During the last two days I read Chuck Palahniuk’s latest novel Rant. It is certainly not as bad as Haunted, but far from as good as some reviews indicated. It’s the story of “Rant” Buster Casey, serial killer, sex virtuoso and rabies spreader, told through the point of view of a large series of characters (somewhat of an As I Lay Dying on a Black Widow poison trip in a postapocalyptic future). Not bad reading overall, but certainly not a great novel. Palahniuk is once again trying too hard to out-Palahniuk himself, if that makes sense (he sadly never truly got back to the Palahniuk of Fight Club, even though Diary was not all bad). The enjoyable things are the occasional nice Palahniuk-esque insights that still have the power to amuse me. Consider this:
Beginning with Santa Claus as a cognitive exercise, a child is encouraged to share the same idea of reality as his peers. Even if that reality is patently invented and ludicrous, belief is encouraged with gifts that support and promote the common cultural lies.
The novel also has an interesting marketing campaign. Check out this site. There is also a game included in this, if you click on the Black Widow. They’ll send you a “Just Married” bumper sticker, which is an allusion to an activity in the novel called “Party Crashing,” in which people put on bridal dresses, write “Just Married” on their cars, decorate them and then go out hunting for other player’s cars to crash into. From the novel: “the activity casually referred to as Party Crashing rejects the idea that driving time is something to be suffered in order to achieve a more useful and fulfilling activity.”
Marcuse for the Day:
To the degree to which freedom from want, the concrete substance of all freedom, is becoming a real possibility, the liberties which pertain to a state of lower productivity are losing their former content. Independence of thought, autonomy, and the right to political opposition are being deprived of their basic critical function in a society which seems increasingly capable of satisfying the needs of the individuals trough the way in which it is organized.
***EDIT: just wanted to express how funny I find the national outrage the ad campaign of an all-female Chicago law firm has sparked. The billboard features a well-endowed woman in lingerie and a naked, muscular man (both, of course, headless–Mulvey would love it) and the slogan: “Life’s short. Get a divorce!” Here an example of the conservative, religious right’s response, who apprently feel this is truly worth debating. Here a blog that features the ad.***