Day 257: Mongolian Death Worm V. 2.0

Ok. I’m going to quickly come up for air here. Finishing and sending out applications number 23-28 today (if all goes well). Then will have to devote every free minute to my upcoming job talk (next Friday), which, as of yet, (euphemistically put) exists only in a rather postmodern state. But much like postmodernism had to find out, this kind of state of affairs does not actually provide what we could stably define as jouissance. Hence: gotta finish that sucker (i.e. clean up/make cohere/arrange in a linear narrative). To that end, I need to find a good picture of the Mongolian Death Worm. Also, I need to find a good map of the internet, as well as an old map that still shows the Buenaventura River (a river that did not really exist but was included in maps for quite a long time because people so desperately wanted it to exist). I like maps that clearly show that we do not in fact map our environment but instead the desiring structures (and consequently the forms of consciousness) via which we articulate our existence to what essentially reveals itself to be the simulation of a simulation (i.e. what B. calls a simulacrum of the second order). In other words, maps of the internet’s terra incognita function ideologically much like the persistent circulation of maps featuring the Buenaventura River or Native American rain dances (or tarot readings). Also, I discovered a way to summarize the first three chapters of my dissertation using only emoticons. I figure this way I can text-message my writing samples now and save some trees (since I like trees, as you may remember from previous posts). Ok, seems like I need coffee (had to pull two all-nighters in the last five days). Today is the weirdest day since yesterday.

Oh–here a picture of the Mongolian Death Worm:


Day 185: A Brief Glance Into Spook Country

Here two short excerpts from Spook Country I felt like sharing. This is not yet the in-depth approach to the novel I will try to begin posting here soon–it is simply me sharing some passages I liked.

1. A passage that shows Gibson can write and this in a style I appreciate. Also, I love the subtle theoretical argument included here regarding contemporary structures of feeling. Gibson is one of the reasons the title of my dissertation became Nostalgia for the Future.

After they’d had a look at Alberto’s memorial to Helmut Newton, which involved a lot of vaguely Deco-styled monochrome nudity in honor of its subject’s body of work, she walked back to the Mondrian through that weird evanescent moment that belongs to every sunny morning in West Hollywood, when some strange perpetual promise of chlorophyll and hidden, warming fruit graces the air, just before the hydrocarbon blanket settles in. That sense of some peripheral and prelapsarian beauty, of something a little more than a hundred years past, but in that moment achingly present, as though the city were something you could wipe from your glasses and forget.

2. And we’re back in Cayce Pollard’s universe, indeed:

But think about blogs, how each one is actually trying to describe reality.

They are?

In theory.


But when you look at blogs, where you’re most likely to find the real info is in the links. It’s contextual, and not only who the blog’s linked to, but who’s linked the blog.

Day 179: Death Proof

I decided to see Death Proof last night. I had seen Grindhouse back in Chicago but then I heard from anaj that the double feature was cut into two separate films for the European release. The first release was thus Tarantino’s Death Proof, which will be followed by Rodriguez’ Planet Terror in about two months. It seems as though the trailers the US audience was able to enjoy in the faux-intermission between the two features will not be released. Too bad. I also learned that there was one further trailer that was not even shown in the US (only in Canada, I believe), which was called Hobo With a Shotgun. That does sound like something I would like to see (anyone have a link for me?).

Regarding Death Proof: I have to admit that I rather enjoyed the movie. This is not only due to the fact that I have a faible for trashy movies but mainly because I think this otherwise, let’s say, not very complicated film had some quite smart passages. I have made some remarks regarding this on anaj’s post regarding the movie but after seeing it again I would like to point out again that this latest Tarantino film must for me be placed in a category of works that intelligently question the nature of the nostalgia mode (and remember: we’re talking about Tarantino here!, so this is even more surprising). The strategy of undermining the nostalgic plot ironically with the occasional use of cell-phones, the i-Pod and the merging of the car-chase scene into SUV traffic works really well for me. Made me giggle to think that part of the movie says: “nostalgia films are stupid–don’t enjoy it too much–I know you want to but I won’t let you.” And that in a Tarantino movie.

P.S.: my favorite thing about the European version of the film (which is released as an extended version that is 27 minutes longer that the US version) is that I now know what the “missing reel” part in the US version was. They cut out Butterfly’s lap dance. I think that’s fantastic.

P.P.S.: the mailman just came 5 seconds ago and finally brought me my copy of Spook Country. this means I will stop blogging right now…

***EDIT: here it is! The trailer for Hobo With a Shotgun–I was able to find it. There is talk of making this into an actual movie. Remember my faible for trashy movies? This one would definitely make me happy for one night. BTW: this faux-trailer is the winner of a competition Rodriguez organized and was consequently added to the faux-intermission section.

Day 27: The Mongolian Death Worm


Dear all, today, just really quickly, some announcements regarding two new books. Yes, it has finally happened: William Gibson will release his new book on August 7, 2007! As you can see above it will be called Spook Country. The exciting thing: according to Gibson it is again “set in the same universe as Pattern Recognition.” Gibson has been posting excerpts from it on his blog throughout the last two years, which look very interesting and which you can access by visiting the archives of (which will also explain the title of this post–Gibson jokingly proposed this as a potential title at some point):

Here a quick description of the title Gibson posted:

“Spook: as spectre, ghost, revenant, remnant of death, the madness lingering after the corpse is sloughed off. Slang for intelligence agent; agent of uncertainty, agent of fear, agent of fright.
Country: in the mind or in reality. The World. The United States of America, New Improved Edition. What lies before you. What lies behind. Where your bed is made.
Spook Country: the place where we have all landed, few by choice, and where we are learning to live. The country inside and outside of the skull. The soul, haunted by the past, of what was, of what might have been. The realization that not all forking paths are equal — some go down in value.
The ground of being, pervaded with spectres. The ground of actuality, similarly teeming.
In traversing spook country, we ourselves have been transformed, and we will not fully understand how until we are no longer what we were.”

Can’t tell you how excited I am!

In that same vein, I would like to draw your attention to the as of March 1, 2007 completed Science in the Capital series by Kim Stanley Robinson. I received my copy on March 1 and OH, was it a beautiful day! The series is quite interesting, especially when compared to Gibson’s two latest works. If you do the bourgeois-novel thing and actually identify with the main characters and take the Robinson’s trilogy seriously it is absolute shite. But read as a work of irony regarding subjectivity in relation to global capitalism, it is simply fantastic. You really have to want to force your way through these approximately 1200 pages, though. It is definitely no Mars Trilogy, but that is precisely what makes it so interesting to me.

Oh, and as another piece of info for those of you loving Pattern Recognition as much as I do (while still realizing that “enjoyment” is not a critical attitude): the novel is just being filmed. The film will apparently be released in 2008 and I am already scared to see the ways in which they have butchered the novel.

And, also for PR lovers: remember Cayce’s Buzz Rickson jacket? The one clearly identified as the perfect example of a simulacrum? The one Cayce wears as a protest to commodity culture (which, as indicated by Gibson turns out to be not only a self-defeating, but a productive act)? The actual company exists, but Gibson made up that particular simulacrum that erases the relation to what was first called an MA-1 jacket. Guess what happened to Gibson’s ironic take on consumer capitalism? Oh yes, this is what our late hero Baudrillard meant by the “precession of simulacra:” you can now buy your own Buzz Rickson’s MA-1 for the low introductory price of only $455!!! And, hell yes, that one went straight into my dissertation.  Visit this link and enjoy (note the name of the web-address–this site is a whole frickin’ teaching unit on Jameson and Baudrillard!):