Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Tao's New Book
Tao Lin's new book is phenomenal. My favorite poem in it is the Ugly Fish Poem.
I wanted to be critical and say something negative, but I cannot think of anything negative to say about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, so I will say something negative about everyone who has a problem with Tao Lin.
A lot of people say a lot of things about Tao and his work. I just deleted a huge paragraph describing all the crap people say, but I figure if you want to know, you can run a search. The problem people have with Tao is really only that it appears that he might be having a good time. Much of his work has ostensibly to do with depression and loneliness, and some of it is "tongue-in-cheek" or "sarcastic" so that makes some people think it isn't "serious." Those people forget that, even though literature can often be depressing, it is only there to be enjoyed, sometimes because it is depressing.
Tao is not pretending. The people who act serious all the time are the people who are really pretending. Think about who we call pretentious. If Tao pretended to be serious all the time, he would be accepted more by the "industry" and the "main stream" but as it stands, he has a huge fan base of readers who are sick of disingenuous, stodgy writers. When you read Tao's work, you're having fun, and you get the feeling that maybe, maybe, maybe he's having fun, too. That's a hard connection to get in literature. And many pseudo-intellectuals, the ones who usually have the loudest voices, think that real intellectuals aren't allowed to have fun.
The other reason that idiots hate Tao Lin is that he is the closest thing we have nowadays to a literary prodigy. Prodigies are extremely rare in literature. We love them and we hate them. They make every writer feel lazy and slow. Most writers don't get to writing good stuff until they're older. The young ones are exciting and inspire pangs of jealousy. Basically, if you write a good novel or book of poetry before you're thirty and get it published and get people to read it and like it, you're a prodigy. Tao has two books of poetry, both of which are good, the second of which is genius; he has a good novel out; he has a fantastic book of short stories; he's 25. Doesn't that piss you off? Me too, a little. But to bash him for it is stupid.
Another pitfall of considering the author while reading.
You should never know anything about the author, or you should pretend like you know nothing about the author while reading his work. That is the only smart way to read. I try to forget that I like Tao Lin and count him as a friend when I read his work. When I read his work I am looking for things to hate and be critical about. With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, I can't find anything not to love.
Sorry for Snake 4 will be coming out this weekend. It's going to be great.
We are going to offer subscriptions. And there is also a contest for free issues thanks to Idiolexicon.
More details on that this Friday.