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I mean I'm just curious. January 5, 2011 7:01 AM   Subscribe


As far as I can tell, yeah. Paypal record was a dead giveaway.

I feel like I am not sufficiently hip for this assignment, but there you go.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:02 AM on January 5, 2011 [29 favorites]


The mods needed some material for the next podcast.
posted by lukemeister at 7:02 AM on January 5, 2011


Since jessamyn got a star, you should get a Hipster Slayer badge, cortex.
posted by lukemeister at 7:07 AM on January 5, 2011 [50 favorites]


I AM CARLES
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:08 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel certain that the next podcast is going to be full of BestPosties from last month, but this was pretty funny. (Dude also, for no apparent reason, posted a doofy chatfilter question about Jennifer Connelly which was also deleted.)
posted by Gator at 7:08 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hipster Slayer badge

I suggest such a badge would feature a picture of cortex dressed up like Buffy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:09 AM on January 5, 2011 [22 favorites]


I pretty much envision all the mods like that already.
posted by elizardbits at 7:10 AM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Also, a couple of the links, like "his last book," remain unexampled.
posted by Gator at 7:10 AM on January 5, 2011


"Smithers! Release the mods!"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:12 AM on January 5, 2011 [18 favorites]


I thought it was some viral nonsense, but then I peered at the punctuation-per-word ratio and began to wonder myself.
posted by adipocere at 7:13 AM on January 5, 2011


What an asshole.
posted by fake at 7:15 AM on January 5, 2011


EXCUSE ME, ONLY GOVERNMENTS CAN BAN BOOKS
posted by theodolite at 7:16 AM on January 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


I woke this morning ignorant of Tao Lin. Damn your enlightenment, metafilter!

The beauty of the FPP is that it was nearly universally hated in the comments. There was threadshitting right out of the gate and the snark kept coming.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:17 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


The beauty of the FPP is that it was nearly universally hated in the comments. There was threadshitting right out of the gate and the snark kept coming.

And now there's even jokes about killing hipsters!
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:18 AM on January 5, 2011


The power of Christ compels you!
posted by lukemeister at 7:18 AM on January 5, 2011


I'm suddenly curious: what happens if you try to log in with a banned account? Does it tell you that you're banned or anything?
posted by yeoz at 7:19 AM on January 5, 2011


I have never heard of this character, but sometimes . . . sometimes the banhammer feels so righteous.

I envy that power.
posted by Think_Long at 7:22 AM on January 5, 2011


an historic day for the filters. Feel pride.
posted by The Whelk at 7:22 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the wikipedia article that the OP linked:

An article in The Atlantic described Lin as having a "staggering" knack for self-promotion.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 7:22 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


The power of Christ compels you!

Wait, that's what cortex looks like?! I was expecting this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:24 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Okay taking bets now for this incident to appear as a terse short story about isolation and modernity and punctuation, in the near future.
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


HA.
spamming the site, for the unwashed, is that just joining to solicit work.
posted by clavdivs at 7:24 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or maybe this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:25 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


yeoz: "I'm suddenly curious: what happens if you try to log in with a banned account? Does it tell you that you're banned or anything?"

Your legs get blown off, cleanly, at the hips.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:25 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pastabagel's final comment fills me with the laughter of schadenfreude and yelling at someone from underneath half a bottle of cheap gin.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:26 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for the $5, Tao!
posted by echo target at 7:26 AM on January 5, 2011


Oh, I should link to it.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:27 AM on January 5, 2011


I now feel dirty and weird and fat for having a comment favorited by Tao Lin.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:27 AM on January 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm going to take full credit for this.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:27 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


(silently pulls the strings)
posted by The Whelk at 7:29 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


(attaches bells to the strings so that The Whelk can't chase birds)
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:30 AM on January 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


Did somebody mention killing hipsters? (starring Charles Bronson)
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:30 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


PULL ZE STRING!!! /lugosi
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:33 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


"I'm suddenly curious: what happens if you try to log in with a banned account? Does it tell you that you're banned or anything?"

You're immediately interrupted by the doorbell. You open the door and are greeted by a nondescript person in a Metafilter t-shirt who rapidly issues you multiple punches to the throat. Once you're on the ground, gasping for air, the t-shirted vigilante then yells, "YOUR DICKERY HAS BEEN DULY NOTED!" and departs calmly.
posted by jerseygirl at 7:33 AM on January 5, 2011 [19 favorites]


(silently pulls the strings)

I THOUGHT YOU HAD WRITING TO DO
posted by shakespeherian at 7:33 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I tried to read Eeee Eeee Eeee, but just couldn't get into it. I just went to Wikipedia to look it up, only the page has been deleted for the fifth time, because "i don't believe that notability has been firmly established, and i am suspicious of self promotion and feigned notability. Theserialcomma (talk) 23:37, 1 March 2010 (UTC)"

Oh Tao, you whatever are, you!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:34 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


From an e-mail I sent to cortex (subject line HA HA HA), pursuant to this banning:

Apparently, dude lives somewhat near me, and I always wonder how it would go if I were to see him at a bar or something. "Hey, your prose is admirably consistent in its aesthetic, but you yourself -- as expressed through your self-portrayal in 'Richard Yates' and your extratextual works -- fill me with a kind of sickened weeping-for-my-generation malaise that I find hard to explain properly."

Shouting "FUCKIN' SPAMMER" is actually much easier!

posted by Greg Nog at 7:34 AM on January 5, 2011 [45 favorites]


I now feel dirty and weird and fat

You should be eating more vegan food or you will turn into a cheese beast.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:35 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


"But you know what's cool about Vincent Donofrio? He always has a neutral facial expression, just like Tao Lin."
posted by crunchland at 7:37 AM on January 5, 2011


I, for one, am wondering about cortex's rebounding stats.
posted by lukemeister at 7:38 AM on January 5, 2011


(attaches bells to the strings so that The Whelk can't chase birds)

you are Jonathan Franzen and I claim 5 dollars.
posted by The Whelk at 7:38 AM on January 5, 2011


I have no idea who Tao Lin is. Today, I learned who Snooki was and I think that's enough for now.
posted by mippy at 7:38 AM on January 5, 2011 [34 favorites]


"cheese beast" is awesome. That is all.
posted by iamkimiam at 7:41 AM on January 5, 2011


The Whelk is Bret Easton Ellis.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:42 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found out about Snooki a few weeks back. I also know about the Kardashian sisters, but can only name one. I am going to go bang my head on a wall until this day starts over.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:42 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


"cheese beast" is awesome

Gregory Nog looked at I Am Kim I Am with a neutral expression. He said, "You are a party girl."
posted by Greg Nog at 7:43 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugh, this guy. A nice cup of hot cocoa and a nofollow will make everyone feel better. Also - I just hired Mark Leyner to stand outside dude's apartment and stare menacingly, so look forward to that.
posted by mintcake! at 7:44 AM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Wow, I just saw that wikipedia has a "simple English" page. Wikipedia dumbed down! That amuses me for some reason.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:44 AM on January 5, 2011


cjorgensen: "I found out about Snooki a few weeks back."

Yeah, and I didn't know who Glenn Beck was before I started reading MeFi. So thanks for that, asshats.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 7:46 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think this is cool. That thread made me laugh though.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2011


Oh Metafilter, over the past thirty six hours or so, you've made me cry 4 times and crap myself laughing thrice. There's probably something deeply unhealthy about that, but I thank you all the same.
posted by Ahab at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2011


*clears throat*

Ahem...

WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE?! WHY DO I HATE THEM?! HOW DID I GET THIS OUT OF TOUCH?! WHERE ARE MY PANTS AND WHAT IS UP WITH ALL THIS PEANUT BUTTER I HAVE SMEARED ALL OVER ME?!
posted by quin at 7:47 AM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


MeFi's Pwn Tao Lin
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:50 AM on January 5, 2011 [26 favorites]


Today, I learned who Snooki was and I think that's enough for now.

Less of a "who" then a "what" (the fuck).
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:51 AM on January 5, 2011


There was a feeling of either muddled awkwardness or subtle zaniness

Did this guy (whoever he is - I've never heard of him either) accidentally walk into a MeFi Meetup instead the Q&A he claims to be transcribing?
posted by penguin pie at 7:51 AM on January 5, 2011


I'm suddenly curious: what happens if you try to log in with a banned account? Does it tell you that you're banned or anything?

I haven't tried logging in while banned any time recently, so I don't remember exactly what happens. But it must make it clear that the account has been disabled, because we get email from people sometimes protesting having been banned.

Sometimes it's a sort of coy "I don't understand what could have gone wrong" sort of email even when it should be obvious to everyone involved exactly what happened.

Sometimes, that email comes from Tao Lin I guess.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:52 AM on January 5, 2011 [31 favorites]


We think we have the upper hand, but his next book will be titled DO NOT SPAM OUR SITE TAO LIN.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:52 AM on January 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


I think someone needs to change that wiki page to note his banning.
posted by crunchland at 7:54 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


We need a whole section on the Wiki to explain our contempt for hipsters. The Tao Lin episode can be a subsection.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:55 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


we're already calling this an episode? We haven't even reached a second act yet.
posted by Think_Long at 7:57 AM on January 5, 2011


I heard his prose is simultaneously infuriating and vexatious. Is it so?
posted by Mister_A at 7:57 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


How much adderall did he take before posting that.

I think Tao Lin should be able to self link.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:59 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sometimes, that email comes from Tao Lin I guess.

I don't want to favorite that concept as much as I want to buy it a bottle of Prosecco and sex it down.
posted by mintcake! at 7:59 AM on January 5, 2011 [9 favorites]


Billy Jack : hippies :: Tao Lin : hipsters
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:01 AM on January 5, 2011


Sometimes, that email comes from Tao Lin I guess.

I bet you could almost hear his eyelashes batting.
posted by Gator at 8:01 AM on January 5, 2011


Every link from Tao Lin is a self link.

Think about it.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:02 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"... a lot of people already hate and are tired of hearing about."

Well, alrighty, then.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:03 AM on January 5, 2011


I look forward to his second and third accounts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:03 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, Tao Lin is a trust fund kid who writes unpopular and poorly-reviewed contentless tripe and has to pathetically resort to promoting themselves through FPPs on a notoriously snarkey and hateful-toward-hipsters site and all of this persons personal websites look like spam-sites? From what I'm reading about Tao Lin, Tao Lin represents everything content-less, boring, and empty about the most uninteresting people on the planet, privileged hipsters whose life has no purpose. Even the positive things I read about him are borderline negative, or at least emphasize the mundane qualities Tao Lin shares with many other writers.

Also, is it just me, or is the bar for "performance artist" set so low it's been buried?
posted by fuq at 8:04 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I really liked Eeeee Eee Eeee and some of you are a little bit happier than i am. Bed wasn't my favorite, and I haven't looked at Shoplifting from American Apparel or Richard Yates. So I guess he's pretty okay! Except for the self-linking.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:07 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hope MeFi isn't feeling special about this. I'm fairly sure he trolls 4chan too.

(I'm quite partial to the guy and his writing, and I find his trolling and transparent self-promotion to be hilarious, not annoying. But, uh, clearly that's just me.)
posted by naju at 8:07 AM on January 5, 2011


Fucking Tao Lin.

As I read the post the writing style even reeks of Tao Lin. I would have guessed somebody was trying to emulate his writing style to make the post but then cortex and his amazing computer skills that are pretty cool to have busted Tao Lin, so I feel smarter than the rest of you.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:09 AM on January 5, 2011


Tao Lin is reading this right now while masturbating.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:11 AM on January 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


Also, is it just me, or is the bar for "performance artist" set so low it's been buried?

The setting of my own personal bar was that one time at the Cock on Avenue A when that one drag queen gave hirself a milk enema, expelled it into a bowl of froot loops, and then ate the cereal, so, you know. YMMV.
posted by elizardbits at 8:12 AM on January 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


Tao Lin is reading this right now while masturbating.

Who isn't?

*Refreshes Favourited By Others page*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:13 AM on January 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


Who isn't?

Michael Jackson.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:15 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Shall we flag now or slag later?
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 AM on January 5, 2011


and I ruin enough joke.
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Michael Jackson.

Too soon.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:20 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Less of a "who" then a "what" (the fuck).

I had to look her up on Wikipedia for work purposes. I'm still not quite sure who she is. Well, I know who she is, but why is she?
posted by mippy at 8:20 AM on January 5, 2011


I have never heard of Tao Lin, and I read a lot. I even tried to read a book by William T Vollmann once.

That banned poster#s writing style didn't exactly make me want to lick his tits.
posted by mippy at 8:22 AM on January 5, 2011


Who isn't?

Oh shit, I just favourited Alvy Ampersand because I thought it was a funny comment, and now he's... ewww! Put it away, Alvy *unfavourite unfavourite*
posted by penguin pie at 8:24 AM on January 5, 2011


Hey, more importantly, what happened to Jennifer Connelly?
posted by chinston at 8:26 AM on January 5, 2011


Er, which I see was noted at the beginning of this thread. Anyway. So. Tao Lin.
posted by chinston at 8:27 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hadn't heard of this dude but his Metafilter downfall amuses me greatly. Callow young writers who substitute cutesy self promotion for talent, knowledge or experience are tedious. I still can't figure out the Kardashian deal. I think they may be starlets related to that OJ pal with the weird hair, but I'm just not interested enough to bother finding out. I just wanted to say, for the record, that "I want to buy it a bottle of Prosecco and sex it down" is my new favorite expression.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:27 AM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


This thread made me have to shut my office door because in trying to laugh quietly I began to sound like Snagglepuss from Laff-a-Lympics and I don't want other staff coming in to see if I'm dying from some sort of asthmatic wheezing attack.
posted by pineapple at 8:30 AM on January 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


What is great about this is banning him from a site on the internet is like banning Hemmingway from a bar. Of course by talking about him we are giving him mad hits.

I hope that mifite who fought him at a party in Brooklyn shows up
posted by Ad hominem at 8:30 AM on January 5, 2011


I learned about Tao Lin just this morning. And now it's too late!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:31 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


on a notoriously snarkey and hateful-toward-hipsters site

I wouldn't agree with that characterization entirely. We're a whole lot kinder to hipsters than most are!

And, then, of course, there's the entire issue of how to define a hipster. A bunch of guys who like good music seem to be getting a bad rap, because a few overly-entitled trust fund kids decided to co-opt their identities.
posted by schmod at 8:32 AM on January 5, 2011


Too soon.

2012 is coming whether you like it or not, so you better be prepared.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 AM on January 5, 2011


You're immediately interrupted by the doorbell. You open the door and are greeted by a nondescript person in a Metafilter t-shirt who rapidly issues you multiple punches to the throat. Once you're on the ground, gasping for air, the t-shirted vigilante then yells, "YOUR DICKERY HAS BEEN DULY NOTED!" and departs calmly.

Channeling Nicholas Cage:
"OH, NO! NOT THE TATERS! NOT THE TATERS! AAAAAHHHHH! OH, THEY'RE IN MY EYES! MY EYES! AAAAHHHHH! AAAAAGGHHH!"
posted by schmod at 8:34 AM on January 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


So long and thanks for all the self-links.
posted by Apoch at 8:34 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, then, of course, there's the entire issue of how to define a hipster.

All I know about that is that I am definitely not a hipster, but those people are definitely hipsters.
posted by fuq at 8:38 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


damn, I defended that post. egg--->face
posted by r_nebblesworthII at 8:39 AM on January 5, 2011


(attaches bells to the strings so that The Whelk can't chase birds)

you are Jonathan Franzen and I claim 5 dollars.

He said bells not bibs.
posted by mlis at 8:39 AM on January 5, 2011


This thread made me have to shut my office door because in trying to laugh quietly I began to sound like Snagglepuss from Laff-a-Lympics

Did you mean Muttley?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:40 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I learned about Tao Lin just this morning.

He's been featured several times on the Blue before, three times (not counting this one) in just the last five months. If he had just kept his pants on, somebody else probably would've come along and made a "legitimate" post about his latest shenanigans.
posted by Gator at 8:41 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stand corrected, I learned about him then promptly forgot about him.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:43 AM on January 5, 2011 [22 favorites]


Oh dear, Gator, you just fed the troll.
posted by Melismata at 8:43 AM on January 5, 2011


The setting of my own personal bar was that one time at the Cock on Avenue A when that one drag queen gave hirself a milk enema, expelled it into a bowl of froot loops, and then ate the cereal, so, you know. YMMV.

You didn't like that?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:43 AM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hey, shakespeherian started it!
posted by Gator at 8:47 AM on January 5, 2011


Gator's touching my side of the line!
posted by shakespeherian at 8:48 AM on January 5, 2011


Ad hominem: I think Tao Lin should be able to self link.

And I think he should be able to spontaneously combust, but neither are going to happen, so we both lose today.

NOTE: this comment was written in jest, as I do not really want anyone to die in a fire.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:51 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, what now, he's a year younger than me? First I find this Snooki has a book deal and now this herbert too!
posted by mippy at 8:51 AM on January 5, 2011


I TOTALLY DID MEAN MUTTLEY.

Thanks, Lentrohamsanin. I've been getting that wrong for years. Heavens to Murgatroid!
posted by pineapple at 8:53 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


"“ ‘I forgot to talk to my mom about tomorrow. I’m going to try to stay home. So you can come. I’m going to tell her I want to go to Subway to look for a job.’

“ ‘Hurry,’ said Haley Joel Osment. ‘My life is empty and I’m running out of things to edit. . . . I only have like $35. I forgot I needed money, to do things.’

“ ‘I won $70,’ said Dakota Fanning about bingo with her mother. ‘You can have it.’

“Haley Joel Osment said he would steal her two the Weakerthans CDs.

“ ‘Thank you. I stole three lemons and sushi. My mom let me walk to Price Chopper today.’ ”

Is it just me or is that second-to-last sentence really odd? It reminds me of SVO exercises in my first year Linguistics classes.
posted by mippy at 8:55 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Maybe it turns into Tolstoy on page 63.
posted by mippy at 8:55 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks, Lentrohamsanin.

No problem. Muttley's laugh is one of my most favorite sounds ever and I heartily approve of people making it in real life!

posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:58 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why am I so sad that Tao Lin references Price Chopper? My 518 pride is very hurt right now.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:58 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Is this Warhollian?" lol.
posted by londonmark at 8:59 AM on January 5, 2011


if you have to ask if it's warholian then I'm not going to stare at this silver Mylar balloon for three hours.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A student asked Joshu, "what is the hipster nature?"

The teacher said, "those who consider themselves hipster, have the hipster nature."

The student nodded. "And those who do not, do not."

Joshu said, "No, those who do not consider themselves hipsters may have the hipster nature as well."

The student was confused. "Is this a like post-ironic zen-poseur thing or something?"
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:01 AM on January 5, 2011 [34 favorites]


My 518 pride is very hurt right now.

There's really only 518 shame, isn't there?
posted by enn at 9:07 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]




What is great about this is banning him from a site on the internet is like banning Hemmingway from a bar.


Oh no you din'nt
posted by angrycat at 9:12 AM on January 5, 2011


I believe in taking care of bidness, in a
the lulz, in a rigorous posting routine. In the
morning, if my face is a little grar, I'll burn one off before doing my metafilter comments. I can type 120 WPS now.
posted by The Whelk at 9:13 AM on January 5, 2011


That banned poster#s writing style didn't exactly make me want to lick his tits.

Upon reading, "i'm going to touch you very hard", said poster wants you to lick his heart. Also, turns out, he wants fruit to lick his something else entirely.

I do not plan on reading anymore Tao Lin unless I am forced via government approved torture.
posted by psylosyren at 9:14 AM on January 5, 2011


Tao Lin

Trao Lin, more like.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:16 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Self-link on MeFi,
Some kind of performance art
Or just total crap?
posted by ob at 9:16 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


so... we've (well, not us, but cortex) banned a little known, unliked author for a self link.. yep, to be expected, all is well...

But, it got me thinking, what if Stephen King, or Jon Stewart, or Joss Whedon, or some such (insert your favorite author here) author did an FPP here at the Meta? Let's suppose, for this discussion that that person just got a bit lazy and didn't read the rules about self links....

Would they get banned? Would the FPP get deleted?

Don't get me wrong, I've got no problem with banning this Lin guy, whoever the heck he is, I was just wondering about where (if at all) the line is about how this would come down for a different type/level of author.
posted by HuronBob at 9:20 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tao Lin was not only self-linking, but he was also being duplicitous, secretive, and annoying about it. Not only was he breaking our One Real Rule, he wasn't honestly engaging with the community.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:22 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


But, it got me thinking, what if Stephen King, or Jon Stewart, or Joss Whedon, or some such (insert your favorite author here) author did an FPP here at the Meta?

How do you know they haven't been here all along?

(twilight zone theme)
posted by The Whelk at 9:23 AM on January 5, 2011


Would they get banned? Would the FPP get deleted?

I hope the answer is yes and yes. I'm sure there is more nuance to how one bans Joss Whedon, I'm guessing it's with a gentle email of "not how we do things but please feel free to come back when you aren't spamming."

But otherwise, I don't see why there should be special treatment for celebs. Especially authors who can read the membership rules, ostensibly.
posted by pineapple at 9:23 AM on January 5, 2011


Would they get banned?

Depends on how much it looks like it's "got a bit lazy" vs. "didn't give a goddam", and some other whammy factors that'd depend on the context.

There's a pretty explicit "you will get banned for self-linking, click here to acknowledge that you understand this" warning on the posting form for folks making their first posts, so while we can sort of understand how in rare cases of enthusiasm-meets-misunderstanding it might be more of a delete-and-warn thing (as in "you can't ever, ever do that; please don't make us ban you by even sneezing in that direction again"), it's shaky ground at best.

My previous thoughts on this.

Would the FPP get deleted?

Absolutely.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:25 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


We have, in the past, had celeb-types [often people who show up because they were mentioned in other threads] who made posts that were a little too self-linky but clearly not "I am a spamming asshole" sorts of situations and we'll usually delete them and write the person a note "You may not quite grok how this place is different from a lot of other websites, let me explain" and if we get a response that seems to indicate we're cool, then we're cool [but the post is still deleted]. If they seem to be sketchy jerks about it, we might ban them. It comes up very very rarely, but once recently that I can think of.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:27 AM on January 5, 2011


i like tao lin

hi Tao! i like you.

good deletion obviously but i wish he'd be a member here without the tricks.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:30 AM on January 5, 2011


So if I go look up a picture of Tao Lin, I will finally know what a hipster looks like?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:31 AM on January 5, 2011


Look in a mirror St. Bunny. You too are carles.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:33 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm back. So those are the people who keep getting in my way when I try to spend my Barnes & Nobles gift card.....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:33 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


St. Alia, I did just that, he looked exactly as I expected... especially with all the hits on Google Image Search that, for some reason, included a toilet.

Cortex and Jessamyn, thanks for the answers, that's what I expected (and hoped) to hear.
posted by HuronBob at 9:36 AM on January 5, 2011


Muttley's laugh is one of my most favorite sounds ever and I heartily approve of people making it in real life!

As do I. Except I've never been able to understand why Muttley did a dead on impression of my grandfather's laugh.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:38 AM on January 5, 2011


Oh, the things that bring people here together.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


So wait was there ever a conclusive determination about whether or not Tao Lin = Carles?
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 9:44 AM on January 5, 2011


'yes' and 'no'
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:45 AM on January 5, 2011


But, it got me thinking, what if Stephen King, or Jon Stewart, or Joss Whedon, or some such (insert your favorite author here) author did an FPP here at the Meta?

Is there anything left for Stewart or Whedon to post that wouldn't be immediately flagged as a double?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:46 AM on January 5, 2011 [15 favorites]


Christ, what a warhol.
posted by scruss at 9:53 AM on January 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


Stephen King?

Why do you think the van...

I've said too much
posted by jtron at 10:00 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bah. Everybody knows the real way to self-link is to post a MetaTalk asking if a blatantly self-linky post would still somehow be okay.
I recently published The Rory Marinich Experience and it's available in Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Would it be okay if I posted about this incredible novel on the blue? I know it's a self-link but I feel this one might be different. Plus, rave reviews from Stephen King and Nietzsche's great-granddaughter! Let me know mods.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:02 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


So, Tao Lin is a trust fund kid who writes unpopular and poorly-reviewed contentless tripe and has to pathetically resort to promoting themselves through FPPs on a notoriously snarkey and hateful-toward-hipsters site and all of this persons personal websites look like spam-sites?

Your grammatical errors are plural, indeed.
posted by y2karl at 10:05 AM on January 5, 2011


You're pretentious, this club sucks, I have beef. Let's do it.
posted by schmod at 10:11 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Hey guys did you hear about that Rory Marinich Experience thing? It sounds pretty awesome.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:16 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, a lot of people already hate and are tired of hearing about it.
posted by Gator at 10:17 AM on January 5, 2011


Lets all have brunch at that new vegan place around the corner.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:18 AM on January 5, 2011


I was once reviewed by Mariel Hemingway!

I assume "how did you get into my house?" is 1970s L.A. slang or something.
posted by griphus at 10:19 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


This thread and cortex's deletion reason, although both awesome, would both be way more awesome if everyone could have, without discussing it, agreed to misspell the joker's name each and every time it was used in the thread.

That would have been the only way to really get a win over the little booger.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:22 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was tired of hearing about The Rory Marinich Experience back when it was on vinyl. Now I like it ironically.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:23 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I downloaded The Rory Marinich Experience on the original Napster p2p (before it was in the news) but then later deleted it after other people had it on their 1st gen iPods. Now that I'm older I bought it off of iTunes.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:29 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


But, it got me thinking, what if Stephen King, or Jon Stewart, or Joss Whedon, or some such (insert your favorite author here) author did an FPP here at the Meta?

Whedonesque (a Metafilter inspired site not run by Whedon) has strict policies that posts can't be self-links and must have a link to relevant outside content, but those rules are a bit relaxed when Joss himself posts.
posted by kmz at 10:30 AM on January 5, 2011


agreed to misspell the joker's name each and every time it was used in the thread.


tao lin more like toe lint amirite
posted by backseatpilot at 10:31 AM on January 5, 2011


I was there back when The Rory Marinich Experience was The Rory Marinich Experiment.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:35 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


i am not sure why i feel compelled to post this...

i initially (and only) heard of that guy via metafilter a few months ago and enjoyed reading whatever that initial post would have been / the links within it. when i got home that night i searched for and read random articles he had written and appreciated the impersonal/detached style/theme throughout.

for whatever reason i had come to feel a lack of meaning in my life / that the world that i am a part of is absurd and trivial. i don't know if there is something wrong with me, whether these feelings are "normal" "coming of age" feelings, whether they are particular to my upbringing/background/current life, whether my impression of these feelings is vague and inaccurate or drastically incomplete or whatever; but his writing seemed to indicate someone that not only had come to terms with similar feelings, but actually embraced them...

then i went on with my life and forgot about this guy until this morning. when i saw the post i actually laughed to myself. i read the links and felt that the subject of the post itself was ridiculous, but did spend 30 mins eating a bagel and reading his cohort's articles and enjoyed them as well

i guess it is comforting reading material you feel like you can relate to, for whatever reason... this seems odd to me because i feel like any sense of alienation i may have is brought on solely by myself... but regardless, i definitely felt some kind of comraderie in my isolation, which i liked

anyway, i read the post, thought it would be deleted, saw it was deleted and do not care that it was deleted. despite the post's ridiculousness (which i would prefer to believe was fully intended), it succeeded in provoking from me both thought and emotion, and has led me to gush to an online (albeit anonymous) message board personal feelings that i otherwise would never share. is that art, or just successfully catering to sociopaths? i really have no idea
posted by lulz at 10:37 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


agreed to misspell the joker's name each and every time it was used in the thread.

But then this thread would never become the top result on google for Tao Lin Hipster
posted by Ad hominem at 10:37 AM on January 5, 2011


I didn't know Whedonesque was Mefi-inspired.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:38 AM on January 5, 2011


> i searched for and read random articles he had written and appreciated the impersonal/detached style/theme throughout.

No offense intended, but this is probably a good sign that you should get out and somehow exert yourself much, much more.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:38 AM on January 5, 2011


> But then this thread would never become the top result on google for Tao Lin Hipster

That's a good enough reason to start a Google bombing campaign à la Santorum.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:39 AM on January 5, 2011


Look I know you guys only like The Rory Marinich Experience because it was in that Zach Braff movie, but for me The Rory Marinich Experience will always be about sitting in Rory Marinich's Garage listening to him playing Rory Experiment Marinich (way to get it wrong, iamkimiam) bass lines and talking about his dreams for the future.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:44 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I now feel dirty and weird and fat for having a comment favorited by Tao Lin.

Does this favorite make me look fat?
posted by madamjujujive at 10:45 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


No offense intended, but this is probably a good sign that you should get out and somehow exert yourself much, much more.
posted by Burhanistan


No offense intended but you should probably read more books.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:45 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is my idea of a good time, it really is. How weird is that?
posted by thinkpiece at 10:45 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have the Roy Marininch Experiement on 7 inch
posted by Ad hominem at 10:47 AM on January 5, 2011


Man, this is great. The best part is that there was actually a back-and-forth going on in the comments:

[Tao Lin]: “It really is hard to not like them much less hate them if you read that transcript.”

PeterMcDermott: “I read the transcript. I wanted to slap the self-satisfied, self-indulgent pair of wankers right into next week. And I *like* drugs.”

Joseph Gurl: “No, I had no opinion of them until I read that. Now I hate them and the rest of our accursed species.”

[Tao Lin]: “Joseph, I'm genuinely interested in hearing more about why reading that transcript would cause such hatred in you toward them.”

This is the wondrous thing about the internet. I mean, usually, this is one of the hazards here, right? We talk on and on all day, casually insulting authors and musicians we don't like in a detached sort of way, and very rarely we have to face some embarrassment when it turns out they were reading our little insults.

But this time, it really isn't embarrassing; he was the one who self-posted in the first place, doing that cute little secret-self-promotion thing he does, and besides, he's been called enough things elsewhere on the internet that I doubt his cloud of irony was disturbed in any significant way. So I think congratulations are in order. After all, Peter and Joseph, you just insulted Tao Lin to his face without even knowing you were doing it. Ha!

(Well, maybe the thing Joseph said wasn't really an insult, actually. I have a feeling Tao Lin was being serious there when he asked to know more. Accursed species? Sounds like good material for his next book. As long as the accursed species goes to Wendy's or something.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:50 AM on January 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


i'm a friend of rory marinichs and would like to clear some things up. first of rory marinich is one of the most joy filled human beings i have ever met. diss his music if you want but to do so is to reveal the dank sweaty armpit reek of your own heart. second rory and zach are friends in real life (i know this because I was part of their first orgy) and you should not begrudge his commercial success.

i made the first rory marinich post on metafilter in 2004. it does not surprise me that so few of you have bothered reading it. i linked to all of the old work you're mentioning now back then.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:52 AM on January 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


^subversive guerilla mktg
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:52 AM on January 5, 2011


tao lin if you're reading this 'u' should hire me
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:55 AM on January 5, 2011


So it's lookin' like I will now have the opportunity to point out that Tao Lin's best work is derivative of The Pretty Flowers.
posted by Greg Nog at 10:58 AM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is going to be the first half of his next book. Or at the very least he is going to read selections from it at KGB bar next poetry night after snorting "Bath Salts"
posted by Ad hominem at 10:58 AM on January 5, 2011


You guys. I just overheard someone at the local organic vegan vinyl store talking about Rory Marinich and they said that isn't even really his real name. It turns out The Rory Marinich Experience is actually a side project for Lars Ulrich.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:58 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not true. I Saw The Rory Marinich Experiment play a secret show at a loft party in Greenpoint.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:02 AM on January 5, 2011


For god's sake, don't encourage him.
posted by enn at 11:02 AM on January 5, 2011


The Rory Marinich Experiment is a cover band. Half of the members are in Lez Zeppelin.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:04 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why are there commas here ...

"a controversial writer that, at 27, a lot of people already hate"

... but not on either side of other subordinate clauses?

Go light on punctuation if you like, but at least be consistant!
posted by grumblebee at 11:10 AM on January 5, 2011


I just heard that the Rory Marinich Experiment is going to Cooperstown.
posted by lukemeister at 11:11 AM on January 5, 2011


jesus tao
posted by clavdivs at 11:12 AM on January 5, 2011


Hipster Slayer

Angel of Purposely Faded Ironic T-Shirts
posted by ignignokt at 11:13 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I am going to start using ban tao lin as a euphemism. Did Cortex just ban tao lin?

I need some alone time tonight. I need to ban tao lin.

That Kieran Culkin! He makes me want to ban tao lin!
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:22 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]




Is is true that Tao Lin actually shoplifted his account?
posted by Ad hominem at 11:27 AM on January 5, 2011


This Tao Lin guy is a shitty writer. I've never heard of him before, but, based on his FPP, I won't be reading any of his books. I mean, it's not terrible writing for a casual post, I guess, but for a professional writer...? Come on!

"MDMAfilms is a new film venture..."

What is a "film venture"? A movie? A screenplay? A production company?

"As you probably know Tao Lin is a controversial writer that, at 27..."

"who, at 27," works better, especially since he later writes "whose articles..."

"A few months ago he started a film company with Megan Boyle..."

Redundant. Though I guess we now know what the "film venture" is. It's a "film company." I wonder if they sell Kodachrome?

"Here's an interview with them about the company where they seem, honestly, bored with the company already."

How about "Here's an interview in which they seem bored with the company already" or "In this interview, they seem to be already bored with the company"?

"So far they have reported on Harry Potter 7 while in New Orleans on Xanax"

I've never been there. Is it anything like Stratford Upon Avon?

"an art gallery event in Manhattan"

An event? Was this an opening? A show? an exhibition? an art heist?

"This is the trailer for their first feature film which seems like an extreme indie movie."

How is an extreme indie movie different from a regular indie movie?

"Should he stick to writing?"

No. Keep day job.
posted by grumblebee at 11:29 AM on January 5, 2011 [14 favorites]


You'll go blind looking at that.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:32 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


After all, Peter and Joseph, you just insulted Tao Lin to his face without even knowing you were doing it.

I wouldn't have posted a view had he not been fishing for complements. I read the transcript, thought 'meh'. Then watched the video and thought 'WTF? These lazy, dull fuckers are making all that fuss about that piece of shit?'

But I almost certainly wouldn't have passed comment (because I do tend to think it rather rude to do so) if I hadn't had someone repeatedly insist that the transcript was evidence of how likable they are.

I daresay in real life they may well be quite likable. But that transcript wasn't evidence in support of the proposition.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:40 AM on January 5, 2011


I was there back when The Rory Marinich Experience was The Rory Marinich Experiment.

I was there back when The Rory Marinich Experiment was The Rory Marinich Hypothesis. But I'm losing my edge to the art-school Brooklynites in little jackets and borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered eighties.
posted by Electric Dragon at 11:40 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm back. So those are the people who keep getting in my way when I try to spend my Barnes & Nobles gift card.....
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies


Those probably aren't hipsters (unless they are also trying to spend a giftcard they got from their girlfriend's grandmother), in all likelihood they were just people with beards. Now I know this can be confusing, but one wouldn't want to stumble Amish country and start insulting some of the local farmers about how they only ride fixies.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:43 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I was there back when The Rory Marinich Experiment was The Rory Marinich Glint in the Milkman's Eye.
posted by Gator at 11:47 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Electric Dragon, I heard the Rory Marinich Experience sold their guitars and bought turntables.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:50 AM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


on the internet everybody knows you're tao lin
posted by boo_radley at 11:55 AM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


I didn't know Whedonesque was Mefi-inspired.

Me neither. So I went to read their About section. Yeesh - someone needs to do some updating.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:58 AM on January 5, 2011


but one wouldn't want to stumble Amish country and start insulting some of the local farmers about how they only ride fixies.

i recently saw some hipsters in missouri amish country (you know, the non-amish side of the road). it was hilarious and confusing. like - can you post-ironically have an amish style hipster beard when you buy your cheese and meat from an actual amish dude?
posted by nadawi at 12:03 PM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


I hate that every time someone says "Ew, hipsters" there is this backlash of "GRAR YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT HIPSTERS ARE."

I know what hipsters are. They are self-consciously counter-culture college graduates wearing little hats and self-consciously quirky hairstyles and eyeglasses. They are wearing very tight-fitting vintage or pseudo-vintage clothing. They are riding bicycles that are hopelessly complex in their lack of complexity. They are doing things ironically, including things I like (cupcakes) and things I don't like (moustaches and racism).

I do not dislike them because I do not understand them. I understand them really well, because I was a pretentious twenty-something myself once. And I dislike them because I have the same firm and almost certainly mistaken conviction that everyone else on Earth does that my generation did a much better job of being pretentious twenty-somethings.

As for Tao Lin, fuck that spamming asshole.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:06 PM on January 5, 2011 [37 favorites]


There certainly is a lot of hate in this thread, and I'm not entirely sure why.
posted by naju at 12:14 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Rory Marinich Experiment is so last year. Nobody serious is talking about it now.
posted by MuffinMan at 12:14 PM on January 5, 2011


They are self-consciously counter-culture college graduates wearing little hats and self-consciously quirky hairstyles and eyeglasses.

This guy might disagree.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:21 PM on January 5, 2011


Yes. This: "I do not dislike them because I do not understand them. I understand them really well, because I was a pretentious twenty-something myself once. And I dislike them because I have the same firm and almost certainly mistaken conviction that everyone else on Earth does that my generation did a much better job of being pretentious twenty-somethings."

is exactly why I hate hipsters. Perfectly described.
posted by pineapple at 12:21 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now, the Rory Marinich Revenge Fantasy, that's where it's at.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:22 PM on January 5, 2011


Prez did not go to college. He had a Ph.D. in AWESOME from the University of Life.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:23 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Rory Marinich Experiment lost me when they did the ska record, but they won me back with the split 7-inch with Chromeo.
posted by jbickers at 12:24 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am going to train thousands of political prisoners to do the dance made famous by the Rory Marinich Experiment and get giga-hits on YouTube.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:25 PM on January 5, 2011


There certainly is a lot of hate in this thread, and I'm not entirely sure why.

Grar toward X = X's self-perceived awesomeness/X's actual awesomeness
posted by lukemeister at 12:25 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cupcakes are out, Macarons are in
posted by Ad hominem at 12:25 PM on January 5, 2011


There wasn't enough room in the 10% of my brain that I use to include this guy. So even now I have no idea who he is.
posted by tommasz at 12:26 PM on January 5, 2011


Prez was a hipster. You're describing scenesters.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:29 PM on January 5, 2011


So, never having heard of this guy, I went out and read some stuff from different sources.

Dude sounds boring. Like if he came up to me in a bar, I'd find a way to talk to someone else after about thirty seconds because I wouldn't be able to remember what he said after ten.
posted by zizzle at 12:32 PM on January 5, 2011


Oh my god, I now love this place way more than ever. Tao Lin is banned. Shit, that fucking rocks.
posted by nevercalm at 12:33 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm beginning to sorta feel sorry for this guy. I'm mean it's bad enough to have to stoop to doing your own self-promotion, but now to get piled on for being as mediocre as the rest of us, it's almost too much.
posted by crunchland at 12:35 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Prez was a hipster. You're describing scenesters.

Language evolves, my friend. And scenesters are something else entirely, anyway--they're punkier and goth-er and more emo. More eyeliner.

Prez was an original hipster. Today's hipsters are not actually hip, which is just another layer of the irony. Maybe we should call them "hipstas" instead, like "gangsta" vs. "gangster"? (Current Pitchfork flavor-of-the-week::Lester Young as Li'l Wayne::Al Capone?)
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:43 PM on January 5, 2011


crunchland, there are a lot of us on here who are un-famous writers who have to do our own self-promotion (::koff!::) but we don't self-link on the Blue. Isn't that what we're piling on about?
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:44 PM on January 5, 2011


Can we bring back "hepcat"?
posted by steambadger at 12:45 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am thoroughly enjoying this sesame cake thread.
posted by cavalier at 12:50 PM on January 5, 2011


god damn it.
posted by cavalier at 12:50 PM on January 5, 2011


Ad hominem: "Cupcakes are out, Macaroons are in"

No, you're wrong. Pie is in now.


Macaroons, really?
posted by octothorpe at 12:52 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Language evolves, my friend.

This is a deevolution, and I for one won't stand for it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:53 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not macaroons. Macarons. Totally different.
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:57 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cupcakes are out, Macarons are in
posted by Ad hominem at 12:25 PM on January 5 [+] [!]


Macarons
posted by Ad hominem at 1:01 PM on January 5, 2011


your relentless urge for ontologistic perfection will destroy us all.

you know that, right?
posted by boo_radley at 1:02 PM on January 5, 2011


I totally supplied The Rory Marinich Experience with macarons way back when they were eating macaroons.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:03 PM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


Pie might be considered a pastry trend all its own if the NYT weren't writing it up one week before Thanksgiving.

That's some pie pandering right there.
posted by pineapple at 1:04 PM on January 5, 2011


I know what hipsters are. They are self-consciously counter-culture college graduates wearing little hats and self-consciously quirky hairstyles and eyeglasses. They are wearing very tight-fitting vintage or pseudo-vintage clothing. They are riding bicycles that are hopelessly complex in their lack of complexity. They are doing things ironically, including things I like (cupcakes) and things I don't like (moustaches and racism).


All this time and FINALLY someone gives me a definition.

(Oh, and I live in Fayettenam and where else would hipsters hang out but in Barnes and Noble? It's not like we have any independent bookstores since the chains arrived.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:07 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, you're wrong. Pie is in now.

Those pies do sound pretty good. And anything available in the "Gowanus section of Brooklyn" must be in! Too bad Tao Lin was banned, he could totes settle this.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:08 PM on January 5, 2011


I'm WEARING SHOES.....

.....

....

..


.


IN A HOUSE!!!!

albeit a house I have near dictatorial control over
posted by edgeways at 1:11 PM on January 5, 2011


"So far they have reported on Harry Potter 7 while in New Orleans on Xanax"

I once caught a bus on Valium. No need for reporting - I just wandered around Sainsbury's trying to remember how to buy pitta bread.

It was probably five times as interesting.
posted by mippy at 1:15 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


They are doing things ironically, including things I like (cupcakes) and things I don't like (moustaches and racism).

"In his spare time, our guest enjoys cupcakes, mustaches, and racism! Please welcome... Tao Lin!"
posted by steambadger at 1:16 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


your relentless urge for ontologistic perfection will destroy us all.

Well, that and my army of undead astronauts.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:21 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now I love Tao Lin, because I never would have learned about the Rory Marinich Experience without him.
posted by lukemeister at 1:22 PM on January 5, 2011


I just looked up the Rory Marinich Experience on Rhapsody, and they didn't show up.

Man, they must be good.
posted by MrVisible at 1:23 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I just looked up the Rory Marinich Experience on Rhapsody, and they didn't show up.

Man, they must be good.


They were, like 40 comments ago. Now they're just played out. I heard they're doing next year's Hyundai Holiday commercial.
posted by nevercalm at 1:33 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Now's where I capitalize on this thread and actually form this band, and all y'all keep your mouths shut so you can be the people who knew the band before they were on vinyl.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:36 PM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I haven't been privvy to Tao Lin, the Rory Marinich Experience, or anything really. I'm sorta glad, now.
posted by hellojed at 1:39 PM on January 5, 2011


Now's where I capitalize on this thread and actually form this band, and all y'all keep your mouths shut so you can be the people who knew the band before they were on vinyl.

Like on wax cylinder?
posted by The Michael The at 1:50 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where do we order our MeFi-branded Rory Marinich Experience 8-tracks?
posted by lukemeister at 1:50 PM on January 5, 2011


I think that this thread is distracting us from issues of importance, like the fact that JH Williams III is doing a new Batwoman book, which is awesome.

Yes, I DID just get back from my local comics shop, as a matter of fact.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:50 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


You leave Pomplamoose out of this.
posted by Aizkolari at 1:51 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know why but every single time someone links to The Rory Marinich Experience it cracks me right the fuck up.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:58 PM on January 5, 2011


Remember back when Rory Marinich was banned for linking to The Rory Marinich Experience MySpace page and then insisting that he was just a fan?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:03 PM on January 5, 2011


I once caught a bus on Valium.

What it was doing on Valium, I'll never know.
posted by steambadger at 2:06 PM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


A friend of a friend told me it was really called The Lorelai Marinich Experience but it got shortened because he kept on getting his ls and rs adorably confused.
posted by Sparx at 2:10 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm starting a tribute band called The Rory Marinich Experience Experience.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:13 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll never forget my first RME concert. They opened for BTO and blew them out of the water.
posted by lukemeister at 2:16 PM on January 5, 2011


Now's where I capitalize on this thread and actually form this band

Frankly it would be about ninety times more awesome if someone else here started this band.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:19 PM on January 5, 2011


I remember the Rory Marinich Experience waaaay back when it was a series of cave paintings. Then, it was a huge ziggurat in ancient Babylon. Their best work was released in the period shortly after Atlantis sunk beneath the frothy seas, and is best exemplified by the anthemic Dude Where's My Continent??

The next several thousand years were a period of turbulence and disappointment punctuated by occasional masterpieces, like the ethereally beautiful ballad "Rory Marinich Lyghts the Pyre" or the raving "Why Bespottest Thou My Jerkin?"

The Rory Marinich Experience retired to a Park Slope co-op in 2008 to pursue its true joys, incontinence and rat-catching.
posted by Mister_A at 2:23 PM on January 5, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm starting a tribute band called The Rory Marinich Experience Experience.

Honestly I think at this point RMEE is a much more authentic band than RME.

(Still one of my favorite Simpsons sight gags.)
posted by kmz at 2:24 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think that this thread is distracting us from issues of importance, like the fact that JH Williams III is doing a new Batwoman book, which is awesome.

I was into JH Williams III back when he was doing the early issues of The Rory Marinich Experience.
posted by panboi at 2:30 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have one of the few remaining JH Williams III designed 7" sleeves of The Rory Marinich Experience from their Ibiza days. Most were destroyed during a small fire at The Haçienda.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:34 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was into The Rory Marinich Experience back when they were a cover band for The Rory Marinich Experience Experience and opened for The Moody Blues.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:36 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I couldn't find the Rory Marinich experience section over at erowid, can anyone link me?
posted by jtron at 2:37 PM on January 5, 2011


I'm waiting for the The Rory Manwich Experience.
posted by maryr at 2:39 PM on January 5, 2011


(I'm hungry.)
posted by maryr at 2:40 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's RORGY Manwich. RORGY. A guy's an underage stripper for seven years and nobody remembers a damn thing.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:45 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, junior high was rough for you.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:48 PM on January 5, 2011


Rough in more ways than one.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:50 PM on January 5, 2011


It was like Hannah Montana. Only with The Rory Marinich Experience strip clubs. I saw Rorgies back before they tried to crossover to mainstream porn.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:51 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


They really lost something after they dropped the Rorgy brand and became Rorgasms.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:52 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


(I am not that kind of hungry.)
posted by maryr at 2:53 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did Cortex just ban tao lin?

I posted that I was having 'banh mi' one time for lunch and I got an irate memail from a guy who thought I was dissing him. I'm not that clever, but in retrospect it's great.
posted by fixedgear at 3:12 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked The Rory Marinich Experience's spin-off Japanese anime series, 'Rory! Thumbs! IGNIIITE!'

But you've never seen it, because you aren't cool enough to read Catalan subtitles.
posted by mippy at 3:32 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Chuck Norris used to play bass in The Rory Marinich Experience, but he was too weak to keep up with the chord changes.
posted by lukemeister at 3:38 PM on January 5, 2011


This thread, and Cortex's reason for deleting the post, have made this one of my favorite internet days ever.

I ♥ Mods.
posted by verb at 3:45 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Man, cortex exampled the fuck out of that post, I hadn't noticed until now.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 3:46 PM on January 5, 2011 [11 favorites]


2011 starting off strong, bitches.
posted by phaedon at 3:56 PM on January 5, 2011


I was into JH Williams III back when he was doing the early issues of The Rory Marinich Experience.

I read this too quickly and came out with the Rory Williams Experience, so thank you for giving me my daily nerdgasm, guys.
posted by immlass at 3:58 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


> it got me thinking, what if Stephen King, or Jon Stewart, or Joss Whedon, or some such (insert your favorite author here)
> author did an FPP here at the Meta? Let's suppose, for this discussion that that person just got a bit lazy and didn't read the rules about self links....

Just so's you'll know, Tolstoy has been a member from beyond the grave since early 2004 and so far has had the sense not to do a self-link fpp about himself. Or else just hasn't dared.
posted by jfuller at 4:02 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


But, it got me thinking, what if Stephen King, or Jon Stewart, or Joss Whedon, or some such (insert your favorite author here) author did an FPP here at the Meta? Let's suppose, for this discussion that that person just got a bit lazy and didn't read the rules about self links....

Would they get banned? Would the FPP get deleted?


You don't remember this?

Hey, check out this cool show called MYTHBUSTERS! Look at that crazy mustache on that Jamie dude!
posted by asavage to Metafilter

They swept it all under the rug.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 4:03 PM on January 5, 2011


The Rory Marinich Experience? Never managed an Eno collaboration, have they? Lightweights.
posted by punilux at 4:35 PM on January 5, 2011


Boy howdy, there was some excitement around my place tonight.

I'm really, really lousy and inept cook. I haven't been to the store for awhile and the pantry is pretty bare. I found a package of potato soup mix and put eight cups of water to boil as instructed. When it started boiling, I dumped the soup mix into the water. The soup mix displaced a little more water than I thought it would. A bunch slopped onto the stovetop and the burner, bubbling and overflowing it was quite a sight. I got it calmed down and then got a paper towel to wipe the worst of the spills off the stovetop. The paper towel came in contact with the burner and caught on fire. I stopped for a minute, and the first thought in my head was "That thing's not on fire." Then I saw it was indeed on fire and threw it in the sink and ran water over it until the fire was extinguished.

Like I said, more excitement that I've had around here in awhile!

The soup is now happily simmering and I think it is going to come out alright. I found some really good cheese-infested Carr's crackers my Mom gave me. I'll enjoy those with the soup and this evening will turn out rather grand.

Plus I got to see this dude get banned from Metafilter.
posted by marxchivist at 4:50 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did cortex just ban Tao Lin?

I read this as Tam Lin and I was all, like, dude, Janet's going to be upset.
posted by gingerest at 4:56 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Look at that crazy mustache on that Jamie dude!

/8
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 4:57 PM on January 5, 2011 [20 favorites]


I had to hit google to see who this Tao Lin guy was. I dunno whether to feel relieved or out-of-it. (although, upon said googling, I realized that I know a bartender who claims to know this dude. But this same bartender claims to be a direct descendent of Lord Baltimore, so take that as you wish, but he poured good shots, as Cold Chef can attest.)
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on January 5, 2011


Man, cortex exampled the fuck out of that post, I hadn't noticed until now.

Seriously, he even exampled the Wikipedia link.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:32 PM on January 5, 2011


Cortex is an example.com to us all.
posted by The Whelk at 5:33 PM on January 5, 2011 [12 favorites]


I did some of them when I was still blinking at the whole thing at 6 a.m., then went back and did some further cleanup a couple hours later when I was fully functioning. That Tao Lin tweeted the url of the deleted thread without comment in the interim made me feel like I ought to at least do something along the lines of performance art in return, and exampling a wikipedia link seemed like the simplest tack.
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:35 PM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


someone register istaolinaspammer.com now.
posted by The Whelk at 5:39 PM on January 5, 2011


Here is my commitment to you, fair MeFites: If you start a band called the Rory Marinich Experience, and your first show is between Boston and D.C., I will try really hard to come to it, even if you're terrible. That is my commitment.
posted by Kwine at 5:40 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got favorited by Tao Lin. Woo hoo!
posted by telstar at 5:46 PM on January 5, 2011


Cortex, you are my hero, even though you were mean to me in high school.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:51 PM on January 5, 2011


My absolute favorite part of his post is, " As you probably know Tao Lin is..." As if anyone actually knows who he is or cares enough to retain this knowledge.
posted by 26.2 at 5:53 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


He was pulling a Reverse Sally Field there. "You hate me! You really hate me!"
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:03 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wasn't there a recent MeTa with someone asking how the spammers get spotted? It's a user history that looks exactly like this one.

For all his earnest effort at being an outré hipster ne plus ultra,

as a spammer, Tao Lin is straight garden-variety.
posted by pineapple at 6:13 PM on January 5, 2011


I got favorited by Tao Lin. Woo hoo!

By the transitive property of banhammery, you are now banned, telstar.
posted by lukemeister at 6:41 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


pineapple: “Wasn't there a recent MeTa with someone asking how the spammers get spotted? It's a user history that looks exactly like this one.”

I don't know. Knowing what we know now, I think we have to consider the distinct likelihood that Tao Lin's first comment here exposes to the heart of the narrative thread that ties all of his fiction together.
posted by koeselitz at 6:57 PM on January 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


That was a satisfyingly short and hilarious incident. DON'T YOU THINK HE IS INTERESTING YOU MUST HATE HIM HE IS ANDY WARHOL HE IS INTERESTING

This guy is going to be my new alterego when I want to annoy my friends.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:14 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We are already experts at lying to ourselves"
I really liked his novel HOW TO SELL.
posted to MetaFilter by Charnieia at 3:31 PM on January 4, 2011

undudely.
posted by clavdivs at 7:15 PM on January 5, 2011


I feel like we're getting really really close to the point where the self-promotion becomes the actual work of art.

CLICK HERE TO CROWDSOURCE MY VIRAL NOM-NOM CAT REMIX!!1!
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:31 PM on January 5, 2011


scruss: "Christ, what a warhol."

I'm struck with a desperate need for someone to create an illustration or to photoshop a photo that can accurately be captioned "Christ, what a narwhal."

I expect y'all to get on this pronto.
posted by tzikeh at 7:37 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I got favorited by Tao Lin. Woo hoo!

Telstar, I love your post in that thread. Jesus!
posted by grobstein at 8:18 PM on January 5, 2011


I remember my first beer.
posted by bardic at 8:19 PM on January 5, 2011


Yes, but do you remeber Murray the K, Alan Freed, and Hi Energy?
posted by jonmc at 8:25 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, I thought EEEEE EEE EEEE was quite good, in a start-of-a-great-career kinda way... but nothing else has enticed me in the bookstore. Tao Lin does write very well about feeling isolated and alone in modern society. His bit of inspiration was throwing in over-the-top fantasy sequences whenever things had gotten too heavy. He reminds me of Icelandic writer Gyrðir Elíasson. They both leaven depressive descriptions of the modern day with flights of fancy.

Anyway... self-links are autobannings and such they should be, but Tao Lin isn't just some poseur. The guy does have a good control of his style. The fear is that the style has taken him over, deadening the shoots growing from his work, but this fear is based on ignorance. Reading his other stuff is on my to-do list.
posted by Kattullus at 8:34 PM on January 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Why Bespottest Thou My Jerkin?"

O, Dog! Please make it happen! pleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease.

PS: Rory Marinich, I still have that homemade sex tape of you; just let me know whenever you're ready for it to be leaked to TMZ.
posted by taz at 8:46 PM on January 5, 2011


I confess that I enjoyed this thing by the person in question.
posted by kenko at 8:48 PM on January 5, 2011



Well, I thought EEEEE EEE EEEE was quite good, in a start-of-a-great-career kinda way... but nothing else has enticed me in the bookstore. Tao Lin does write very well about feeling isolated and alone in modern society. His bit of inspiration was throwing in over-the-top fantasy sequences whenever things had gotten too heavy. He reminds me of Icelandic writer Gyrðir Elíasson. They both leaven depressive descriptions of the modern day with flights of fancy.

Anyway... self-links are autobannings and such they should be, but Tao Lin isn't just some poseur. The guy does have a good control of his style. The fear is that the style has taken him over, deadening the shoots growing from his work, but this fear is based on ignorance. Reading his other stuff is on my to-do list.


Flagged as possibly Tao Lin.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:53 PM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I have met the poster in question and he once ordered a non-alcoholic beer by mistake. He is not Tao Lin.
posted by The Whelk at 9:04 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am so very happy to know that Lez Zeppelin is a real thing.
posted by that girl at 9:12 PM on January 5, 2011


I highly recommend Tao's recent novel Richard Yates. I agree with Leigh Alexander's defense of him. It seems like most people here (and elsewhere) are eager to pile hate on the guy without really bothering to check out his writing at length. That's fine and understandable given his antics (which are as much an ongoing commentary on self-promotion as they are shameless self-promotion. Not to mention the way he does it is often funny. Go back and read the deleted FPP and his comments here. Hilarious.) The banning is surely the right decision, but I think it's a shame that his work is dismissed.

Kattulus: after EEEEE EEE EEEE he dropped the fantasy sequences, though there's still plenty of absurdity and dark humor.

Cheers,
Tao/Carles
posted by naju at 9:33 PM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Flagged as possibly Tao Lin.

I give credit to Kattullus/Tao for playing the long game in this case.
posted by GuyZero at 10:04 PM on January 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Never heard of him.

But now that this has happened, we can turn the name into a verb:

"This account has been TaoLinned."
posted by bwg at 11:09 PM on January 5, 2011


Anyway... self-links are autobannings and such they should be, but Tao Lin isn't just some poseur. The guy does have a good control of his style.

Agreed. And further I have to say I'm bothered by the in-club our-team-kicked-ass chest-thumping of many comments in this thread.

No, Lin shouldn't have done what he did in that FPP, and Cortex's deletion and banning was of course the correct response. But that doesn't mean the reactionary, anti-postmodernist, my-kid-can-paint-as-well-as-Picasso sentiment I've been seeing is necessary, either.

Some people have been claiming this incident made it a banner day for MeFi and they've never been prouder, etc., but honestly the reactions here have saddened me. And before the usual wags chime in, I'm NOT a Tao Lin sockpuppet either, nor do I know him - though I have myself written and published unusual and experimental writing.
posted by aught at 6:42 AM on January 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hey have you guys ever heard of The Rory Marinich Experience? They were just on NPR; so good!
posted by kenko at 7:06 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Agreed. And further I have to say I'm bothered by the in-club our-team-kicked-ass chest-thumping of many comments in this thread.

Some people have been claiming this incident made it a banner day for MeFi and they've never been prouder, etc., but honestly the reactions here have saddened me. And before the usual wags chime in, I'm NOT a Tao Lin sockpuppet either, nor do I know him - though I have myself written and published unusual and experimental writing.
A writer with a flair for ironic self-promotion created a sockpuppet account on a high-traffic web site, posted about a new project while pretending to be a neutral observer, commented about how much he loved his own work, and was caught. Then banned.

The fact that someone who's gotten national coverage in magazines, newspapers, and other media felt the need to suckpuppet his way through a MeFi post, is worth banning. And pointing and laughing.
posted by verb at 7:17 AM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


But we've known for a while that collectively MetaFilter operates on a pre-Modernist level as far as art's concerned, right? Except for with music, where we embrace postmodernism inasmuch as rock-and-roll is postmodern. (It's funny when people who love Velvet Underground bash La Monte Young and John Cage, though. Just saying.)

A part of Tao Lin's intention is to comment on marketing and self-promotion as a game. It's a cheerfully nihilist view. He doesn't see us as a community, he sees us as a marketing opportunity. So he got banned. But in this discussion people are cheerfully celebrating this banning like it's a repudiation of Tao Lin, whereas if anything it's the opposite. This entire discussion is marketing Tao Lin. People here have learned of his name. A conversation has begun. It doesn't matter if almost everybody here hates him, because in marketing you care only about the plusses and ignore the minuses. If three people reading this decide they might not entirely hate Tao, he's "made a sale", so to speak.

Grumblebee, to knock his quality of writing on an ironic self-referential marketing post is really to sell the guy short. He's a very talented writer who's capable at times of decent wordsmithing. But I'm sure he'd have something to say about the fact that despite your apparently "knowing writing" better than he does, YOU are talking about HIM and not the other way around. If you really think that his writing spam poorly means he can't be a talented poet, then you ought to be making yourself the center of conversation. No reason not to, if you think you're more worthwhile than he is.

To suggest that Lin is a worthless "ironic" writer is to give him little credit for the effort he obviously puts into his work. His essay on Cho Seung-Hui, which I don't at all entirely agree with, is nonetheless a shockingly sincere essay on the topic. I haven't read his novels, though I'd like to; none of his poems strike me deep down but they were good enough that I remember them, and remember lines from them. a poem written by a bear evokes something in me. i went fishing with my family when i was five is delightful whimsy that I would gladly read to young children.

I think that what he does is interesting and worth discussing and most importantly enjoyable. I think that for a writer in his late twenties he's got an awful lot of talent; maybe by the time he's as old as Joyce was when Joyce first published he'll be consistently doing astonishing things. I think that his nihilist approach to marketing is similarly discussion-worthy, even though his banning was utterly justified. I think he'd agree that his banning was justified. I think that a lot of the smugness you all are showing him is a little bit despicable, but that's just because I think smugness in general is despicable, dishonest, and insincere.

My approach to writing and to marketing is quite different from his. But I don't doubt that he's put a lot of thought into his approaches, and that he doesn't intend either one to be a caustic prank on the readers. Everything I've read from him suggests that he's a nice, well-meaning guy who spends a lot of time feeling sad about things and hopes that his writing will make other sad people feel a little bit better. Idiot hipster assholes read him and like him. Some genuinely cool people read him and like him too. Daniel Handler blurbed his last book and Daniel Handler's wonderful so there you go.

We could talk about whether passionless ironic marketing is cleverer than the extreme alternate approach, which is sincerely being a part of a community and trying to make it a better place and everybody helping each other out. That would be a good debate. But we're not having a good discussion, we're smugly preening. Well, smugly preening and talking about the Rory Marinich Experience, which I guess I can't complain about, seeing as I got my username after seeing them live in concert. (Fun fact: No member of the group was named Rory Marinich, meaning the first Rory Marinich was born and named after the band itself was.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 7:59 AM on January 6, 2011 [5 favorites]


PS: Rory Marinich, I still have that homemade sex tape of you; just let me know whenever you're ready for it to be leaked to TMZ.

I have the unreleased studio sex tape, but the production value isn't that great. You can totally tell when they're using a stunt cock. Probably best that it's never leaked, really.
posted by owtytrof at 8:05 AM on January 6, 2011


> Probably best that it's never leaked, really.

Viagra is killing the industry.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:09 AM on January 6, 2011


From that Tao Lin essay I linked to, a passage that's relevant to the discussion here:

If you think someone else's writing is 'shitty,' 'terrible,' or 'bad' and you think this seriously, as if the writing were objectively 'shitty' or 'terrible' (which means you believe if anyone likes the writing they themselves are 'shitty' and 'terrible'), your existence is a distortion of the universe that causes more pain and suffering. Many people like Gary Lutz. Many people like Stephen King. If you type, "I dislike Stephen King," that is a fact. If you type, "Stephen King is horrible," that is not a fact, it isn't anything; it's you saying either, "I am the only person who exists and my opinions are actually facts," or "I am the entire universe and the universe is not indifferent but actually makes value judgments on specific things within itself without defining a context and a goal."

A person's writing comes from their brain. It is who they are. Some people have very sad facial expressions and when they talk their voices tremble and maybe they have a deep voice or respond mostly with one-syllable answers or maybe they don't speak and don't make eye contact. That is who they are, most people would say. If you met that person you wouldn't say, "Your facial expression and voice are horrible, you have no talent. You have no talent for the pitch of your voice. You are talentless and horrible and unoriginal. Your voice and facial expression are very bad. You should stop doing those things and releasing your terrible shit onto the world. Maybe you should try something else, instead of existing. Maybe you would be good at something else, like not existing." Most of you would not say that about a person's idiosyncrasies, a person's 'personality,' etc. But most of you would say those things about a person's writing, if you didn't like it.

A person's effect on the world is their 'art,' that is who they are. How they move, release noises, arrange their room, write their sentences, give their poems line breaks, etc.

"You have no talent," means "I am the only perspective that exists and I judge you and you are not good," which is a meaningless statement if a context and a goal is not defined.


It's a passage that, when I read it two years ago, made me seriously rethink what I thought about myself and my art and my perspective on other people. It significantly impacted me. Say what you will about what you think about his writing, but his thoughts meant something to me, and they still mean something to me now.
posted by Rory Marinich at 8:44 AM on January 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


We could talk about whether passionless ironic marketing is cleverer than the extreme alternate approach, which is sincerely being a part of a community and trying to make it a better place and everybody helping each other out. That would be a good debate.

Really, RM? You think there's a live debate between shamelessly lying and exploiting people's trust, commanding our attention on false pretenses, vs. engaging honestly and openly and helpfully? That would be a good discussion topic for this thread?

I'm having trouble taking you at your word. It's like when you seemingly describe the same behavior as "nihilistic" and also "nice and well-meaning."

Maybe I am insufficiently evolved on this point, as you hint with your Velvet Underground argument. I mean, if Andy Warhol came in and self-linked, I would say fuck that guy, too. I say fuck that guy anyway, because I think of his career as basically one big self-link. So that's my caveman cred.

Funny thing is, I do think Tao Lin's writing is somewhat interesting. So I understand the impulse to defend him a little in this thread, where people who may not know much about him are piling on his artistic efforts based on the (arguably irrelevant) evidence that he's a spammer.

I take it that the connection between Tao Lin's spamming and his artistic practice is the notion that everything is self-promotion, that we live in a social desert where honesty is impossible. (Query: why then does Tao Lin's prose affect strive so hard for honesty, i.e. spell everything out concretely rather than using inaccurate conventional ways of speaking?). Leave aside that this is a tired theme that's been around for decades. More important: this view is incompatible with the existence of Metafilter. We don't believe in ironic self-promotion as a way of life. The blue is based on the idea that it is possible to earnestly evangelize something that you think is cool, without being a shill. Our hostility to Tao Lin is the same as our hostility to Pepsi Blue. It may be pre-modern to believe in public communications that are not a form of commerce; well, we're a little old-fashioned that way.

That's why it's so bizarre for you to suggest that I (for example) should use Metafilter / this thread to promote my poetry, or whatever. "No reason not to, if you think you're more worthwhile than he is." Again it's hard to tell whether you mean this. But there is a reason. We share a norm against stealing the spotlight. We share a belief, embodied in the rules of the site, that conversation is not necessarily the same thing as self-promotion. It may be naive, but it's why we're here.
posted by grobstein at 8:50 AM on January 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


Tao has good and bad moments as a writer, but what really distinguishes him is his spamminess and relentless self-promotion. It is what it is. I see literally no reason to be any more kind to his spamminess - to pretend it's any more thoughtful or interesting than it is - than we would to any of the other spammers we get on the site from time to time.

If three people reading this decide they might not entirely hate Tao, he's "made a sale", so to speak.

This is exactly why we don't tolerate this kind of behavior, whether it's for Boy Butter or poetry collections.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:01 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oops. Lemme clarify. When I said "We could talk about whether passionless ironic marketing is cleverer" I did not mean "from the perspective of users of this community." From our points of view, self-linking is bad, Tao Lin deserved the banning, etc. If I self-linked I'd deserve banning also.

I meant "talk" in a more theoretical sense. Argue about whether there's ample reward in actually being a part of a community, or if the benefit from coldly using existing communities for your own good somehow outweighs drawbacks like "pissing off communities". I think about this a lot because I'm an advertising major who's marketed things online for years. My stance, for what it's worth, is that Tao Lin's approach is more harmful than helpful, and that it's possible to get much more attention by being sincere and honest about yourself than to manipulate people into getting ahead. But I can also recognize that his approach does work and has been working, and I think there are a lot of interesting implications (that have nothing to do with the fact that he still deserved a banning.

I'm having trouble taking you at your word. It's like when you seemingly describe the same behavior as "nihilistic" and also "nice and well-meaning."

I think you can be nice and well-meaning and still a nihilist. If you actually don't think that something matters (such as, say, respecting arbitrary community guidelines) then in your mind you're not being a bad person by violating them. On MetaFilter I think the guidelines matter. But I don't mind, say, his spamming Wikipedia, because I disagree with a lot of Wikipedia's policies myself and generally have a distaste for the site. So obviously I don't simply think that obeying guidelines is instantly a good thing. Somebody who respects this site less than I do isn't necessarily being a bad person by violating its rules, until that person goes to such an effort that it really harms the community. Tao's post pissed Cortex off, so I'd rather he not do it, but he isn't dealing a considerable amount of damage to us.

Maybe I am insufficiently evolved on this point, as you hint with your Velvet Underground argument.

Separate my admiration for Tao's writing/modernism from my stance on his self-linking. I like the one and dislike the other. But this thread has a lot of people calling him a bad writer, such as Grumblebee who told him not to quit his day job. And I really do think that on MetaFilter there are more users who vocally hate modern art trends than who vocally like them. Or maybe it just seems that way to me.

My comment on the Velvet Underground has to do with the fact that I'm abused by people who claim to dislike modern philosophies/ideas and yet ultimately like the products they product. The Velvet Underground is through-and-through a result of composers like John Cage and La Monte Young. John Cale studied (I believe) with La Monte Young before forming the band. A lot of the things that made VU an awesome band were ideas they took from the more "serious" music world and applied to rock music. Seeing as rock music itself is essentially a postmodern art form compared to pre-rock music, the people who love rock music but still attempt to insist that Cage and Young were "bad" musicians are missing the point in a big way. (To steal from that Tao Lin essay: You're totally allowed to say you don't LIKE Cage and Young. But when you try and insist that they're somehow bad musicians, or even more that their music isn't actually music, then you're just being ignorant.)

That's why it's so bizarre for you to suggest that I (for example) should use Metafilter / this thread to promote my poetry, or whatever. "No reason not to, if you think you're more worthwhile than he is." Again it's hard to tell whether you mean this. But there is a reason. We share a norm against stealing the spotlight. We share a belief, embodied in the rules of the site, that conversation is not necessarily the same thing as self-promotion. It may be naive, but it's why we're here.

I meant "promote in general" rather than "promote on MetaFilter". When I think my work is good, I put effort into getting other people to notice it. In my mind the study of advertising ought to be the study of how to put existing (uncompromised) work into a context that allows other people to appreciate it. I don't believe that all work is arbitrarily commercial or noncommercial, and so I think there's a value in learning how to find as large a market as possible for whatever it is you create. (And if it's good, the argument is that you're doing those people a favor by helping them find you.)

That's not to say I don't think people on MetaFilter should promote themselves. When I make music I'm going to post it here. When I make projects I'm going to post them to Projects, and hope that I've made something interesting enough that somebody else thinks it warrants an FPP. Sometimes I'll promote something I've done in a comment if I genuinely think it fits into context. I'd argue further that that kind of "promotion" that involves being a sincere member of the community is more helpful and maybe even more effective than doing that Tao Lin does. Furthermore even if it's not as effective I still prefer my approach to his. That doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy a good debate over just what it means to promote yourself or to have a "brand" or the like. I'm sure there're people here willing to play devil's advocate and argue the opposition even if they don't agree with it. But that's not the level our conversation's at when we're just gleefully bashing a dude for no reason other than to make ourselves feel better.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:11 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you think someone else's writing is 'shitty,' 'terrible,' or 'bad' and you think this seriously, as if the writing were objectively 'shitty' or 'terrible' (which means you believe if anyone likes the writing they themselves are 'shitty' and 'terrible')

Rory, I don't mean to disparage you and what you take from this, but: this is a very adolescent view. I don't share all my tastes with all my friends. Some of them like books which I thought were utterly shite. It doesn't mean I think *they* are shite. This sounds like a teenager saying 'WEll if you don't like my favourite band then YOU JUST CAN'T GET ME!!!!' and I don't think anyone really feels this way past the age of 20. 21 if they're unlucky.
posted by mippy at 9:30 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


But I'm sure he'd have something to say about the fact that despite your apparently "knowing writing" better than he does, YOU are talking about HIM and not the other way around.

This is exactly why the most appropriate response from someone who dislikes Tao Lin is to actively refuse to engage in his malarkey; to gleefully bash the dude without adding any kind of thoughtful critique in a public sphere of written words. Blanket contentless dismissal is certainly an appropriate reaction to his brand of assbuttery, and none of us are compelled to take the thing from his hand.

or, if you like:

LOL BUTTS
posted by Greg Nog at 9:34 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Seeing as rock music itself is essentially a postmodern art form compared to pre-rock music, the people who love rock music but still attempt to insist that Cage and Young were "bad" musicians are missing the point in a big way.

Maybe I'm also missing the point, but I get the feeling most people like rock music for the things it inherited from Robert Johnson and T-Bone Walker rather than Cage and Young.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:35 AM on January 6, 2011


I think it should be spelled "assbuttry" since "assbuttery" conjures up notions of sweet, delicious buttered ass.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:36 AM on January 6, 2011


Sorry, didn't mean to conjure tempting imagery for those who may be struggling with New Year fitness resolutions -- ass with no butter or salt is actually a very filling snack, and surprisingly low in calories. Try it roasted at 450 for ten to fifteen minutes, with a very light drizzling of olive oil.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:38 AM on January 6, 2011


Please stop all the ass buttery.
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


flying ass buttress
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:41 AM on January 6, 2011


I'm sure he'd have something to say about the fact that despite your apparently "knowing writing" better than he does, YOU are talking about HIM and not the other way around. If you really think that his writing spam poorly means he can't be a talented poet, then you ought to be making yourself the center of conversation. No reason not to, if you think you're more worthwhile than he is.

I am confused. Why would I talk about myself in a thread about Tao Lin? You really think it would have been appropriate for me to write, "Hey guys, can we quit talking about him for a minute and talk about my skills (or lack thereof) as a writer?"

I am a published (minor) author, and this is what I believe: since I "put myself out there as a writer," you have the right to judge my writing. And I really don't care if you judge the writing in one of my books or in a Twitter post. Judge away. I'm a grown up. I knew what I was getting into when I proclaimed myself a writer. Any writer who can't take the heat should stay out of the fucking kitchen. Private diaries and emails to friends are great places to write stuff you don't want to be judged.

And, sure, I sometimes -- maybe often -- fuck things up when I'm writing casually, but that's not your problem. Feel free to judge my writing based on a single poorly-worded post. That's really, really okay. I'll live. And, best of all, if you are clear about what you don't like, and if I can brush my ego aside (which every artist should work hard to do), I may learn something and become a better writer.

I'm not going to waste my time or anyone else's by saying, "but... but... but... NO FAIR! That was just a casual post! Read my other stuff before you judge me." You are under no obligation to do so. By committing myself to being a writer, I am committing myself to having standards when it comes to writing -- all writing, any time.

And, by the way, Tao Lin's post WASN'T just a casual post. He didn't come on here to say, "Yeah! I like 'Star Wars' too!" He was specifically writing a promotional piece about himself. If I did that, I would hold myself to a high standard. And I hold him to the same high standard. If you don't think that's fair, I'm sorry. But I'm glad everyone is not like you. Because people with high standards have make be better than I used to be.
posted by grumblebee at 9:46 AM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


A review of his latest pile of shit book from the NYT:

In attempting to explore boredom, Lin recreates boredom. In attempting to write about obsession, he embraces narcissism. If this was his goal, mission accomplished. But the achievement is a low-hanging fruit, and its rewards are limited. By the time I reached the last 50 pages, each time the characters said they wanted to kill themselves, I knew exactly how they felt.

I don't want this hipster dead. That would be cruel. Castrate it.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:57 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can always ignore it instead. There are far more odious things in the world than a smug git writer.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:58 AM on January 6, 2011


Welp, I guess we can all say that Tao Lin's work is done here. We've spent more time here discussing his work than on just about any other artist I can think of, which I think is a win on his end. There's only so many variations of "Ted Chiang is awesome! Read his stuff" that we can say in a medium like ours, where casual comments are the dominant form of communication. Sure, the commentary here is way more elevated than in most places, but for most people who aren't "experts" or uber-fans on a particular topic, the best we can muster up for comment on art stuff is usually "meh," "hate it," or "love it!". If we have a more nuanced feeling, it often takes us much longer to elucidate, and for most, what's the point? If we wanted to explain our complex reactions to Tao Lin's subtlety, we'd probably be better off getting our own blog and writing an essay grappling with it. So he's clearly played into this by giving us an easy path to interact with the material. It's decidedly uncomplex. You by instinct on the surface WANT to hate it, the writing, the spamming, etc because it's so easy to find reasons to do so, he's laid them out there for you with bright shiny hipster (or what we imagine hipsters to be) markings. And maybe that's the point, so to bring out such vehemence against his work here that people who do have more nuanced and complex reactions to his work, even people who don't like it all that much, are forced to come out to defend him (me included). So there we are, I am now writing what, a couple hundred words that I NEVER would have written because people here are outraged by his being, even though I fell asleep at one of his readings and sometimes would rather stab myself in the eye than read another of his gchat conversations (I did like some of his stories in Bed though, so there's that). So in sum, another win for Tao Lin.
posted by jng at 10:00 AM on January 6, 2011


I very very much enjoy reading things grumblebee has written. I still have no idea what the hell a Tao Lin is for.
posted by MsMolly at 10:09 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


The setting of my own personal bar was that one time at the Cock on Avenue A when that one drag queen gave hirself a milk enema, expelled it into a bowl of froot loops, and then ate the cereal, so, you know. YMMV.

I went to favorite this comment, and I threw up instead. YMMV.
posted by davejay at 10:30 AM on January 6, 2011


jng: “So in sum, another win for Tao Lin.”

Well, if this is a game, I guess. Maybe it is.

I still find this whole thing very amusing. I don't think you have to hate Tao Lin to feel that way. Knowing what little I do about him (I enjoyed the one about shoplifting, what was that called?) I have a strong feeling that he has enjoyed all this, too. And I'll repeat something I mentioned above: I really do think he was completely serious in his last comment here, wherein he said he honestly wanted to know why reading that transcript would inspire such hate in Joseph Gurl. I think lots of people might read that comment as a hurt and sort of stung reaction to criticism, but Tao Lin is far beyond such attachments, I think. I really do believe that he honestly wanted to know: where does this hate come from? It's very interesting, when you think about it. "This is SO OBNOXIOUS!" – we have this reaction to so many things, particularly in our time. I might even go so far as to say that this reaction characterizes our entire era; there have been eras that had much worse problems (racism, sexism, bigotry, casual hatred) but this is our common theme: annoyance. What makes us feel this way? Maybe to talk about that we have to talk about why we hate Tao Lin so much on the way, but I think it still might be fruitful. And I can't help but feel as though Tao himself is probably bemused by this whole thing.
posted by koeselitz at 10:37 AM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I really do think he was completely serious in his last comment here, wherein he said he honestly wanted to know why reading that transcript would inspire such hate in Joseph Gurl.

Just reads like garden variety narcissism to me. "Surely if you hate me, there's some sort of story you'd like to tell about me." Not that Tao is the only narcissist in the creative field, of course.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:39 AM on January 6, 2011


– but unlike most 'garden variety narcissists,' Tao Lin has actually embraced the fact that people hate him. He's written about it. Heck, he's sometimes even actively sought out that hate. It seems like that's what he was doing here, too. I mean, look at the post. He actually asks in the post if he should pack it in and quit writing.

Yeah, maybe that's a kind of narcissism. But it's nonstandard narcissism, at the very least. And it's a narcissism that I think is interesting. To put it another way: I think Tao Lin's narcissism is a reflection of our culture's narcissism, and moreover I think he's aware of that fact and uses it in his art. So I thought this was interesting on that count.
posted by koeselitz at 10:58 AM on January 6, 2011


koeselitz and Sticherbeast: The image of Tao Lin as social scientist is quite amusing, but maybe closer to the truth than we think. I don't think it's garden variety narcissism at all, like koeselitz says, I think he genuinely wants to know why we hated it, which is certainly a valuable question to ask anytime we interact with art. But it's a question we sometimes don't ask ourselves. There are millions of things I dislike or have mixed feelings about but would never spend a second moment thinking about, would never spend ten minutes trying to elaborate my reactions to UNLESS I was presented with a sort of zeitgeisty moment where everyone else was talking about it. For instance, I'm ambivalent about lima beans, but unless a whole group of people begins a crusade about how lima beans should be exterminated from the face of the earth or begins a campaign to make the national food the lima bean, I am certainly not going to discuss my mixed feelings about them now am I? And for an artist, it's a hell of lot easier to manufacture a campaign against you than it is for you. So in some bizarre, self-centered way, I see Tao's stunts as this way of reaching out to ME, and people like me. He doesn't care about the majority of the population who will despise him. In fact he needs people to talk about what a shameless hack he is, if only to create opposition for the 1% who will then have to interact with his art the way he wants. Of course, this is a totally ludicrous idea, but isn't the fact that I have to come up with a ludicrous idea to deal with his art make my day more interesting, which is the point of an artist? (Though it does suck that he has to go outrage/annoy tons of people to engage people like me.)
posted by jng at 11:03 AM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


– but unlike most 'garden variety narcissists,' Tao Lin has actually embraced the fact that people hate him.

Garden variety narcissists do this all the time, definitionally. It's a misconception that narcissists only want to be loved by others. Being hated is a great way to be the center of attention. Ignorance and indifference are the things that really drive narcissists up the wall.

I don't see Tao as being all that special in this regard.
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:07 AM on January 6, 2011


I'm a little surprised to see very little pushback against the notion that Metafilter is a slightly hostile place to postmodern and comtemporary art ideas.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:17 AM on January 6, 2011


MetaFilter can best be described as slightly hostile to nearly everything, except for the few things it is entirely hostile towards. And then there are pancakes and kittens.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:18 AM on January 6, 2011 [31 favorites]

I'm a little surprised to see very little pushback against the notion that Metafilter is a slightly hostile place to postmodern and comtemporary art ideas.
I don't think it's particularly hostile to those ideas in and of themselves, but the collective vibe here on MeFi is "wankers gonna wank," and it's easy to mistake a lot of postmodernism and contemporary art as self indulgent wanking.

I'm not saying that it IS, just that it's very easy to mistake the two for each other. Tao Lin, I think, is an excellent example. If a writer creating a sockpuppet account and self-linking is "part of the art," then art and trolling, or art and SEO spam, are fundamentally indistinguishable.
posted by verb at 11:20 AM on January 6, 2011


(Correction: Tao Lin is not necessarily "indistinguishable from wanking," rather this particular instance of Tao Lin interacting with a potential audience.)
posted by verb at 11:21 AM on January 6, 2011


That's a fair cop, but part of that usually is people fighting any proposition that attempts to define general trends on Metafilter, such as its modernist bent.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:22 AM on January 6, 2011


(sorry, that was a response to Jessamyn, not verb)

I do think Metafilter is at least a little generally hostile towards postmodernism, though. It comes up in almost every 'Hey look at this artist!' thread, it's come up in discussions of John Cage and Jeff Koons. I agree that a lot of contemporary art has an element of wankers gonna wank, but there's a pretty big difference between not looking for nuances in Tao Lin breaking community guidelines in a way that looks just like SEO douches and the sort of wide-swath dismissiveness that seems to come up every time his name is mentioned, the 'Oh he's a terrible writer'/'Talentless narcissistic hipster'/whatever response.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:28 AM on January 6, 2011


I'm a little surprised to see very little pushback against the notion that Metafilter is a slightly hostile place to postmodern and comtemporary art ideas.

I quoted some of Rory's comment, started writing a reply, and realized I was just digesting my stomach even more than I needed to today so I erased it and moved on. I'm certain there are people on the site who are hostile to various kinds of postmodern aesthetic, but as Jess notes there's nothing special about that sentence such that you can't replace "postmodern aesthetic" with just about anything, and I think Rory's blithe assertion that we're collectively pre-modern is foolishly stated at best, and that mistaking the presence of a kind of opinion for the idea that that opinion is representative of the whole site is myopic. But I also don't want to be an asshole about it or anything, so, eh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:02 PM on January 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


If we take "post-modern" to mean art that refers to itself as being constructed by an artist (art that reminds you that it's art), then I'm against it. Not against it in some "you can't have your favorite toy" sense. To each his own. But I'm deeply against it on a personal level. I don't want it in my life. And I have very specific and exacting aesthetic reasons for that.

So I've been an outspoken critic of po-mo on mefi. And I've always faced strong opposition. So guess one's sense of what-the-community-hates depends on which side of the fence you're on.

Most groups are centrist. So I'm guessing mefi isn't particularly pro or anti po-mo. It's probably just anti-extremism. Someone who is championing po-mo as the be-all-and-end-all is going to get flack. And someone, like me, who thinks it's garbage is going to get flack. The safe stance is, "Granted, some of it is wankery, but it's not all bad. In fact, some is really creative and important."
posted by grumblebee at 12:46 PM on January 6, 2011


Apparently MetaFilter is anti-wanking which is an extremist position on the internet which is largely devoted to wanking.
posted by Kattullus at 1:29 PM on January 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


I love post-modernism and experimental writing--y'all have seen enough of my shameless fangirling of Percival Everett (not to mention my shrine to Kathy Acker) that I feel pretty confident of my street cred in this.

But I hate disingenuous spamming, and yes, I have tremendous glee that MeFi's Own cortex spotted the self-shilling so quickly.

As for Tao Lin, I have only read Richard Yates and I didn't really like it. The conceit of naming the main characters after public figures has been done so often and so much better by other people, and the actual language bored me. I suppose I will read more of his work if anyone sends it to me to review, but I am certainly not going to buy it.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:43 PM on January 6, 2011


I've never heard of Rory Marinich or his Experiment. Does that make me hip or square?
posted by slogger at 2:56 PM on January 6, 2011


I do think Metafilter is at least a little generally hostile towards postmodernism, though. It comes up in almost every 'Hey look at this artist!' thread, it's come up in discussions of John Cage and Jeff Koons.


I got the impression from the John Cage discussion that the reaction was less to John Cage in general, and more to 4'33" in particular. It was kind of frustrating to read, actually, and I see no reason why someone can't both enjoy a lot of John Cage's other art and influence while still finding 4'33" kind of gimmicky or pretentious and not liking it.

Of course you could also be talking about a different discussion entirely
posted by Hoopo at 2:59 PM on January 6, 2011


Postmodernism, and conceptual art in general, is clever and insightful when I do it, but pretentious wankery when you do it.

Glad I was able to help straighten that out.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:11 PM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Does that make me hip or square?

According to one wise man, they are one and the same.
posted by jonmc at 5:41 PM on January 6, 2011


I'm a little surprised to see very little pushback against the notion that Metafilter is a slightly hostile place to postmodern and comtemporary art ideas.

I feel you, but I'm experimenting with not getting in arguments on the internet anymore.
posted by Kwine at 6:23 PM on January 6, 2011


Metafilter has a very active and healthy immune system

I am the disease inside you
posted by The Whelk at 6:44 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


as if the writing were objectively 'shitty' or 'terrible' (which means you believe if anyone likes the writing they themselves are 'shitty' and 'terrible')

Huh? That's a total non sequitur.
posted by kenko at 6:54 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Tao Lin wants to write postmodern books, fine, but I'm stunned that anyone over 12 would think that asking people random questions while taking drugs was a cutting-edge thing to do.
posted by lukemeister at 7:22 PM on January 6, 2011


I am the disease inside you

YOU HAVE DEADLINES
posted by shakespeherian at 7:26 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


YOU'RE NOT THE COPY EDITOR OF ME
posted by The Whelk at 7:36 PM on January 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am the disease inside you

You're gas?
posted by jonmc at 8:04 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Tao Lin wants to write postmodern books, fine, but I'm stunned that anyone over 12 would think that asking people random questions while taking drugs was a cutting-edge thing to do.

Isn't it about more than that? The way they're shooting and what the camera's pointed at, Megan and Tao's reaction to the (yes, fairly ridiculous) concept they've chosen for their company and for the individual films (both inside and outside of these actual films), the reaction to it on internet forums, the press's reaction to it, the reactions of the people they're filming, Megan and Tao's relationship with each other, the conversations they've chosen to include, their facial expressions and demeanors, where they've decided to go, what they think they can get away with and call 'art' and try to sell, what we find off-putting about it and why, where this fits into the rest of their work. This also seems to be playing off of / tweaking the whole mumblecore movement; I'm not too familiar with it but maybe that's one key to understanding what they're doing here. So with the full context appreciated, is this "cutting edge" or interesting? I have no idea because the first film isn't even out yet.
posted by naju at 9:07 PM on January 6, 2011


naju, the questions you ask really cut right to the center of the whole argument most people have with postmodern art (at least, as I see it). If the actual act of the artist is simply one tiny seed, and the real "Thing" is the big world of butterfly wings flapping and rainstorms in Colorado and people talking about it on Fark and so on... Well, everything is art and nothing is art.

What I find strange is that after all of that, some people still insist that said artists have a privileged position as artists or writers. They're not, any more than Hurricane Katrina is an artist for provoking strong reactions. Why should an artist who takes that approach receive any more attention or respect than a flash game or a lolcats jpg? There are lots of things that can provoke reactions and responses that are just as (if not more) interesting. The only difference is whether the reactions are about the particular artist or not, which is where the narcissism charge that's come up above enters into play.

I'm not a student of art, and I'd be the first to admit that I'm ignorant of a lot of the history and development of art. I'm not slagging on a movement or a particular artist, I'm honestly trying to figure this out.
posted by verb at 9:36 PM on January 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Verb, you're starting to butt up against the problem with "art": there is no line to cross. our society works very hard to establish boundaries that define whether someone is or isn't, or whether something is or isn't, and certain things (like art) fuck that system up because art isn't a thing -- it's just what we do. All the grar and confusion is just a result of trying to draw boundaries, when what we should be doing is making ourselves happy and not try to label anything.

From that perspective, someone running around annoying the hell out of people is probably not making anyone happy. Does that make it art/not art? I don't know, and I don't care. Just stop annoying me, is my motto.
posted by davejay at 10:29 PM on January 6, 2011


naju, verb, davejay - Those are thoughtful responses.

naju - For me, art has to do more than "épater le bourgeois". It has to say something about the world. I don't see that here. Admittedly, I didn't try too hard because the whole premise rubbed me the wrong way.
posted by lukemeister at 10:46 PM on January 6, 2011


Honestly I think there isn't nearly enough ass buttery around here.
posted by wemayfreeze at 1:08 AM on January 7, 2011




davejay -- yeah, that "no hard and fast line to cross" issue is problematic. I think when some creators play with that idea -- creating works of "art" that are really just an object with commentary attached, or are a transcript of mundane dialogue with a six page artist's statement etc -- the objection is less "I could have done that!" and more "And your point is?"

If the artist's statement (to use an example) is the only way someone can extract meaning from the work, or the work is equivalent to a walk through the grocery store and simply serves as random stimulus for audience reflection, there is a certain frustration. Why not simply turn that artist's statement into an essay on the subject? Why not spend the energy building a meditation center if all you care about is "giving people a space to reflect" or what not?

I absolutely know that it would be unfair to claim that this is a "problem with art" or even a problem with postmodernart in particular. Rather, I'm trying to suss out where that tinge of annoyance really flares up, at least for myself. I think it has something to do with the sense that someone is acting as a provocateur while foisting the work of reflection and creation on the audience. It is an experience, and it is perhaps an interesting activity, but it's hard for me to think that those folks aren't trying to coast on the respect for "art" when they are really just organizing group discussions.
posted by verb at 6:53 AM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


If the actual act of the artist is simply one tiny seed, and the real "Thing" is the big world of butterfly wings flapping and rainstorms in Colorado and people talking about it on Fark and so on... Well, everything is art and nothing is art.

What I find strange is that after all of that, some people still insist that said artists have a privileged position as artists or writers. They're not, any more than Hurricane Katrina is an artist for provoking strong reactions. Why should an artist who takes that approach receive any more attention or respect than a flash game or a lolcats jpg? There are lots of things that can provoke reactions and responses that are just as (if not more) interesting. The only difference is whether the reactions are about the particular artist or not, which is where the narcissism charge that's come up above enters into play.


It sounds to me like you're completely on board with what is so awesome about contemporary art.

I mean, that's the whole point of Cage's 4'33": It isn't LOL-I-Made-A-Piece-Of-Music-That's-Just-Silence, it's that Cage, as an artist, sees the artist's job as providing some sort of structure to what already exists in the world, whether it's arranging pigments on a canvas or varying pressure densities in the air around you. 4'33" is a minimal structure that gets you to pay attention to all the sounds around you in the concert hall, the rustling of fabric, the shuffling of program notes, a woman stifling a cough in the balcony, and to observe the way the audience interacts with this structure (why is she stifling her cough?).
posted by shakespeherian at 7:15 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

It sounds to me like you're completely on board with what is so awesome about contemporary art.
Well... I'd call it what is unique about contemporary art. I wouldn't necessarily call it awesome. ;-)
Cage, as an artist, sees the artist's job as providing some sort of structure to what already exists in the world, whether it's arranging pigments on a canvas or varying pressure densities in the air around you.
I suppose that if you fully embrace the idea that "art is intention" that's true. Twilight is art, and a blank white sheet of paper tacked to the job board is art, and Paint It Black is art, and so on. There's no such thing as good or bad art, simply "art that people don't respond to" and "art that generates a reaction that can be observed."

Also, I'm not suggesting that "I did it for the lulz" motivates postmodern artists; indeed, I find it easier to deal with the lulz-seekers. In some instances they put more genuine work and creativity into what they do than some of the "real artists" I've known. To me, the 4'33" example turns "art" into a soft version of patent squatting -- it's a race to draw a line around some arbitrary phenomenon and call the line itself "art."

Perhaps I am a philistine, because I don't have much respect for that. I might find the artist's reflections on the phenomenon interesting and insightful; I might consider their thoughts on it worth reading, or consider the results a net societal benefit; but that's because I want to hear them discuss their ideas, not because I think their "works of art" are either "work" or "art."

I guess at the end of the day, I'm nagged by the sense that some people want it both ways. They want to embrace the "Art is the audience" view of things, but they also want to glorify the artist and talk up their genius for acting as the catalyst. I can't quite put my finger on it, but this feels like trying to have it both ways.
posted by verb at 7:40 AM on January 7, 2011


Ninety-nine percent of serious discussions about art are hampered by refusals to define terms. What is art? What is an artist? If your answer is, "I don't know, but ...," someone needs to say, "Wait! Wait! Wait! You can't move on to 'but' before you resolve that 'I don't know.'"

And most discussions don't even admit that there's a giant "I don't know" lurking underneath them like some evil, Lovecraftian monster. These discussions, no matter how ornately they're phrased, almost always boil down to "your favorite band sucks!" or "your favorite band rocks!" I love honest shows of enthusiasm, so I'm not deriding "that sucks/rocks." What irritates me is when those sentiments are dressed up in mock profundities. A pig dressed in an evening gown is still a pig.

Why do people do that? I think there are two reasons, one natural and the other pathological. The natural reason is an yearning to put the inchoate into words. It's a social urge. Something affects me deeply and I want to explain to you how I feel. And just saying "wow" doesn't do my feelings justice. Such endeavors are usually doomed, but at least they stem from a genuine desire to connect. The ugly reason has to do with the way many people's minds have been warped by the academy. Schools teach that "just" reacting is a low form of response. Smart people are supposed to analyze. Since most people can't analyze their reactions, they spout pigs in evening gowns.

I am not against fuzzy terminology in all cases. It's often necessary. But it can only take us so far. It's fine for you and me to discuss "love," even though we might both represent the concept differently in our minds. Our representations are close enough for most purposes. Whatever love means, we know it generally involves attachment to a loved object or person. So if I say, "I want to be near Sally, because I love her," you can parse that in a meaningful way, even if we haven't agreed on definitions.

But fuzziness becomes a problem when we try to weigh and measure. Do I love Sally more or less than you love Fido? THAT question is meaningless unless we define love. Generally, fuzzy terms are most useful in one-level conversations -- when we're discussing the fuzzy object itself. As soon as you start to build an intellectual structure on top of the fuzziness, you're in trouble. It's like trying to build a skyscraper on top of quicksand.

What is art? We don't know or don't agree. What is an artist? We don't know or don't agree. "Well, let's just ignore that problem and talk about whether such and such a work is good art or bad art." Wait? What are we talking about?

Having discussed this with a lot of people, I usually hear, "Well, if you take that attitude, you can't discuss art at all" or "Oh, so you're saying it's aaaaaalllll subjective." Those are also not meaningful responses. I'm NOT saying you can't discuss art at all. I'm saying you can't have a rigorous discussion about something you haven't defined. So either you have to define it or, yes, you can't discuss it meaningfully. You can, of course, still discuss it UNmeaningfully, and if you enjoy that, more power to you.
posted by grumblebee at 8:18 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I can't believe it's not assbutter!"
posted by naju at 8:57 AM on January 7, 2011


I guess at the end of the day, I'm nagged by the sense that some people want it both ways. They want to embrace the "Art is the audience" view of things, but they also want to glorify the artist and talk up their genius for acting as the catalyst. I can't quite put my finger on it, but this feels like trying to have it both ways.

That makes perfect sense. For my own part, contemporary art has significantly broaded for the idea of what an artist is, and has served to significantly democratize the concept of artmaking. The idea, for me, of the artist as a singular creative genius, inscrutable, hiding in some New York loft, and occasionally issuing pieces of whole brilliance like transmissions from space is incredibly outdated and unrealistic. Everyone is an artist in some particular way, but I don't mean that as any kind of after-school-special You Are All Unique! fashion. What I mean is that everyone is capable of expressing themselves in a creative fashion, and everyone is capable of highlighting something that they've found to be interested and creating a context and framework for that interest to be shared with others. John Cage is particularly more famous than several other people, but that doesn't make him a genius. His ability to look beyond the limitations of his contemporaneous definitions of what music and art meant in a way that draws beauty out of the everyday world-- that may or may not make him a genius, but I'm not particularly interested in that term.

I think that, in a lot of ways, our overarching Western concept of art is kind of a sham. It turns well-known artists into intellectual superheroes, and transfers the locus of contextualized aesthetics to marble-columned galleries and hushed, oak-paneled rooms, rather than where it should be, which is everywhere. There's a certain joyful, angry nihilism to contemporary art, an energy that oftentimes seeks to destroy the very establishment of capital-A Art that has allowed and necessitated the movement. I think it's thrilling.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:59 AM on January 7, 2011


The Velvet Underground suck. They contributed nothing toward making music any better and didn't play an original note in their life. How does this comment make you feel? I am a post-post-modern post-performance poster posting this post-post post.
posted by fuq at 9:00 AM on January 7, 2011


Who?
posted by mkdg at 9:23 AM on January 7, 2011


fuq: “The Velvet Underground suck. They contributed nothing toward making music any better and didn't play an original note in their life. How does this comment make you feel? I am a post-post-modern post-performance poster posting this post-post post.”

Well, Lou Reed's solo work was certainly better, anyway. The Velvet Underground never released anything as good as The Blue Mask.
posted by koeselitz at 9:31 AM on January 7, 2011


Great now I've got I'm Sticking With You stuck in my head thanks fuq
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 AM on January 7, 2011


shakespeherian: “I think that, in a lot of ways, our overarching Western concept of art is kind of a sham. It turns well-known artists into intellectual superheroes, and transfers the locus of contextualized aesthetics to marble-columned galleries and hushed, oak-paneled rooms, rather than where it should be, which is everywhere. There's a certain joyful, angry nihilism to contemporary art, an energy that oftentimes seeks to destroy the very establishment of capital-A Art that has allowed and necessitated the movement. I think it's thrilling.”

I agree, but I don't think it's an "overarching Western concept." It's actually relatively new; if I'm not mistaken, what we're talking about here is a Romanticist conception of the artist as genius that probably dates from around the late 19th century. That's not to say our conception of art was pure or perfect before then. Also, I'm doubtful that there's some pure "eastern" analogue that's more rational, though I know you didn't necessarily mean to imply that.

Actually, the only sense of "art" that seems coherent to me is the original sense of the word: "art" is stuff that people make. That's all; just stuff that people make, any stuff that any people make. That's what art meant originally, even in ancient Greek, where the word is poesia. Of course, it quickly got all tangled up quickly for them, too, turning into a word that meant all sorts of things. (Hence our word "poetry.") It seems as though people have a tendency everywhere to overcomplicate their notions of art; that's probably because art is immediate and important to us as human beings, so we talk about it a lot and try to make sense of it.

As far as the goodness or badness of art goes, the only sense in which I think art can be said to be good or bad is in a moral sense. The quality of art is wrapped up in the political. I can't think of a coherent way to argue that art can have quality in itself; it can only have relative utility, I think.
posted by koeselitz at 9:57 AM on January 7, 2011




As far as the goodness or badness of art goes, the only sense in which I think art can be said to be good or bad is in a moral sense. The quality of art is wrapped up in the political. I can't think of a coherent way to argue that art can have quality in itself; it can only have relative utility, I think.

I like this. There's a series of short chapters near the end of Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being that discusses the difference between kitsch and art, and ends up concluding that kitsch is that which eschews shit (literally, like, fecal matter), which typifies the messiness and rotting, stinking humanness of reality-- kitsch wants everything to be neat and clean and orderly and saccharine. Kundera links kitsch with fascism-- all fascism is kitsch, in this sense, and all kitsch is at least one kind of fascism. Art is a questioning, and kitsch refuses to acknowledge questions. I think that linking good art with morality is exactly right.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:16 AM on January 7, 2011


As far as the goodness or badness of art goes, the only sense in which I think art can be said to be good or bad is in a moral sense.

I think I sort of understand what you mean, but even THAT gets murky for me.

An inanimate object can't have ethics. A painting never cheats on his wife, steals or murders. Are you talking about moral and immoral ARTISTS?

If you are, the concept of immoral art is still murky. Is Joe's PAINTING immoral because Joe is a rapist? If so, is that true of everything he makes? Is his doghouse immoral?

Or are you talking about how people use art? I would say it's immoral to use a piece of art as Nazi propaganda. But it's also immoral to use, say, a midget Jew as Nazi propaganda (to try to convince people that all Jews are short). But surely that doesn't make the midget himself immoral.

Are you talking about the artist's intention? "I made this painting to prove that women are inferior to men"? I agree that's an immoral act. But what if I look at the painting and interpret it as a study of the color yellow? Again, the locus of the immorality is in the artist, not the work, isn't it.

And, as such, it's banal immorality. The artist is immoral to the same degree (and in the same sense) that the plumber or the politician is immoral. The fact that he used his art as a vehicle for his immoral urges is arbitrary.

I know many people feel uncomfortable viewing art made by bad people, and I'm not saying that's illogical. It's natural for people to form associations. I may not like walking down the street where I got mugged. But that doesn't make the street immoral.

I think the way people usually parse "that piece of art is immoral" goes something like this: "The theme of that novel is that Asians are inferior. That's a racist ideas. Therefor the novel is racist." That's flawless logic in the sense the conclusion follows the premise, but the premise is flawed. The theme ISN'T Asians are inferior. There's no set theme. A theme is an interpretation. And each reader is going to make his own interpretation. The best you can say is "IF you interpret the theme of this novel as a rasist statement, it's an immoral novel."

And even THEN things are confused. I you say, "Asians are inferior," that, to me, is clearly an immoral act. Same if you write it on paper. It's the ACT of writing it that's immoral. But is that piece of paper itself immoral? What about five years after you wrote on it? It's distasteful, to be sure. But immoral? What about after you die?

Eventually, it's so detached from the act of creation, it's just a free-floating statement. Is the IDEA "Asians are inferior" immoral (as opposed to distasteful), even if no one is uttering it?
posted by grumblebee at 10:18 AM on January 7, 2011


Perhaps I am a philistine, because I don't have much respect for that. I might find the artist's reflections on the phenomenon interesting and insightful; I might consider their thoughts on it worth reading, or consider the results a net societal benefit; but that's because I want to hear them discuss their ideas, not because I think their "works of art" are either "work" or "art."

Somebody on MetaFilter (I think) said it very well and I'm going to plagiarize them: What matters today isn't whether or not something is art. Because everything is. So all that matters is whether something is GOOD art, where by "good" I can mean a number of things from "interesting" to "fun" to "made me have a conversation I wouldn't otherwise have" to "made me hug my friends".

If we take "post-modern" to mean art that refers to itself as being constructed by an artist (art that reminds you that it's art), then I'm against it.

That's such a small part of postmodernism and I hate that that's what people jump to thinking of the instant the term comes up. Not that I'm against self-referentiality; I'm introducing a friend to Twin Peaks and I forgot how hilarious its soap-within-a-soap Invitation To Love is. Not to mention the idea of self-referentiality is at least as old as Shakespeare and Hamlet (I'm too lazy to think of which Greek plays I know are self-referential but I'm certain it happened back then too).

In my mind postmodernism literally refers to any art/art movements/people who think that the end result of modernism is the end of meaningful movements entirely. Modernism was a refutation of a lot of older ideas about art; there's a feeling in a lot of Modernist artists' works that they're deliberately trying to approach mediums in ways that traditionally those mediums weren't approached. The end of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises is the first thing that jumps to mind, where instead of approaching a climax or a moment of resolution it just comes to a weary, cynical halt. Or Mondrian's paintings; I don't think that Mondrian was attempting to convey the sterility and hopelessness of modern society, I think he just liked geometric arrangements, but certainly a lot of people interpreted and followed up on his art with the former. The response to the Great War led to a sudden, jolting sense of perspective for a lot of artists and suddenly instead of necessarily trying to interpret modern life (as the Realists did) or depict its ideal (like the Romantics) they were actively trying to critique it, and in the process critique the art of that society.

Postmodernism takes a step beyond that and declares all forms valid. Not just the forms that haven't been made (see Eliot's statement in the Paris Review in 1957 that every poem should do something that no other poems have done) but all forms. The old forms too. The old mixed with the new. Whatever. It doesn't just say that Duchamp's Fountain is art, it says that just because it's art doesn't somehow mean older art forms are in any way less valid.

Which is why a lot of postmodern art borrows from older forms, not ironically. Not just "borrows" in the sense of "lifts a story" but in the sense of replicating the moods and themes of older eras. Twin Peaks, again, which in many ways aims to evoke a sense of nostalgic America, not to critique it (though sometimes to make fun of it) but often just to genuinely appreciate and replicate that nostalgia.

The idea of postmodernism (in my mind) is that we stop asking what's art and what's not. We don't start off by asking if ironically posting a thread to MetaFilter should be considered art; hopefully we don't even use the word art at all. Instead we ask why Tao Lin did that, and what he sought to learn, and if there was anything interesting to be picked out of that (and again, this is entirely separate from the fact that he totally deserved to be banned, which he did). I like the idea that a part of why he's an annoying pest on the Internet is to examine why we get so easily worked up over some relatively unannoying things; we've got 350 comments now in response to one guy posting a self-link. It suggests that we're taking him more seriously than probably we should. (I and some other people are taking him seriously because we like him, so that's all right, but like Greg Nog said, those of you who DON'T like him are wasting your time by talking about him. There's no reason for you to let yourself waste a minute on him unless you're convinced that he's somehow worth the time.)

Now, I don't know if that was his intention or not — but again, it doesn't matter if that was his intention or not. Assuming it was his intention makes his action much more interesting, and makes for a better conversation, and so there's no reason to wait and see if that's actually what he meant.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:23 AM on January 7, 2011

Somebody on MetaFilter (I think) said it very well and I'm going to plagiarize them: What matters today isn't whether or not something is art. Because everything is. So all that matters is whether something is GOOD art, where by "good" I can mean a number of things from "interesting" to "fun" to "made me have a conversation I wouldn't otherwise have" to "made me hug my friends".
Right, and I'm not making the argument that, say, Tao Lin's work isn't "art" -- rather I'm arguing that if someone wants to argue that art is everywhere and everything, that the act of living is art, and so on... well, there's no reason to defend "The Artist" as a class worthy of special consideration. It's just a person doing what everyone else does who happens to have successfully marketed his or her ripple-effects as desirable.

Earlier in the thread some people were arguing that Tao Lin's post on MetaFilter was part of his art. I would argue that Cortex's banning of Tao Lin and subsequent examplification of every link -- even the wikipedia link -- was "art" in the very same way. I don't mean that in a "gotcha, pomo wanker!" sort of way, either; it contextualized an everyday occurrence, there was a reaction to it, and it triggered a profound reaction and reflection in a way that the post itself wouldn't have.
The idea of postmodernism (in my mind) is that we stop asking what's art and what's not.
That's fine as long as we stop funding, promoting, or educating about it as well. That's the "wanting it both ways" thing that I was talking about. Friends of mine who went to art school and love the idea that everything is art also get outraged by funding cuts for The Arts. I'm not sure how they can resolve the two, honestly.
I like the idea that a part of why he's an annoying pest on the Internet is to examine why we get so easily worked up over some relatively unannoying things; we've got 350 comments now in response to one guy posting a self-link. It suggests that we're taking him more seriously than probably we should.
Well, if you chart the trajectory of the thread, most of the traffic early on consisted of people who thought it was hilarious, or were amused to see a personality they didn't care for get smacked down in public. The second wave of this thread (at least as I see it) kicked in when people said that this reaction was a symptom of MetaFilter's hatred of postmodern art.
There's no reason for you to let yourself waste a minute on him unless you're convinced that he's somehow worth the time.
The Twilight Novels have prompted a lot of discussion about what constitutes good YA literature, but that doesn't mean the people having those discussions automatically think Twilight is in and of itself worth the time.

I want to be clear that I'm not trying to be fighty; I'm enjoying the discussion here and am glad that people with different perspectives and more depth of experience and understanding are giving me some new thoughts to chew on.
posted by verb at 10:36 AM on January 7, 2011


Rory Marinich, your definition of Post Modernism is that it's "art/art movements/people who think that the end result of modernism is the end of meaningful movements entirely." To me, that makes sense when you're talking about ARTISTS as opposed to art WORKS.

What would it mean for a work to somehow say (or evoke or comment on or illustrate) the idea that "the end result of modernism is the end of meaningful movements entirely"?

In order to do this, wouldn't the work necessarily have to be a work (at least partly) ABOUT art -- a work that somehow makes you think about art?

And if it's doing this, isn't it, by nature, self-referential?

I'm trying to gell that with your claim that self-reference is "such a small part of postmodernism and I hate that that's what people jump to thinking of the instant the term comes up."
posted by grumblebee at 10:43 AM on January 7, 2011


Friends of mine who went to art school and love the idea that everything is art also get outraged by funding cuts for The Arts. I'm not sure how they can resolve the two, honestly.

Just because everything can be interesting and aesthetic and art doesn't mean that there aren't skills or abilities or modes of thought that can be cultivated and taught and explored more deeply. I mean, I can run down to Best Buy right now and within two minutes become a filmmaker-- that doesn't mean that film school isn't worthwhile.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:47 AM on January 7, 2011


me: “As far as the goodness or badness of art goes, the only sense in which I think art can be said to be good or bad is in a moral sense.”

grumblebee: “I think I sort of understand what you mean, but even THAT gets murky for me.”

Oh, certainly. Heh. It gets just as murky and fraught as the political consideration of morality has to be. And I have to say that I find it worrisome, too, even though I believe it's true...

“An inanimate object can't have ethics. A painting never cheats on his wife, steals or murders. Are you talking about moral and immoral ARTISTS? ... Or are you talking about how people use art? ... Are you talking about the artist's intention?”

Answers: No. Sort of. No.

I guess I could make things slightly easier by defining myself as a utilitarian of sorts. When I say "morality," I'm talking about benefit or harm; what does benefit for people is good. So when I say that the only sense in which I think art can have "quality" is in a moral sense, I mean: art is only good art or bad art insofar as it does benefit or harm to people.

Interestingly, I don't think this necessarily has a lot to do with the intention of the artist; maybe you could say that the more politically wise an artist is, the more likely it is that the impact their art has matches their intention. (I might even go so far as saying that "artistic skill" is identical to "political wisdom." I'll have to think about that one.) An example that I think makes sense: Stalin-era Soviet propaganda, which was ostensibly intended to prop up an unjust regime bent on killing millions. Yet this stuff is often quite beautiful; it's a continuation in many ways of the Russian tradition of iconography, and has a stark and striking style. It would be possible, I think, for such art to be beneficial to people; I think it's even likely that it's been beneficial to a lot of people. I can't say exactly what the intentions of the artists were. Does that matter when it comes to the benefit or harm art provides to people?

Well, yes, it does. But only in an ancillary sense. I agree that art is also about communication. However, I don't think that aspect of it changes the political dimension all that much. When I said above that art is thus fraught with all the difficulties of the political consideration of morality, I meant something like this: a piece of art might speak to me deeply, saying something really tremendous – I might even see some deep and esoteric thing that the artist intended to communicate to me in it – and yet it might still be harmful to most people in society. So of course we have to ask in that case: is it good art? If it's harmful to most people, I think we have to agree that it's bad art, but that's not a simple relationship. It's still good to me. The interplay between these things – between the one and the many, between me myself and everyone else, between benefit and harm – these thing seem tied to the core of what art is.
posted by koeselitz at 10:50 AM on January 7, 2011


What matters today isn't whether or not something is art. Because everything is. So all that matters is whether something is GOOD art

I don't buy this.

Partly, I don't buy it for reasons I explained above. People "back then" didn't define art, so they couldn't meaningfully talk about what is or isn't in that category any more than people can today.

But what I really don't buy is that "art," whatever it is, is out of the equation. And until it is, or until we've defined it, we're still in the land of murk.

Art is in the equation because people don't really believe that "everything is art." The penny in my pocket is not art. The dog turn on the sidewalk is not art. Sure, it -- maybe -- BECOMES art if someone labels it as such and puts it on display. But, before that, it's in a category called "not art." What's in that category differs from person to person.

If everything is art, then "what we care about is whether art is GOOD or not" is a dumb phrase. It's claiming to be dispensing with "art" but it's not. If it was, we'd say, "what we care about is whether things are good or not." And we'd be comparing any object to any other object with no framework with which to make that comparison.

This is the kind of unworkable scaffolding I was talking about above. It makes no sense to say "there's something called art, but I'm not going to define it or worry about what is or isn't art. Instead, I'm going to talk about whether an individual example of it is good or bad."
posted by grumblebee at 10:51 AM on January 7, 2011


I know art. I am art.
posted by The Whelk at 10:55 AM on January 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


we've got 350 comments now in response to one guy posting a self-link. It suggests that we're taking him more seriously than probably we should.

I think your conceptualization of the reason for and nature of the thread is actually taking the idea of Tao Lin as a special agent in this too seriously. There have been many long snarky Metatalk threads about things that happened on Metafilter before that are as much about people here celebrating/criticizing/riffing-about the community as a place where odd things happen as they are about anything.

These sorts of threads used to be more common a few years back. The admin workflow was looser, tools for dealing promptly with spammers were fewer and cruder and less predictive, there were fewer admin eyes on the till at any given average moment of the day; as a result, instead of spammers being banned quickly and inevitably, even the boldly stupid ones would often stick around for a few hours, and instead of a quick pile of flags or some contact form emails or an automated system alert to us that one of the new tagged-as-sketchy users had made a first post, there would be a metatalk post and a bunch of people goofing around therein.

So in a sense the most interesting thing about this thread is it's status as a sort of callback to a younger Metafilter/Metatalk. Whereas (a) it used to be enough for there to be some spam on the front page to justify a Metatalk post and (b) that sort of thing happened a lot more often, these days we nab the shills a lot quicker almost every time so there's no spectacle in the first place and we also kind of discourage going to Metatalk just to point out that something needing mod attention is taking place if it's something we're just going to clean up really shortly anyway. The Batsignal has been largely retired in that sense.

So this thread is an excuse for some of that old revelry. It's function in that sense as a comment on the evolving dynamics of Metafilter's community culture and Metatalk's function therein is a lot more interesting to me than is the question of Tao Lin's involvement as impetus for it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:07 AM on January 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


Again, I Heart Cortex.
posted by verb at 11:17 AM on January 7, 2011


Cortex: I had no idea. That makes this thread way neater than I thought. Heh.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:24 AM on January 7, 2011


It makes no sense to say "there's something called art, but I'm not going to define it

I realize no one has, like, attempted to nail down all the edges on Art: The Definition And Borders, but I don't think it's true that this thread has really had any refusals to attempt gestures in the direction of definition. I've seen a good handful of attempted working definitions up above, and a working definition, while obviously not final, works. We don't need to agree 100% on exactly where art begins or ends in order to have a functional conversation about it or the relative merits or demerits of any particular piece or work-- that's part of the fun of conversation.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:31 PM on January 7, 2011


shakespeherian, people DO define art from time to time. That's fine, as long as we're all aware that they're giving their personal definition.

After defining art, they then tend to build a logical scaffold on-top-of that definition, which makes sense, because it's probably the reason they defined it in the first place. So, after talking for a while, they've built something like this:

ART_AS_I_DEFINE_IT --> A --> B --> C --> D...

Then someone chimes in and says, "No, that's not true, because C is wrong." Now, is that person saying, "C is wrong GIVEN that starting definition of art" or does he not accept the starting definition? Without knowing the answer to that, his objection doesn't make sense. And it's usually really unclear which of those possibilities he means.

Now, you mentioned edge cases. I'm not saying that we can't have a meaningful discussion about something unless it's pinned down to the Nth degree. Can we discuss vegetables without deciding whether a tomato is a vegetable or not? Sure, as long as we're not discussing tomatos.

We can do this because, though personal definitions of vegetables vary, they don't (I think) vary all that much. For instance, we all agree they are plants. So, you're totally safe building a structure like this:

VEGETABLE_LEFT_LOOSELY_DEFINED --> A -->B --> C because they are plants --> D...

But art isn't like that. Art isn't just loosely defined. We have no guarantee than any two random people (e.g. people not trained in the same school) share ANY facets of even a loose definition. If someone feels there are certain aspects of art that we all pretty much accept, I'd love to hear what they are. This, I think, is what you're claiming. That we CAN talk about art, because though we haven't defined it in some super-sharp way, we are in general agreement about what it is. Whereas I deny that we are.

There's at least one object in the world that pretty much everyone agrees is art. No, there isn't.

There's at least one object in the world that pretty much everyone agrees ISN'T art. No, there isn't.

Art is something of value? Some say yes, some say no.

Art is a debased by commerce? Some say yes, some say no.

The artist is a special sort of person? Some say yes, some say no.

Art is a form of communication? Some say yes, some say no.

Art must be made by a human (e.g. an example of art can't be the sunrise.) Some say yes, some say no.

Art has a relationship to ethics. Some say yes, some say no.

Art has specific relationship X to ethics. Some say yes, some say no.

The artist's intentions are important. Some say yes, some say no.

Some people's opinions about what is art are more meaningful than others. Some say yes, some say no.

There's such a thing as high art and low art. Some say yes, some say no.

High art is more valuable than low art. Some say yes, some say no.

It makes sense to say that art object A is better than art object B. Some say yes, some say no.

Aesthetics are entirely subjective. Some say yes, some say no.

etc.
posted by grumblebee at 2:07 PM on January 7, 2011


I'm surprised that you work in theater and yet think a conversation can't work unless every single person in a conversation is working from the exact same perspective. The first rule of writing dialogue is that it's utterly unrealistic to have people communicate directly; almost all the value in any dialogue ever comes from the ways in which people talk past one another, yet collectively reach a conclusion anyway.

The value in a discussion about art doesn't come from all of us eventually agreeing. It comes from us each seeing value in each other's definitions, and in adding them to our own perspective, all the while arguing our own points in the hopes that other people might take something small from our points. None of my friends agree on what art is, or even on what art isn't. That's what makes the conversation so valuable. And that's why I get a little irked at the fact that you insist on making this a conversation about "what is art?". We'll never come to an exact definition, and we know we never will, and it's damned boring talking about it for longer than a few seconds when we could be talking about something less vacuous.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the first conversation I've been in with you where the discussion ironically became about your dislike of self-referentiality. I'd go farther and say that you're talking more about self-referencing art than anybody else in this thread is.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:17 PM on January 7, 2011


TRULY, WHAT IS FART
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:19 PM on January 7, 2011


Then someone chimes in and says, "No, that's not true, because C is wrong." Now, is that person saying, "C is wrong GIVEN that starting definition of art" or does he not accept the starting definition? Without knowing the answer to that, his objection doesn't make sense. And it's usually really unclear which of those possibilities he means.

I'm not really sure why you're using an argument with your own imagined hypothetical to make your case.

people DO define art from time to time. [...] Some say yes, some say no. [etc]

That's all well and good, but I'm not talking about how to ever have a conversation about art with everyone in the entire world simultaneously. I'm talking about this thread, and this conversation, right now, which is what I'd assumed you were addressing.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:19 PM on January 7, 2011


I'm surprised that you work in theater and yet think a conversation can't work unless every single person in a conversation is working from the exact same perspective.

I'm assuming you wrote that before my last post.

Yes, there's great value in discussing love, even though we aren't in complete agreement about what it is. Why? Because we're in PARTIAL agreement.

There's no value in discussing what Fleggplaths do, because we aren't in any sort of agreement about them. What if I said, "I'm not going to define Fleggplaths, but given that we all have a vague idea of what they are, I'm going to argue that they should cost three dollars. And I though we should gradually raise their price -- maybe by six percent -- over the next ten years. Then, one day, we should just start giving them away for free."

That's totally meaningless.

The question is whether art is more like love or more like Fleggplaths? If you think it's more like love, can you explain? I can tell you some areas of agreement that most people share about love, e.g. that it's a positive feeling. That it sucks to be without it. That we generally want to be close to things we love... What are those points of agreement about art? And if there are none, how can we possibly have a meaningful discussion about it: if there are none, it's a nonsense word.

And, in my experience, even when Joe gives a definition of art, Sam and Alice argue with him without accepting his definition -- but they don't argue with his definition. On the surface, the discussions are far more complex than the following, but this is what they boil down to.

Most of the valuable discussions about art I've heard are valuable in a sort of word-association way. E.g. Joe defines art, and, as an example, brings up "Gone With the Wind." Mary says she disagrees, and then says something really interesting about "Gone With the Wind." Then Mike says, "The great thing about that movie is the acting!" And so on. The individual comments are interesting -- sometimes fascinating -- but the conversation has no logical coherence. "Art" is an excuse to riff on various works. That's fine, except it's a little weird. I'm not sure why we then pretend we're talking about art and saying something meaningful about it.
posted by grumblebee at 2:30 PM on January 7, 2011


I'm not talking about how to ever have a conversation about art with everyone in the entire world simultaneously. I'm talking about this thread, and this conversation, right now, which is what I'd assumed you were addressing.

I'm happy to confine our discussion to this thread.

What are the properties of art we've agreed on in this thread? If there are ZERO aspects of it we've agreed on -- if "art" is as meaningful as "blork" in this thread, then what are we talking about? If it's MORE meaningful than "blork," can you explain how? What are some of its properties?

If people in this thread have given their own definitions of art, where are the specific conversations in which those definitions have been used for a subsequent exchange?
posted by grumblebee at 2:33 PM on January 7, 2011


This is the kind of unworkable scaffolding I was talking about above. It makes no sense to say "there's something called art, but I'm not going to define it or worry about what is or isn't art. Instead, I'm going to talk about whether an individual example of it is good or bad."

The novel from which the Rory Marinich Experience took its name is a perfect example of why I don't think your argument holds water. In the novel (the superb Heartstrings by Harry Rominic), protagonist Ryan Cimihorr (probably autobiographical since "Ryan Cimihorr" is an anagram of the author's name) walks into an open mic night with a guitar and plucks a single string angrily, after confessing that he doesn't know how to play the guitar but can't think of another way to express himself.

The novel itself never asks whether plucking a single string counts as music if you're emotional about it; I don't know if it asks about "art" at all. But in the book Cimihorr gets applauded for his performance nonetheless, which inspires him to walk in a week later and try plucking two strings, sometimes on their own, sometimes together. A good part of the novel is just a gorgeous meandering narrative of Cimihorr's experience at these open mics, and at the tremendous outpour of support he receives from the listeners at the mic nights, including other performers. Nobody asks whether he has a right to be doing this, or whether there's a meaning to his individual notes. And attempting to ascribe meaning to those notes is sort of an odd thing to begin with. Why insist that those notes mean anything more than what they mean to the person playing them and the person listening to them, right?

The curious part came when Ry Orram formed RME and patterned all of the songs on his first album (also called Heartstrings off the descriptions of Cimihorr's performances in the book. The novel was about Cimihorr finding other people who couldn't play instruments but wanted to express themselves; Orram was a seasoned musician who played with other seasoned musicians, but was recreating the idea of sounds played by a complete amateur. Fans of the book were divided. Some people thought that the album was a great companion to the novel, kind of like people listen to Harry and the Potters while reading J K Rowling's novels. Other people thought that there wasn't any point to listening to notes that blandly strung together, and accused Orram of cynically marketing to fans of the book. But my favorite reaction was that of the people who heard the music without any context and thought that the songs legitimately sounded good, even if they hadn't read the book beforehand.

I think this kind of scenario is a perfect illustration of postmodernity. You have three groups of people responding to an album that references a novel. One group likes the album because it references the novel. Others denounce the album because its reference was in some ways inauthentic. A third group didn't get the reference but still had an authentic response to the music. All of these are valid approaches to Heartstrings; no one is more authentic than the other. And if you argue that one of those groups of people are somehow wrong for their feelings then you're doing exactly what Tao Lin argues is harmful: You suggest that their experience is somehow invalid or inauthentic, and deny them the rights to their own voice.

(Mippy, I don't know if you're reading this thread still, but this is why I disagree with you re: the adolescence of that opinion. It's not that there's no such thing as a right opinion. It's that you shouldn't phrase your opinion in a way that denies somebody else their own expression.)

Of course the other facet of postmodernity is that tracking these various points of view is exhausting. You almost can't do it comprehensively. So when the RME released their second album, gstepl, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with the book, the reactions of those three camps was further split and divided. (Some people wished it was more authentic to stick to the book; some thought that the second album was the first "authentic" release by the band; others heard the second album without ever knowing the first; a few tried to somehow connect the songs in gstepl to the book and came up with nifty connections that almost certainly weren't intentional.) None of these people were wrong, still. And it becomes pointless to act as if there's a greater meaning in studying all these individual reactions other than what meaning we individually ascribe to it.

So the big thing about postmodernism is that it's playful. It doesn't take itself too seriously. Even when it tries to make a serious point it acknowledges that any attempt at seriousness is going to be limited in scope, and beyond that completely serious discussion lies hilarity and absurdity. Which I love more than anything, because it tells us to try and not be upset by other people's opinions, and to try not to hurt other people with our own opinions. That leads to happiness and hugging.

As for why you're so hung up on self-referentiality: I don't see why. I imagine you're not a big Rory Marinich Experience fan or have even listened to the band; probably you haven't read Heartstrings or even heard of Rominic. But I can still refer to that novel and that band and make valid points that you can appreciate without the context. Isn't that the idea of fiction anyway? Things don't have to exist to be meaningful, except for in a very limited use of the word "meaningful".
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:51 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, koeselitz said that "art" is stuff that people make. He then proposed that the difference between good and bad art is a moral one, and a political one; I responded to this with something I read in a Kundera book. I was certainly having a meaningful conversation from which I gained understanding of the ideas of others, which I in turn used to shift my own ideas. But I'm not going to read the thread for you. If you don't think this is a conversation that it's possible to have, you're welcome to that opinion, but I'd just as soon just keep having it anyway.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:52 PM on January 7, 2011


Art is anything that is art.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:00 PM on January 7, 2011


grumblebee, I sense from your last response to shakespeherian that you aren't really talking about a problem with the definition of art. It sounds a lot more like you're talking about a problem with the definition of words in general – art, tree, car, love, etc. In what was is the problem you're talking about not strictly a semantic issue? I don't see how it relates specifically to whatever it is people call "art."

grumblebee: “What are the properties of art we've agreed on in this thread? If there are ZERO aspects of it we've agreed on -- if "art" is as meaningful as "blork" in this thread, then what are we talking about? If it's MORE meaningful than "blork," can you explain how? What are some of its properties?”

Clearly there are some things in common, or else the word would be completely incomprehensible. It's the same as it is with "love," right? There are some things people vaguely have in mind when they hear the word "art;" for example, people painting things, people making music, people creating sculptures, etc. I tried earlier to give a definition that binds all of those things together. I said that art seems to be stuff that people make, and I said that the definition would seem to have to be that broad to encompass all of these things.

I guess that's a cop-out. I resort to it because I don't really hang my hat on the importance of being able to say the word "art" and have everybody agree with me on whatever that word means. I'd rather not argue about it. Shouldn't we spend our time talking about the underlying things, instead of the definitions of words? People are allowed to use the word "art" to denote whatever they want, I guess, but the stuff that people makeall the stuff that people make – is what actually interests me, not those three little letters that seem so magical.
posted by koeselitz at 3:01 PM on January 7, 2011


Rory, I think the really interesting part only comes in later, in Harry Rominic's semi-fictionalized autobiography, Two from the Heart, in which Rominic addresses all of the above but then sort of slyly suggests that Ry Orram-- who was briefly Rominic's roommate in Dusseldorf-- wrote all of the performance passages in the book.

Most critics have dismissed the suggestion as yet another example of Rominic trying to complicate the fairly-straightforward details of his life (see also his claims of appearing in the short-lived teevee show Rory's Experience), and certainly it seems unlikely because the prose style of the passages in question lies pretty close to that of the rest of the novel, but really doesn't that just make you more curious? Because it seems that the author of the novel is telling us, the audience, something directly about the creation and, perhaps, intention of the work, and yet we don't really believe him, and we aren't really sure if we're supposed to believe him. Which is, most likely, also intentional on his part, but who really knows?

And what this does is complicate the entire interplay between novel, autobiography, album, audience, and two famous artists-- if art is supposedly a communication, in which direction in this mess does the communication flow? What is being communicated, and how? Where, exactly, does the communication lie? Certainly not entirely on the page of either book, or in the music on Heartstrings or gstepl, but maybe, in a certain sense, only in the conversations that fans and critics have with one another, because if Rominich is attempting to talk about the murkiness of the creative process and the reception of the audience, that conversation exists nowhere in the work. But that certainly doesn't mean that it doesn't exist, or that it isn't interesting-- and isn't that interesting?
posted by shakespeherian at 3:07 PM on January 7, 2011



I resort to it because I don't really hang my hat on the importance of being able to say the word "art" and have everybody agree with me on whatever that word means.
Yeah, that's true, but one of the interesting things for me is the fact that this discussion bubbled out of that very issue. Tao Lin was taking knocks from people who don't think much of his work, and consider him something of a wanker. Others said that this was a consequence of MeFi somehow not "getting" or not appreciating Postmodern art.

Subsequent discussion in this thread has driven home the idea that this is basically a conflict around whether 'Art' is a useful descriptive concept or whether it's just a way of ascribing relative value based on subjective preference. I think I'd have a bit more respect for the postmodernist perspective if the opening salvo of the discussion hadn't, essentially, appealed to the reflexive reverence for Capital-A Art to defend Tao Lin's work. That's where my nagging sense of "You want this both ways," keeps coming in, I think.

Congratulations, postmodern artist! You have successfully destroyed the very idea of art! As a consequence, you don't get to bitch when I call you a narcissist with a typewriter.
posted by verb at 3:33 PM on January 7, 2011


But I'm not going to read the thread for you. If you don't think this is a conversation that it's possible to have...

I never said anything a conversation being impossible to have. If you're having the conversation, then clearly it IS possible to have. My claim is that the word "art" is meaningless or close to it.

Maybe I need to define what I mean by meaningless: I mean that if John says "art" to Bill, no useful meaning is exchanged between them on a LITERAL, LOGICAL, SEMANTIC level connected to the MEANING OF THAT WORD, unless he defined the term. Unless by accident, there's no shared definition of the word between Bill and John. And if John DOES define "art," there's no reason to believe Bill will agree with that definition.

I am not saying that conversations that employ the word "art" are never useful. The term may lead people to free-associate, which may lead to all kinds of interesting things being said.

This is the kind of unworkable scaffolding I was talking about above. It makes no sense to say "there's something called art, but I'm not going to define it or worry about what is or isn't art. Instead, I'm going to talk about whether an individual example of it is good or bad."

The novel from which the Rory Marinich Experience took its name is a perfect example of why I don't think your argument holds water.

That sounds like an interesting novel, but I don't understand what it has to do with my argument. Do you think I was saying, "Since 'art' is a meaningless term, it's pointless to discuss individual works or to create things?" That's not what I'm saying at all.

I think playing music is an incredibly valuable experience. And I think talking about "The Godfather" can be thrilling and meaningful. What I DON'T think tends to be meaningful is talking about "art," because no one agrees on what that word means.

Clearly there are some things in common, or else the word would be completely incomprehensible. It's the same as it is with "love," right? There are some things people vaguely have in mind when they hear the word "art;" for example, people painting things, people making music, people creating sculptures, etc. I tried earlier to give a definition that binds all of those things together. I said that art seems to be stuff that people make

No, there are people who don't think "people painting things" has anything to do with art. And there are people who will tell you that a mountain is art. And a mountain is not in the set of "stuff that people make."

In my experience, the word "art" makes most sense when used by people who are operating within the framework of some specific traditions. For instance, a group of classicists hanging out together can say "art" and mean a collection of things that include Ovid's "Metamorphosis" and "The Illiad."

But someone not in that group might say, "I don't accept those things as art."

In other words, within a group of enthusiasts, "art" can roughly mean, "Those works that our group members value."

I don't think MeFi is composed of any group that can are in the way that, maybe, classicists or rappers can.
posted by grumblebee at 4:01 PM on January 7, 2011


Grumblebee: Then I'm confused what your argument is. I've said repeatedly that I DON'T like using the word art. Everything is art. Nothing isn't. The term is meaningless. There's a question of what's good and what's bad, and those are subjective terms, and our debate will be much more fun if we stop voicing our opinions like they're somehow a statement of objective fact.

Shakespeherian: I've never seen Rory's Experience. Can you elaborate on how it connects with Heartstrings and Rominic?

I find it curious that an author whose debut novel was about the authenticity of amateur creation has been at the center of such a shitstorm regarding whether his own work is authentic. I think he would argue that "authentic" is simply what speaks to the individual rather than some kind of blanket claim to be made about any piece of work. Sort of how Heller's Catch-22 is one of the definitive novels about wartime despite Heller's never having been to war.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:10 PM on January 7, 2011


Grumblebee: Then I'm confused what your argument is. I've said repeatedly that I DON'T like using the word art. Everything is art. Nothing isn't. The term is meaningless. There's a question of what's good and what's bad

What's good and what's bad in reference to what? Chairs? Bubblegum?

If you agree that art isn't a meaningful word (I know that's not what you said, but IF), then how can it make sense to talk about what art is good and what art is bad?

I think it can make sense to say things like, which works in the Met are good. You can accept "things in the Met" as a definition of art. Or you can say, "I don't care if they're art or not. But I do want to talk about them. I want to ask if any of them are good."

At that point, there's are a lot of complications centering around the words "good" and "bad," but at least you've narrowed down the set of objects under discussion.

our debate will be much more fun if we stop voicing our opinions like they're somehow a statement of objective fact.

Who is doing that?
posted by grumblebee at 4:21 PM on January 7, 2011


I've already answered your question, and I answered it in about two sentences. Your inability to respond likewise makes you a very bothersome debater, particularly when I'm still uncertain what you're even talking about.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:29 PM on January 7, 2011


Rory's Experience only lasted for seven episodes in 1994. It was supposed to be a story about a young boy who follows around rock band, idolizing them, and eventually joins the world of rock stars (sort of but not really a proto-Almost Famous); the show was cancelled before much of the arc got off the ground. Originally the only connection to Heartstrings or Rominic was that the show was pretty clearly created by a fan (hence the name), but there was no legal or official connection, which is part of why the show was cancelled, once Orram found out about it. The best episode, in my opinion, was episode four, which consists almost entirely of a dream sequence in the mind of Rory (the main character)-- we see Rory, played by the same child actor in unconvincing makeup (false beard and age lines) to make him look mid-30s, touring with the band (called 'The Experience' in the show, an obvious homage) as lead guitar and backup singer. Curiously, this episode is the only one in which we hear The Experience perform any music, so it's never really clear whether their sound in the world of the show is supposed to be what it is in this episode or not, given that it's a dream.

In any case, they sound a lot more like a Beach Boys knock-off than The Rory Marinich Experience does on any of their albums. The episode ends with Rory waking up, with an electric guitar at the foot of his bed, and blisters on his fingers. But the interesting part is that the show's soundtrack (which was released after it had already been cancelled) credits the song from this episode to 'The Experience???', as if we're supposed to wonder which plane of reality the band in the show exists, especially as we don't know who actually performed the music-- whether it was the actors in the show, or someone else. Who is The Experience??? And when you listen to that track on the soundtrack, what are you listening to? The actors who may or may not have performed it, the actual musicians who may have been behind the scenes, the band from Rory's imagination, the band from the show's imagination? What, exactly, is fictional about this song?
posted by shakespeherian at 4:41 PM on January 7, 2011


fuq: “The Velvet Underground suck. They contributed nothing toward making music any better and didn't play an original note in their life. How does this comment make you feel? I am a post-post-modern post-performance poster posting this post-post post.”

I'm post prefix myself. The Velvets and Lou Reed both had their moments, but Mitch Ryder and Detroit's cover of "Rock & Roll" is better than either. (Lou Reed is on record as saying of Ryder's version, "That's what I wanted the song to sound like in the first place)
posted by jonmc at 5:10 PM on January 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tao Lin: he's no Matthew Chen.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:53 AM on January 8, 2011


Tao Lin: he's no Todd Lokken.
posted by jtron at 8:47 AM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rory Marinich: Sort of how Heller's Catch-22 is one of the definitive novels about wartime despite Heller's never having been to war.

Not to derail, but Heller did serve during WW2.
In 1942, at age 19, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps. Two years later he was sent to Italian Front, where he flew 60 combat missions as a B-25 bombardier. His Unit was the 488th Bomb Squadron, 340th Bomb Group, 12th Air Force. Heller later remembered the war as "fun in the beginning... You got the feeling that there was something glorious about it." On his return home he "felt like a hero... People think it quite remarkable that I was in combat in an airplane and I flew sixty missions even though I tell them that the missions were largely milk runs."
Wikipedia
posted by nfg at 9:44 AM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


We see you, Tao Lin.
We hatin'.
posted by ostranenie at 4:34 PM on January 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to derail, but Heller did serve during WW2.

You know who else served during WWII?
posted by grobstein at 9:20 PM on January 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


I read a lot of book blogs - but er, sorry, never heard of Tao Lin. However what he's doing sounds exactly like something that a few book blogs were excoriating a romance novel conference newsletter for suggesting - that authors gain new readers by going into blogs/forums/other online places where they could comment and basically post spam about their own works in order to get new readers interested. Because of course that's such a good idea. (/sarcasm)

Yes, I am indeed comparing Tao Lin's to those particular romance authors/editors that thought spam was a dandy idea for getting atttention. Not that being in that company would bother me if I was an author, but I have a feeling a hipster might be annoyed that he was lumpd in with any but the art folk.

Meanwhile this sort of book spam via author or fans is apparently on the rise. So I'm not entirely grasping it as a form of postmodernism, more as a marketing thing. Which isn't particularly hip.
posted by batgrlHG at 3:50 PM on January 10, 2011


Meanwhile this sort of book spam via author or fans is apparently on the rise. So I'm not entirely grasping it as a form of postmodernism, more as a marketing thing. Which isn't particularly hip.

I think the idea is that if you engage in crass marketing, and you KNOW you're engaging in crass marketing, and your audience knows you're engaging in crass marketing, and you smile smugly when people get angry and say, "Of course, isn't it interesting?" then your crass marketing is in fact the art itself.

For example, my ignorant dismissal of postmodern art is ITSELF postmodern art, a coy undermining of the very concept of educated criticism.
posted by verb at 4:52 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I hate to tell you guys this, but this thread has convinced me to read a Tao Lin book.
posted by cmoj at 6:07 PM on January 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


cmoj,

Dammit, you're a Tao Lin sockpuppet too?
posted by lukemeister at 9:12 AM on January 11, 2011


Actually, lukemeister, you're the only member who isn't.

Thanks for participating in my site!
posted by shakespeherian at 9:19 AM on January 11, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wait, Tao Lin is dortmunder?
posted by Kattullus at 9:46 AM on January 11, 2011


shakespeherian,

Now that you mention it, I've never seen you or the mods in the same room with Tao Lin.

DAMMIT
posted by lukemeister at 12:08 PM on January 11, 2011


I'm also Batman.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2011


More like batin' man.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:56 PM on January 11, 2011


more proof that all as time goes on the probability a thread will turn into hand jobs approaches 100%
posted by The Whelk at 1:05 PM on January 11, 2011


Way to Godwin the thread, Whelk.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:37 PM on January 11, 2011


Goowin.


I'll see myself out
posted by The Whelk at 1:41 PM on January 11, 2011


I'll bet you will.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:48 PM on January 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


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