When Joe Walsh Joined the Eagles

1. Check out these visualizations of the entire Jack Kerouac novel On The Road, created by artist Stefanie Posavec. The sample above is the most analog of the series, which shows how colorful vector graphics can be used to display various data points about any novel. I’m not sure how exactly this would be turned into meaningful information, but I like looking at it. (Via Boing Boing, which also shares this Beat pastiche today.)

2. If an artist tried to chart a Richard Brautigan novel in vectors, I’m pretty sure the result would look something like a cup of bowtie pasta (al dente) in white cheddar sauce. Here’s an interview with the late novelist’s daughter Ianthe Brautigan, who wrote a very good book about her father several years ago and is now, I’m glad to hear, working on a novel.

3. “All of this makes one wonder where the proponents of a ‘clash of civilizations’ are going to find another civilization to clash with.” Hosam Aboul-Ela on Words Without Borders blog.

4. Good for London. By the way, if you or anyone you know would like a wider understanding of the historic context behind the world’s bottomless outrage at the Chinese government, I strongly recommend reading Mao: The Untold Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. This is an unabashedly partisan book, but fact-filled and important nonetheless. I wrote an article about it here last year.

5. Back to the fun side of life: The Office is coming back! And John Kraskinski’s film of a David Foster Wallace book is actually going to happen, though, interestingly it is a book of short stories rather than a massive novel as originally hinted. Based on this interview, I am really looking forward to seeing this film.

6. Former gawker Emily Gould has joined GalleyCat! Since I like Gawker and I also like GalleyCat, I think this is pretty cool. In terms of relative talents, Gould is certainly a heavyweight here; this is sort of like when Joe Walsh joined the Eagles. As far as expected changes go, I am expecting to see many more exclamation points in GalleyCat! It’s already happening! Somebody else is joining GalleyCat too.

9 Responses

  1. Two reasons that, for all its
    Two reasons that, for all its boundless optimism, utopianism and great music, the ’60s counterculture was doomed from the start:

    1. Everyone was on drugs.

    2. Everyone was reading Chairman Mao (or at least carrying his picture, and thereby not making it with anyone anyhow).

  2. Instant karma’s gonna get
    Instant karma’s gonna get you
    Gonna knock you right on the head
    You better get yourself together
    Pretty soon you’re gonna be dead
    What in the world you thinking of
    Laughing in the face of love
    What on earth you tryin to do
    Its up to you, yeah you!

    John Lennon

  3. Everythng is doomed from the
    Everythng is doomed from the start. Change is the pattern of life and the universe. We are mere pinpoints when compared to the Roman or Egyptian longevity.

    Many in the 60s were NOT political in the sense of supporting this or that. Many saw the holes in subjecting one self to this or that political view. The was an on going battle though not physical between the Berkeley radicals and the Haight hippies. Maybe certain ideas were common like end the war though.

  4. I refuse this doom and gloom
    I refuse this doom and gloom philosophy. We are more than pinpoints of light on a screen. After all human ingenuity counts for something. “God, as I am found of saying ,”is right here at your elbow.” The sixties was a time that I lived through and we got from point A to point B. There is a connecting line between now and then. If one cannot see the connection, then one is condemned to repeat it over and over.

    Yes, we did not solve the problem of war. War is a constant, so far, in the continuum of human civilization so far. But some day soon…that day is now. We need our religious and social institutions to catch up with our technology. I am not afraid of us being a large cog in the machine of one world government. However, each country, to continue the metaphor, must have autonomy and home rule. Far fetched? No, not really. The United Nations could be a tool in which to form a world government and a world police force. Problems on the magnitude of regional hunger, poverty, and disease cannot be solved by our country, nor private means alone.

    That is one reason the United Nations was formed.

  5. Thanks for the heads up on
    Thanks for the heads up on the vector graphics. It was fun to see different books compared. It makes me want to write a book or story with sentence length in place to fit or make a specific pattern.

    For example, if this sentence word length plot were used, and every sentence in a book were the same length it would simply be a square. Begin with two sentences of one word, then two of two, two of three, two of four etc… and you’d make a spiral like pattern starting from the center.

    You could write a book like an etch-a-sketch and make a picture by carefully choosing your sentence structure.

    She had to work hard and mark up a hard copy and input the data. But electronic text is amenable to parsing. I can see software available for this and a writer can input his data (ie prose) and check it for the pattern. Re-do the writing to check again until is looks like something he’d like.

    She definitely has done some great stuff here and has impressed me a lot with the creative combination of analytical techniques and writing. It’s something new and fun.

    What does it mean? I don’t know. I remember from some old publication or recording of some type Corso saying let’s cut it up to see what it really means. That was rather dubious to think the cut-up technique would actually lead to any sort of higher level meaning.

    But this actually could lead to a higher level comparative analysis of literature that is not subjective.

    Would the various patterns of different authors be more or less similar and would the patterns reflect the already subjective similarities or differences we see among writers?

    This is right up Google’s alley to my mind. Google should begin to do this for classic literature and begin to see which authors share patterns.

    By the way this is very similar to the sort of thing people were up in arms about concerning electronic eavesdropping — ie patterns of phone calls were assessed to see if given patterns develop that include known terrorists. It is a way to make sense out of billions of phone calls in terms of association groups or clusters.

    These sort of analyses are being used for many things including sociological or psychological studies, gene expression patterns or tracking terrorist networks. It’s a way of finding an order in seemingly random information or behavior. I think these sort of analyses were initially developed to look at things like cloud formations and patterns.

    It’s seldom that we are presented with something so original and delightful, so thanks for bringing it to our attention, Levi.

  6. I thrive on political and
    I thrive on political and philosophic discussion.
    Exchange of ideas are easier when there are alternative sites like this blog and LitKicks.com to post on. I would like to engage discussion about
    the misguided philosophy of Mao Zedong. So far, I have no takers and I cannot even lampoon him and get posted. In my view, it seems a bit strange to review a book on Mao and then not let anyone post about it. See above,MAO, THE UNTOLD STORY by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday.

  7. Brooklyn: I am addressing
    Brooklyn: I am addressing the fact that two of my lampoons of Chairman Mao were removed from this site’s posts. I don’t care to be more specific because it is obvious to me… If it is not obvious to the editors, than it can’t be helped.

    I don’t write lampoons to offend people, but in view of the upcoming olympics, and the crackdown in Tibet, I was trying to interject a little ribald humor.

  8. Steve, I remember removing a
    Steve, I remember removing a post (I don’t remember two, though perhaps I’m forgetting) from you about Chairman Mao, not because it was humorous but because I could not possibly figure out what you were trying to say. I very rarely remove a comment from these pages, but if I ever do it won’t be because it’s funny or ribald or satirical.

    If you can remember what you were saying with your earlier post, please try again and I’ll hopefully understand it this time.

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