is my meaning whether or not “3 different people can peerceive it 3 entirely different ways”. Those 3 people have perceived my statement wrongly.

            At the most you have not made any logical argument to support your views. They remain your unsupported opinions. Which like assholes, everyone has.

            • jordan says:

              “Why talk (or write) if not to be understood?”

              i write because i like to write, for myriad reasons, understanding that those who read it will invariably perceive it uniquely. i don’t think people ‘understand’ or ‘don’t understand’ writing – they just perceive it differently.

              i talk in an attempt convey things – sometimes it seems effective, sometimes it doesn’t – but regardless, people will have their own understanding of words and sentences and ideas.

              “Why did you presumably invest so much effort to write your review of Richard Yeats?”

              i enjoyed the book, wanted to support tao, thought it would be funny and fun to create a gigantic review of the book, and because i wanted to win the prizes re this contest [http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/2010/07/3x-contest-re-richard-yates.html], which i did

              “…it is total unmitigated bullshit to assert that “I am an animal” can be perceived in 3 entirely different ways by 3 different people.”

              no it’s not…

              re “inherent value,” i didn’t say you said that…i was just typing thoughts i was thinking re the subject

              “I mean if I have an intended meaning for a sentence then that is my meaning whether or not “3 different people can peerceive it 3 entirely different ways”. Those 3 people have perceived my statement wrongly.”

              i don’t view anyone in the above scenario as perceiving your statement “wrongly,” just differently. the 3 people perceiving the statement could view your meaning as “wrong.” no one is “right” or “wrong,” it would just be a miscommunication due to an unmeasurable set of circumstances before said interaction.

              “At the most you have not made any logical argument to support your views. They remain your unsupported opinions. Which like assholes, everyone has.”

              i don’t know what is logical and i don’t view this as an argument

              i’m simply typing thoughts

              • Johnny Blin says:

                So you write because you enjoy it? You don’t write because you enjoy conveying something meaningful to your readers? You enjoy to write even when you don’t convey what you mean. You don’t have anything meaninful to say, nothing that you are invested enough to care one way or the other if you convey effectively what you mean to say. You enjoy writing for the sake of writing, for the sake of seeing your words and thoughts ink a piece of paper, you enjoy creating noise to attract attention to yourself. You enjoy having a picture of yourself with a buttowdown shirt and a moustache next to the writing that you don’t care one way or the other if it has conveyed what you mean.

                You don’t own that your mouth spews bullshit ceaselessly. I wouldn’t expect you would. And yet you have offered no evidence or reasons to prove otherwise.

                You write your thoughts but you take no care to provide reasons for your thoughts. This is makes your thoughts unreasonable rubbish.

                • jordan says:

                  “So you write because you enjoy it?”

                  yes

                  “You don’t write because you enjoy conveying something meaningful to your readers?”

                  i don’t think i can/care to control how much meaning my readers gain from my writing

                  “You enjoy to write even when you don’t convey what you mean.”

                  i convey meaning to myself

                  “You don’t have anything meaninful to say, nothing that you are invested enough to care one way or the other if you convey effectively what you mean to say.”

                  i don’t think anyone has anything inherently meaningful to say

                  i think i am probably significantly ‘more invested’ in caring for writing and the things i write

                  i care about effectively conveying what i want to convey, but i don’t think i have the ability to control how much ‘meaning’ s/he views it with

                  “You enjoy writing for the sake of writing, for the sake of seeing your words and thoughts ink a piece of paper, you enjoy creating noise to attract attention to yourself.”

                  i enjoy writing for the sake of writing, for the sake of seeing my words and thoughts documented, because i like remembering things and creating art that i feel satisfied with and that other people may or may not ‘find’ meaning in or relate with in a meaningful manner. i initially started enjoying reading and writing because it helped me to feel less alone and depressed via relating to the words/characters, helped me to view things differently. however, i don’t view the things i read/write as ‘inherently helpful in [aforementioned specific ways],’ as anyone can experience or not experience that, but as potentially helpful, etc. if it isn’t, however, it still existed and helped me feel better.

                  “You enjoy having a picture of yourself with a buttowdown shirt and a moustache next to the writing that you don’t care one way or the other if it has conveyed what you mean.”

                  as long as i look fly and have writing to hold.

                  “You don’t own that your mouth spews bullshit ceaselessly”

                  my mouth doesn’t spew bullshit ceaselessly.

                  “And yet you have offered no evidence or reasons to prove otherwise”

                  i think i have

                  “You write your thoughts but you take no care to provide reasons for your thoughts”

                  i think all thoughts/words/actions, etc, can be viewed as ‘output’ and they’re all ‘simply’ results of ‘input’ – everything ever, or something

                  but sometimes i explicitly/implicitly speculate on the reasons, other times i don’t

                  “This is makes your thoughts unreasonable rubbish.”

                  no it doesn’t

  10. petty says:

    Your whole weird and convoluted failure of understanding happens when you say you are just expressing your feelings and that therefore no one ought to be hurt. Because you expressed your feelings. And I am hurt. People express feelings, responses, emotional or mental reactions to things. And other people are hurt. Maybe this activity is not harmless. Maybe you are wrong. Maybe I am too sensitive. Maybe you didn’t, um, consider the possibility of very sensitive people. Maybe you are trying to write like Lin. Maybe it annoys me. But I don’t say so. Because I don’t want to be an ass. An ass. I don’t want to be one. I don’t get on my high horse. And ride people down. And as to this idea that it’s somehow “inconsistent” of me to call you a snot. Yes. Yes. This is true and obvious. “Obvious.” Obvious. Life is inconsistent. People are inconsistent. “Cloven.” See Salinger. Inconsistencies abound. I admit to them. Openly and freely. I will not see above. I will not give you or this another moment of life time. Or Tao Lin for that matter. I can do without this scene. You should take the energy of being sorry and writing stuff like this post, this huge, epic post … take that energy and focus it on thinking twice before you say/write things. “Will this hurt some loser on the internet?” Because I am that loser. And I am hurt. Peace.

    • “Your whole weird and convoluted failure of understanding happens when you say you are just expressing your feelings and that therefore no one ought to be hurt. Because you expressed your feelings. And I am hurt.”

      i didn’t ever say that “no one ought to be hurt.” i think that, objectively, it is your interpretation that is causing the “hurt,” not my writing, as [any other person/every other person] could/would percieve it/understand it differently.

      i don’t think that “this activity” is inherently ‘harmful,’ if that’s what you mean, i guess, in that way, it is not inherently ‘harmless’ either…

      i have ‘thought twice….’ more than twice… i think that the possibility to hurt [anyone] via [anything] always exists and that to focus on that, moreso than the objective facts re what is happening, could cause someone to not do anything ever, if applied to all situations, or something

      once again, i did not intend to ‘hurt you,’ and based on my philosophy, it is not my writing that hurt you, it was your interpretation of my writing

      • Justin RM says:

        Jordan bro,
        I seriously hope you reconsider calling what you have here a “philosophy.” Indeed, to say something like, “i [sic] did not intend to ‘hurt you,’ and based on my philosophy, it is not my writing that hurt you, it was your interpretation of my writing” is—no matter how you interpret it—a rather lazy way of evading responsibility for what you’ve written. Of course, perhaps there is some sort of ontological gap between you and your words. And maybe the words you write are like little troops that can magically cross over metaphysical divides. But I seriously doubt it.
        Better yet, get acquainted with philosophy—take some classes in University—and ditch the whole “subject/object” nonsense. It’s old hat, bro. I don’t think you want to sound like you haven’t read your Heidegger. No. Not you. Read up, bro. Read up. Before you know it, you’ll be talking about Dasein this and Dasein that. It’s fun, trust me.

        • @justin, i did not say that my philosophy is that “it is not my writing that hurt you,” i said that “based on my philosophy, it is not my writing that hurt you…” said philosophy being that since humans can percieve external situations/circumstances/etc differently, and can choose, via ‘cognitive-behavioral therapy,’ to some degree, how they react emotionally to [external thing], then it is not [external thing] that is causing the emotion, it is the person thinking/understanding/feeling [whichever emotion they feel].

          you wrote, “no matter how you interpret it—a rather lazy way of evading responsibility for what you’ve written.” which is not objectively true. you did not say, “in my view” or “it seems to me” or [anything suggesting that you did not think yourself to be ‘100% right,’ in my view].

          i don’t know what ‘ontological means,’ i looked it up and knew at some point, but have since forgotten. if you mean or are implying or asking if i feel detached from my words, the answer is yes. i feel detached from almost everything almost all of the time, enabling, in my view, a ‘more rational, objective, and calm/clear’ perception/assessment of the things in my physical reality.

          i have not read heidegger…

          [see below to read my correspondance w/ ‘petty’ after the comments stopped, if you’d like, for more info. re how ‘petty’ feels now]

          i hope that this response seems adequate, to me, later, as i am in nyc and thinking about ‘hurrying’ to ‘pure food and wine’ in ~5 min. to eat expensive vegan food w/ tao, megan boyle, and mallory whitten.

          have a good day bro, i will honestly try to read heidegger…

          @marshal, dude

  11. marshall says:

    After reading Jordan Castro’s essay, I felt like deleting my blog.

    I’m not sure why it made me feel like deleting my blog.

    There doesn’t seem to be any reason to delete my blog.

    I’m going to delete my blog and start blogging here instead.

    After reading Jordan Castro’s essay, I wrote a poem.

    Here’s my poem.

    (I hope I did the HTML right.)

    i will never write a book

    just read jordan castro’s big review of richard yates and the richard yates contest and the other richard yates contest entries

    feel like tao lin is that ‘most photographed barn’ in don delillo’s ‘white noise’

    commented ‘i feel like i’m going to die right now’

    feel like there is an immovable object on my chest, like a barbell

    considering getting a tattoo that says ‘tao lin’ in the same place and font (helvetica?) as tao lin’s ‘fuck america’ tattoo

    (seems really stupid, but in a good way, or maybe just in a really stupid way)

    feel like i should translate zachary german’s book into spanish: come cuando te sientas triste

    (actually started to do this; don’t know if i will continue)

    feel like i should publish a poetry book of plagiarized tao lin blog comments

    (won’t do this)

    feel like i should try to be the ‘best’ tao lin imitator

    (am not confident i can do this)

    it seems like the real subject of all of this is ‘fame’

    like the secret of having a popular blog is to blog about popular things

    how can i get mad hits

    (i’m not even going to put quotes around ‘mad hits’; i mean it unsarcastically)

    how can i blog without wanting to kill myself

    i’m going to kill myself

    i feel like i’m going to kill myself

    i’m not going to kill myself

    feel like i’m john hinckley jr

    feel like i’m mark david chapman

    feel like i’m charles manson

    if you haven’t read those wikipedia pages and all of the wikipedia pages linked on those wikipedia pages, this poem won’t make sense

    i want this poem to make sense

    open a new tab in your browser and read those wikipedia pages

    i wrote a song and the lyrics were: ‘kill cops / kill cops / kill cops / kill cops / kill yourself / kill yourself / kill yourself / kill yourself’

    the chords were: ‘Am / Am / Am / Am / Am / Am / Am / Am’

    seems like i should become a comedian

    like some ‘avant-garde’ comedian like andy warhol or david blaine

    seems like i should tell jokes and try to make people laugh

    i’m going to end this poem with a joke

    i can’t think of any jokes

    Thanks, everyone.

  12. here is the unedited correspondance that took place 8.5.10 in e-mails, after the commenting between ‘petty’ and i stopped

    petty: can we please not continue this correspondence that is somehow magically being sent to my inbox? i, um, was just saying. that is how it goes. person a is cool and brash. person b is pathetic and hurt. person a is like, i am the man, you are not thinking and interpreting anything right and you are inconsistent. and person b swims away sadly. end of story.

    me: petty,

    i did not say that you are not interpreting anything ‘right’ or ‘wrong’…

    i don’t think that simplifying what is going on in terms of me as ‘cool and brash,’ etc, can logically draw conclusions re the situation, in my view

    i do not think you are ‘pathetic’ or [any word nearly meaning ‘pathetic’]…

    i honestly did not mean to hurt you, at all…

    petty: the problem here is that i keep “simplifying what is going on” but i can’t help it. i guess i just am an emotional person. how does this end with me being sorry? i think that … you know, this is basically my fault, just internet activities in the evening, you know, the usual going around reading and writing, and, now it’s just devolved, like, no one should have to deal with me right now, but this was a nice normal sort of encounter, on your part, keeping your cool, being cool and calm, normal, even-keeled, thanks, that was nice of you, i am trying to learn how to be more cool and calm and this will be useful for future times, “don’t freak out like you did that one time,” so, okay, thanks, goodnight, sorry, heh … this is awkward for me now, goodnight.

    me: petty,

    i understand why you could/would feel upset after reading my review, i just wanted to point out why, in my view, you could also interpret it another way, the way i interpreted it.

    i feel good re you seem to have read what i wrote, as opposed to ‘simply’ dismissing it and calling me more names… lol…

    i think that it is always good to try to think rationally, look at what seems to be objecive, and to assess things calmly, rationally, and in a mildly detached manner, if possible, so as to avoid negative feelings like what you experienced after reading my review

    i used to be / still am, to varying degrees, a ‘severely depressed/emotional’ person, i think i just learned how to transfer the energy i spent being depressed/thinking negatively into trying to be productive and thinking objectively

    i truly did not mean to make you feel upset, and am honestly sorry that i did

    i am glad that this situation might/could potentially benefit you in future situations

    so, perhaps, we could say that out of this came a ‘good’ thing? seems sweet

    i hope you sleep well

    i have to wake up at 7 a.m to catch a plane to new york and it is 2:11 a.m and i am wide awake

    goodnight,

    – jordan

  13. dwoz says:

    This is what it feels like to drive by the spot where, only last week, a train hit a semi-truck loaded with swine bound for the slaugherhouse, resulting in a derailment.

    Of the train, not the slaughter. The slaughter happened slightly ahead of schedule and resulted in a lower yield of marketable product.

    And today, I drove across that very spot.

  14. Jwg says:

    I don’t think you (Jordan Castro) were “Jk re ‘fuck off'” when discussing what you thought of when you thought of revolutionaries. I think that was the only spontaneous/emotionally honest thing that you wrote in this review, telling the reader to fuck off. What I mean by ’emotionally honest’ is that you didn’t examine ‘fuck off’ and then present it in more precise terms while simultaneously detaching yourself from the emotion of ‘fuck off’, or whatever it is you do instead of writing something like ‘fuck off’. This is all very presumptuous, but that’s how I felt when I read it.

    Sweet review. I enjoyed it a lot. I think a good summary of this review is ‘Jordan Castro rubs himself vigorously against something that once belonged to Tao Lin, like a coat or a hat or something’. I don’t mean that in a negative way. Kind of sexy, maybe.

    • @jwg, lol… i think my thought process re “So fuck off,” was as follows – after completing the previous sentence, i thought sarcastically something like, ‘so fuck off,’ or ‘so fuck off bitchesss.’ i dismissed the thought almost instantly as not something to write. i then decided to write it, with intentions of feeling [a certain feeling, i think] after writing it. then i wrote “Jk re ‘fuck off'” i think to ‘add’ [something] and to also let [person reading] that i was kidding. perhaps it was possibly ‘the most’ ‘spontaneous,’ to some degree, but i think, in my view, all parts of the essay was equally as honest, to some degree, as all other parts of the essay.

      thank you for reading/i am glad you liked reading my review. sweet re ‘rubs himself vigorously against something that once belonged to tao…’

  15. emily says:

    internet crushing
    seeping into ?

  16. ami says:

    hoooly shit i only just saw this!

    i was v. excited to see that you wrote a lot about my entry

    i’d like to defend my unsarcastic usage of “good” and “bad” though; I understand that these terms are problematic (both in that they’re vague and extremely subjective), but I think they’re the most honest/accurate terms to use in place of “appealing (to me)” and “unappealing (to me): i.e. when I read something that appeals to me I think, “this is good” and it means only that I like it, not that it meets any kind of objective, normative standard. it just seems unnecessary to make that distinction in an essay that’s informal and also mostly a self-analysis of what I like and don’t like, how I feel about tao lin’s writing, rather than an actual analysis of tao lin’s writing. maybe this doesn’t actually change anything though and it’s still off-putting to read things like “good” and “bad” because they come off as too declarative.

    wait did you comment anonymously on my post?

    “The fact that two different people can read the same book and feel differently towards the book, to me, illustrates how humans ‘choose,’ to some degree, how to react to external situations/circumstances/[other things], and how ‘alienation’ is not what is felt ‘by default.’”

    i completely disagree with this, though; especially because people don’t choose the way they feel about or react to things; for example, you and I both read SFAA but you did not choose to like it, and I did not choose to feel ambivalent towards it. the difference in the ways in which we reacted to the same text is evidence that our personalities and past experiences (i.e. who we are) determine how we see the world, and I will never be able to read SFAA and feel what you felt, and no two people will ever really understand each other because each person lives a life completely unique to themselves (and is therefore alone).

    also I don’t think it’s so much that Tao appears to write without thinking about the reader, but that he deliberately isn’t letting the reader “in” to the world of the novel, he’s keeping the reader at bay by providing minimal information. And I would disagree that it makes his writing more honest; more objective, yeah, but it doesn’t feel honest because honest (to me) implies an interpersonal relationship, a sort of intimacy that I don’t think SFAA really establishes. But then again my citation/evidence for this is the way SFAA made me feel, which is just completely different from the way it made you feel, so our differences in opinion can never really be resolved. You didn’t feel alienated. I did. We can each understand to a certain extent, intellectually, what the other person is saying, but we’ll never agree because we didn’t feel the same thing.

    also i don’t think i’m that old compared to other tao lin readers; i saw these twelve year olds asking for “you are a little bit happier than i am” in a bookstore once. wait are you old???

    also i’m sorry I only read the part of this post that talked about my post, one day I’ll read the whole thing and have something thoughtful to say. i think it’s really admirable that you read all of these entries and wrote up something about each of them, it’s kind of crazy (in a good way).

    ppps I don’t dislike tao lin, I’m just saying I used to like him a lot more, but now I have mixed feelings.

    • re usage of “good”/”bad” – in my view, and objectively, there is a difference between the phrases “i like this” and “this is good.” while reading your essay, in my memory, i saw “good” and “bad” used in declarative sentences, and, in my view, ‘that is all that “matters”‘ because that is what is written. seems good though, in my view, that you didn’t mean it ‘like that’ and that you seem to feel similarly to me re “good” and “bad” not being inherent in art.

      re ‘did i comment anonymously on your post’ – no

      re humans choosing to feel [any certain way] – i understand, and, to a large degree, agree with what you typed; however, i think you may have ‘misunderstood’ what i meant by ‘choose.’ in my view, while reading ‘SFAA’ for example, one thinks things about the book after or while reading it, then, based on his/her thoughts, he/she feels certain things about the book. what i meant is that, in my view, via cogntion, one is able to understand what they are thinking, and assess/analyze/potentially change their thoughts, and therefore feelings, towards said book. i think i possibly did a ‘poor job’ at describing what i meant, and am possibly doing a ‘poor job’ describing now, re i am very tired/’coming down’ from valium/alcohol. i agree completely, i think, in my current view, re “no two people will ever really understand each other because each person lives a life completely unique to themselves (and is therefore alone).”

      i don’t think, based on what i know about tao from talking to him/being friends with him, that tao ‘deliberatley doesn’t let the reader “in” to the world of the novel.’ i just… don’t think that he does that. i feel as though your feelings of alienation re tao is not tao’s ‘fault’ (though is not yours either), or something, i don’t know… but i am almost 100% sure that tao does not deliberately try to alienate anyone.

      re what honesty means to you – i think that, perhaps, you ‘just’ don’t understand tao, or something, to some degree, or at least the way he ‘operates.’ based on what i know from talking to him/being friends with him, his writing is ‘as honest as can be.’

      re being old… i don’t know, i think i just thought that at the time, like, i thought “this person seems old” or something… i can’t remember… seems… [complete thought]

      i am not old, in my view. i am seventeen years old.

      it is okay that you only read the part of this post that had to do with you, in my view. that seems very understandable, in my view, and if you do not ‘end up’ reading any more, that seems fine to, in my view; however, i do think if you’re interested in the plot of ‘richard yates’ or in me or something, it might be ‘good,’ if those are some of your goals, to read more of this essay.

      seems sweet

      • Johnny Blin says:

        I am re-writing a reply that belongs better here. You assert that “good” or “bad” doesn’t exist inherently in a work of art. I haven’t seen you argument to support this conclusion. I mean it is an interesting idea. I must say that the way in which you frame your thoughts appear as Tao Lin imitations. This must be an inside joke. You and Tao Lin and crew must be eating vegan food and drinking beer and taking drugs and laughing your asses off. Haha.

        I don’t even think you believe what you write. I don’t think you know what you believe.

        If good and bad doesn’t exist in art, then art doesn’t exist. If your positive feeling is what makes art, then art could be a dictionary or geometry textbook. So by your definition, Tao Lin is not worth reading anymore than a book about cement, if that is what I happen to like. This reduces you and Tao Lin and any artist to meaninglessness.

        • jordan says:

          i am in a coffee shop eating a lemon poppyseed muffin alone and not laughing

          i agree re “i don’t think you know what you believe,” my beliefs/feelings are constantly changing and i just type whichever ones i think i believe at the moment i’m typing

          i think that a dictionary or a geometry textbook can be viewed as art

          i didn’t say that i don’t like or dislike things – i said that there is no inherent “good” or “bad” in art. i have preferences but i recognize that they are arbitrary, based on certain things, and not better or worse than anyone else’s preferences, just different

          i would rather read a tao lin book than a book about cement, but there are other people who would probably rather read a book about cement

          i don’t think art is inherently “meaningless” – for “meaninglessness” to exist as an understandable abstraction, “meaning” would also have to exist – i just think art isn’t inherently anything…it’s just a thing…like a chair or a table or a geometry textbook. people will perceive it and use it how they will and what they choose to think/do isn’t the “fault” of the thing. for example, if someone tried to shove a football in their ass, it wouldn’t make the football “good” or “bad,” the football would be the same.

  17. JK says:

    Dear Jordan,

    Seems like some controversy arose from some of your other reviews, but I have no complaints about your comments on mine. Yes, I was hoping to win the contest, but you obviously deserved to win. I spent no more than an hour on my essay and I could not do what you did in that time.

    You were correct in your retrospective intuition that I do not have a novel published (nor even a story). I am commenting to clear up this Dakota Fanning issue: no, she is definitely not in The Sixth Sense. She is in the Runaways, which I rented a day or two after writing the essay. She is also in Twilight which I didn’t know and think is weird and ironic in light of Runaways. Or vice-versa. But she is definitely not in the Sixth Sense,

    I don’t know if your chapbook offer is still open but it might be fun to read. This is actually my last day in Illinois. Thanks for reviewing the blog post, again. Until I have a novel, it’s the best consolation there is.

  18. Johnny Blin says:

    Jordan,
    I am apologizing for being a jerk with my post. Your piece was well-written–you have a unique voice. I guess that’s all I have to say. Have a nice day.

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