Hi there! I’ve been getting a whole bunch of questions about my new job, which was announced on Monday. So I guess I should explain what’s up with that. Here is the short-and-sweet version:
I’ve been invited to work as the pop critic for New York Magazine. This is pretty obviously amazing. It’s a great magazine with terrific writers and critics, and I’m ridiculously flattered/thrilled/excited/vaguely terrified/etc. to join in. I’ll be starting there in a couple weeks. Thanks a billion to everyone who’s congratulated me on the move.
I’ll let you all know when I have items running there. If you like reading what I have to say on this blog, I hope you’ll follow me over for more and better work at the magazine.
If you like reading my column at Pitchfork, good news: both publications are very nice, and right now it looks like the column will be continuing per usual.
As for this tumblr, it’ll still exist, too, though it’ll likely turn into more of a personal blog; most anything super-substantive I’m writing will obviously be for the magazine. We’ll see.
If you know me personally, my schedule just got a whole lot better, so maybe I’ll see you around more. If you don’t know me personally, feel free to get in touch and tell me what music you think I should be listening to. (Seriously!)
Exciting, right? Here’s hoping it’s a good time for everyone involved. Thanks for reading and caring, and thanks to nearly every music critic I know for being way nicer and cooler than most readers will ever believe.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! That’s all. Please go on about your day.
And, oh yeah, congratulations to Nitsuh, who after getting married and landing an amazing job will probably be announced as the next recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant. Good things come in threes, no?
Not to get all serious on you, but please, people and rebloggers of Tumblr, do not ever use a comedy list of crappy things about “writers” to tell your loved ones that they don’t understand you and have to put up with your crap. (Unless you’re under 25 or so, in which case sure, go ahead.*) Certain things might be part of Who You Are, but it’s also true — if unfashionable to point out — that Who You Are might have flaws. Or even be cruddy or insufferable. Over time it may emerge that there is nothing so cool or intriguing about that, no matter what great excuses you have, and you have to balance Doing Your Thing with also assisting the Things of people you care about, or wish to care about you, which, like exercise, turns out to be good for you and make you feel better, mostly. Just saying. Bless if you if you find someone who thinks every last thing about you is just plain cute, though.
* This is not a negative comment about people younger than that — I actually think it takes a while to be confident enough about what you’re doing to make compromises with others about it, and below a certain age it is A-OK to just be like “I’m busy figuring out what I’m up to right now, and if you don’t like it you can move right along, dig?”
I Guess I’m Floating just posted this fantastic new track from the Los Angeles’ band’s forthcoming debut LP The Fool out on Rough Trade October 25. I was lucky enough to see these women in action at SXSW last spring, and I highly recommend catching them on one of their tour dates with The XX this fall, worldwide. Not that any of you would need encouragement.
There is this thing currently going around tumblr about why dating a writer is good. I think it’s nice that this thing is going around, because I like writers, and lots of us could use more dates. As a writer who has dated people, though — including other writers — I would like to offer some correctives to this list.
The items in bold are the alleged reasons to date a writer. I have replaced the original commentary with my bleak corrective, in lightface.
Writers will romance you with words. We probably won’t. We write for ourselves or for money and by the time we’re done we’re sick of it. If we have to write you something there’s a good chance it’ll take us two days and we’ll be really snippy and grumpy about the process.
Writers will write about you. You don’t want this. Trust me.
Writers will take you to interesting events. No. We will not. We are busy writing. Leave us alone about these “interesting events.” I know one person who dates a terrific writer. He goes out alone. She is busy writing.
Writers will remind you that money doesn’t matter so much. Yes. We will do this by borrowing money from you. Constantly.
Writers will acknowledge you and dedicate things to you. A better way to ensure this would be to become an agent. That way you’d actually make money off of talking people through their neuroses.
Writers will offer you an interesting perspective on things. Yes. Constantly. While you’re trying to watch TV or take a shower. You will have to listen to observations all day long, in addition to being asked to read the observations we wrote about when you were at work and unavailable for bothering. It will be almost as annoying as dating a stand-up comedian, except if you don’t find these observations scintillating we will think you’re dumb, instead of uptight.
Writers are smart. The moment you realize this is not true, your relationship with a writer will develop a significant problem.
Writers are really passionate. About writing. Not necessarily about you. Are you writing?
Writers can think through their feelings. So don’t start an argument unless you’re ready for a very, very lengthy explication of our position, our feelings about your position, and what scenes from our recent fiction the whole thing is reminding us of.
Writers enjoy their solitude. So get lost, will you?
Writers are creative. This is why we have such good reasons why you should lend us $300 and/or leave us alone, we’re writing.
Writers wear their hearts on their sleeves. Serious advice: if you meet a writer who’s actually demonstrative, be careful.
Writers will teach you cool new words. This is possibly true! We may also expect you to remember them, correct your grammar, and look pained after reading mundane notes you’ve left for us.
Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for you. Writers may be able to adjust their schedules for writing. Are you writing? Get in line, then.
Writers can find 1000 ways to tell you why they like you. By the 108th you’ll be pretty sure we’re just making them up for fun.
Writers communicate in a bunch of different ways. But mostly writing. Hope you don’t like talking on the phone — that shit is rough.
Writers can work from anywhere. So you might want to pass on that tandem bike rental when you’re on vacation.
Writers are surrounded by interesting people. Every last one of whom is imaginary.
Writers are easy to buy gifts for. This is true. Keep it in mind when your birthday rolls around, okay?
Writers are sexy. No argument. Some people think this about heroin addicts, too.
Alternate solution: it will be pretty much like dating anyone else who likes to do a particular thing, you know?
No comment, except to say I’d love to see someone come up with 20 positive things about dating an actor or musician. Anyone?
And Vinyly is offering people the chance to press their ashes in a vinyl recording of their own voice, their favorite tunes or their last will and testament. Although minimalist audiophiles might want to opt for having no tunes or voiceover, resulting in simple pops and crackles.
Ohmygodyes!!! This is exactly the way I never knew I wanted to be preserved! Now the hard decision: who gets the record?
“If this book had been written by a woman (say, Jennifer Franzen), would it have been called ‘a masterpiece of American fiction’ in the first line of its front-page New York Times review; would its author, perhaps with longer hair and make-up, have been featured in Time as a GREAT AMERICAN NOVELIST; would the Guardian have called it the ‘Book of the Century’? Without detracting from Franzen, I think we can say it would not have received this trifecta of plaudits, largely because we don’t ascribe literary authority as freely to women as men, and our models of literary greatness remain primarily male (and white). Of course, there are the always-pointed-out exceptions: Marilynne Robinson and Toni Morrison, whose Beloved topped the New York Times list of the best books of the past 25 years. So is there really a problem here?
There is, I think, and we might call it not the problem with no name but the problem we can’t define: the problem of unconscious gender bias and how it affects the ways we think about accomplishment and authority. It hardly seems like a coincidence that when a generation of celebrated novelists dies out (Bellow, Mailer, Updike), the new ones anointed are typically white men. (When Zadie Smith—whose work occupies a similar literary space to Franzen’s, at once engaged by the domestic and the social—is on the cover of the Times and Time, perhaps women writers can start to feel differently.) Myriad studies show that women and men alike unconsciously ascribe more authority to a male candidate than a female candidate with the same qualifications. In many circumstances, we also simply assume men are more talented: Before the advent of blind auditions, fewer than 5 percent of the players in major American symphonies were women. But after blind auditions began to be held, the percentage of female players soared almost tenfold. Is there any reason to believe our evaluations of literary talent (which almost always happen with full knowledge of a writer’s gender) are uninfluenced by that kind of unconscious bias?”—Meghan O’Rourke (via savingpaper)
“It’s as if they drove a car into the ditch and then we had to put on our boots and go down there in the mud, and we’ve been pushing and shoving. And they’ve been standing aside and watching us, and saying, ‘you’re not pushing right, you’re not pushing fast enough.’ You know, they’re drinking on a Slurpee or something and… So we’re huffing and puffing, and we finally get this car out of the ditch, finally have it on level ground. We’re moving forward. And they turn to us and say, ‘we want the keys.’ Well, you can’t have the keys back. You don’t know how to drive. You got us into the ditch. You can get in the backseat if you want.”—President Obama, on Republicans (via apsies)
“But I don’t see exactly why writers (male or female, regardless of their genre) who can debut at #1 on the Times Bestseller list feel that the limited book review space left in the world (and it is dwindling by the day) should be devoted to their already immensely popular books. I’m a literary novelist, as are most of my friends, and I suspect that Picoult and Weiner don’t exactly understand the reality of our professional lives. Literary writers don’t churn out a book every year or two (Franzen spent ten years on the Corrections, no?) and they also tend to vary their work from novel to novel (think of Jennifer Egan), making it harder to build a brand the way commercial writers can. Literary writers need review attention. Picoult and Weiner sell enough books so that their publishers can take out ad space when their novels hit stores; places like like Target will automatically stock their hardcovers; this is simply not the case for most literary writers.”—