Monday, October 16, 2006

sexy geek

For the record, I fell for John Hodgman when he did his Superpowers piece on This American Life. (I have linked evidence – see Choka couplet: "which superpower for you / unseen or flying?" from – oh hell, I don’t know when, because there ARE NO DATE STAMPS OR LINE NUMBERS ON THE CHOKA, goddammit) – but have you noticed? The sexy girls have found him now.

Maybe it was the Mac ad, or maybe it was all of his Daily Show contributions. Whatever the reason, Violet Blue went out of her way to attend his recent book reading at Cody Books, and the Suicide Girls just posted a great interview with Hodgman, by Daniel Robert Epstein.

No moral to this story. Just cheering on the English Major.

From the interview with Epstein:
I was trained in literary theory at Yale University, which was a period of high post-modernism that suggested that all texts and no texts were reliable. They were all a function of a point of view. Various accumulated cultural pressures, prejudices. Personally I believe there is such a thing as a true fact and I think that we have to rely on that in order to live right as a society. I don’t think anyone could have said it better than [Stephen] Colbert in identifying what is a pretty devious scourge of truthiness. This idea that something sounds or feels right because it has some ring of plausibility to it or it’s something that we want to believe and therefore it takes on the gravity of truth even though it is not true. I think that’s awful but at the same time I profit from it.

On the other hand there is something about a story that is able to convey truth that bare facts cannot bring to life. Those kinds of stories include tall tales and jokes and lies. One of the first things that came to mind when I was thinking about the book was “Truth is stranger than fiction but never as strange as lies.” I think that anyone who has been lied to knows that is true.

The elaborate and baroque storytelling that goes into telling a lie is just one of the strangest things to witness and it is disturbing, weird and strange. Lies are really just very compelling stories where the teller is really more invested than usual in getting you on their side. If you look around us, we see a lot of lies today that are all stranger than truth and then to a different degree those lies reveal, perhaps inadvertently, a different kind of truth.


heather lorin said...

oh that was excellent - although now I've stayed up way past my bedtime checking out all the links :)

b1-66er said...

hey, here's an idea:

why don't you make your own fricken choka with line numbers?

wait, don't tell me, i know why ...



i'm gone forever and a day and i come back to this.

where's my hammer?

suttonhoo said...

c'mon man -- that criticism came out of love and you know it. the brilliant stream of many minds that is the choka spans over 6,500 couplets (at this writing -- blink and it'll change) -- it's epic in size -- all I'm asking for is some point of reference. hide it, if you like. just give me *something* to anchor on to so I can talk to people about it.

I'd settle for on-site google search.

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