#TBT – EW’s article on ‘The Writer Without a Face’

‘In an era of reality TV and noxious cycles of dubious fame, Ferrante believes the work should stand on its own. She will only submit to interviews over email, going so far as to turn down a meaty profile opportunity in The New Yorker when the magazine insisted on an in-person interview. “Without reserve,” Ferrante wrote me in an email exchange, “I can say that my entire identity is in the books I write.”

The Neapolitan books reek of lived moments, and when asked about the series’ inspiration Ferrante said she intentionally named one of her main characters after her pseudonym. ” I gave my name to the narrator to make my job easier,” she wrote. “Anyone who writes knows that the most complicated thing is the rendering of events and characters in such a way that they are not realistic but real. In order for this to happen it is necessary to believe in the story one is working on…. I had a friend whom I cared for very much, and I began from that experience. But real events don’t count much when one writes; at most they are like getting shoved while out on the street.”‘


Why I’m already concerned about the Starz TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods


Hi. BLA here. Coming to remind you of what Neil Gaiman said back in 2010 about not setting one of his books in “America”:

“The great thing about having an English cemetery is I could go back a very, very, very long way. And in America, you go back 250 years (in a cemetery), and then suddenly you’ve got a few dead Indians, and then you don’t have anybody at all, unless you decide to set it up in Maine or somewhere and sneak in some Vikings.” [Via]

A “few dead Indians” is what you’re supposed to pay attention to here. Now, surpassing debates on what he meant or didn’t intend to do in that interview, we can look at his colonial mentality in his work itself. Take this statement about American Gods:

And perhaps most offensive, we’ll get the book’s Big Statement About America, which is bizarrely insulting to Native Americans. Near the end of the novel, a Native American with magical powers named Whiskey Jack tells Shadow he’s not a god, but rather a “culture hero,” because the land we call America “is not a good country for gods.” [Via]

Neil Gaiman consistently glazes over Native Americans/Indigenous peoples and their cultures. Something I’m sure he has learned to correct by this point, but it was something I had hoped the creators of the new TV show adaptation would rethink in the story. However, it doesn’t seem likely. Sure, sure, they can update Technology Boy to not be so technologically illiterate, but this recent EW article doesn’t give me hope for the story’s cultural literacy:

“Neil created this wonderfully stuffed toy box filled with all sorts of cultural points of view on how American operates as a system, and that was so fascinating and mythological in and of itself,” says Fuller. “It’s really much more of an immigration story than it is a god story.” Green adds, “One of the biggest challenges was stripping the idea of gods as X-Men or giant empowered creatures who stomp on cities and throw the oceans. We wanted them to be people with problems. It’s not about lightning bolts – it’s about the question of day-to-day survival.”

So, we’re still talking about immigrants? Colonizer problems? Nothing has changed. Dear Hollywood and Neil Gaiman, just because your story doesn’t whitewash doesn’t mean it’s not racist.

See also, The Gods Don’t Need Your Worship. 

[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.

Jesse Eisenberg and the footnote:

Jesse Eisenberg has a dilemma. He’s in the studio recording the audiobook for his short-story collection, Bream Gives Me Hiccups, and a particularly footnote-laden story isn’t quite working. “My Roommate Stole My Ramen,” which makes up a significant chunk of the book, follows college freshman Harper Jablonski as she writes effusive—and unwanted—letters to her high school guidance counselor. “Do you think it would work better if we didn’t say ‘footnote’ every time?” Eisenberg asks from the glass-walled booth.

Darren Vermaas, the audiobook’s director, weighs in: “To me, the repetitiveness of that is funny. But that’s one man’s opinion.”

His strength is in dialogue and monologue, and in writing miserable characters who alternately compel (like a 9-year-old from a broken home who writes restaurant reviews) and repel (like Harper, the footnote-obsessed freshman Eisenberg lovingly describes as “maladjusted”). “My only B in college was in short fiction, where I tried to describe a tablecloth for five pages,” he explains. “I don’t do that well. I’d rather describe somebody who tripped over a tablecloth and relate it back to some kind of Freudian experience.”

Harper’s story was inspired by tales of his sister’s college-roommate troubles. He suggested she write a blog called “My Roommate Stole My Ramen,” but she never did, so he took the idea back for himself. Harper’s particular writing style came to Eisenberg while he was filming the acclaimed recent biopic The End of The Tour: “I suddenly had this epiphany that she should use footnotes, because David Foster Wallace used footnotes,” he says. “I thought, ‘Oh, that’s what she is. She’s somebody who overexplains everything, and she’s full of rage and vitriol.’ Then everything poured out.” Eisenberg is uncannily good at capturing a specific breed of insincere teen girl. “The Slutnick [Harper’s roommate] is technically a nice person. Like she always says the ‘right’ things, but it feels totally fake.”

Read the rest.


[“BLA and GB Gabbler” (really just a pen name – singular) are the Editor and Narrator behind THE AUTOMATION, vol. 1 of the Circo del Herrero series. They are on facebook, twitter, tumblr, goodreads, and Vulcan’s shit list.]

all yellowB&N | Amazon | Etc.