Thursday, October 20, 2005

at the end of edge(y)

Sincerity and authenticity are the new irony and edginess.

This was reaffirmed for me last night when I attended the Little Gray Book Lectures last night at Galapagos in Williamsburg.

I've wanted to go to one of these since I found out about them from JS Van Buskirk and attended her Info Demos in Atlanta. She was inspired to start something like the lecture series (although she'd never attended the original) that inspired me to rethink some of my creative aspirations.

So P and CC (of online comic fame) accompanied me to an event that I've been anticipating for nearly three years. Talk about high expectations.

But -- hype be damned -- it was great couple of hours. It had that mix of mirth and earnestness, reality and surreality that makes one of these evenings great to be a part of. But as John Hodgman continued his presentation (that included promoting his book and a discussion of hoboes and hobo literature) I felt strangely detached. It was all too tongue-in-cheek, all snark and thinly veiled insecurity masked as husky bravado. The other presentations by a Yale professor about the African roots of tango and an artist/musician dealing with her work on "accidental nostalgia" felt somehow more authentic, more packed with emotion and sincerity.

I first had this repellent feeling towards being "edgy" while working at CL. Our editor would want things to be edgy, snarky, witty, cool. Another editor and I were like, "Can't it just be written well without puns and one-liners and inside jokes?" I guess it's also my current approach to the McSweeney's set and trendy authors in general. Yeah, you may be able to manipulate a linear thought into some sort of puzzle of illogic, but often, especially these days, a sincere, honest attempt and talent is much more appreciated and honorable.


At 11:09 AM, Blogger Guillem said...

Sincerity is the source of true art -- discuss. (I sort of agree)

btw, I think this is the entry with most hyperlinks I've read in my life. Stop hyperlinking! ;)

At 11:56 AM, Blogger Jerry said...

the hyperlinks were my paltry addition to the trendy, meta blog writing realm...of course.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Dee said...

Between Conspicuously-Christian-Office-Girl working the I-Went-To-UGA-And-Liked-It look and the Casually-Corporate-Cartoon kids from Adult Swim ALL OVER that edge . . . I know not where to turn!

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Dee said...

Likewise, I can't even write a Friendster profile, anymore.

The genuine, straight-up, "down to earth" profiles seem . . . too simple. Obvious. Boring! I mean, what's wrong with these people!? Get a fucking clue, whitebread!

On the other hand, the cool kids are too, too . . . all this useless affectation! What planet are you living on? Are we going to fuck or not?! Your hair just cut me!


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