Category Archives: Pulp


For about ten years now, I’ve thought that the best palliative to complex, inundating, and over-the-top commercial culture are acts of pleasure, large and small. Whether it’s sex, reading, conversation, or smelling a furry rabbit tail, whatever pleasure one takes in life is also inherently subversive, outre, and difficult for the larger culture to reclaim.
I’m no longer so sure about this, as it seems that most of the pleasure undertaken in the U.S. is now pretty commercialized to begin with. Our voyeurism has turned inward and it’s not clear where one person’s pleasure sales are another person’s wails. True rest is still very transcendent and transgressive. In this month’s issue of Utnet, Rabbi Arthur Waskow writes the cover piece called Reclaiming Our Day of Rest. It’s possible that doing nothing — and I mean nothing — can put one on the true path outside of commercial existence. “Nothing” can’t be bought, it can’t be packaged, and it can’t be managed. “Nothing” lives by itself, it requires no feeding or grooming, and it costs nada. And, at least for some, it can be the ultimate pleasure.


Every so often, a magazine comes out that carries every article, image, and author that you’d ever want to grace your bedside table. It happens to me maybe once every three years and it happened today. The November 3, 2003, New Yorker is superbly cool. Here’s why:
Tina Fey, the cutest and smartest Saturday Night Live actress ever, is featured in a nice “anchor” piece.
• David Sedaris, one of my all-time favorite authors, writes about growing up under the sign of Halloween.
• A large reproduction of a new painting by my second favorite artist, John Wesley, appears on page 26. (His new show is at Fredericks Feiser.)
• John Updike, another fave writer who alternately bugs and cajoles me, writes about my third favorite artist, Francisco Jose Goya.
• In a story about Merce Cunningham, photographer Richard Avendon shoots Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Jon Thor Birgisson of Sigur Ros with Cunningham. I do like these two bands an awful lot. (Why all three men have eyelid problems in the photos is beyond me.)
• The new book by David Foster Wallace, the demi-god of contemporary writing, is reviewed and I can’t wait to pick up a copy of Everything and More: A Compact History of Infinity
• Peter Schjeldahl, a good and sometimes great art critic, writes about the current retrospective of Philip Guston at the Met. Guston beats all hands down; he is my supreme aesthetic leader, my joystick, my uber-fave. (My goodness.)