Posts by: Paolo Yumol

Weekend Rumpus Roundup

By

Is the word “roundup” even remotely evocative of “Western” imagery and ethos?  I only ask because my immediate thought was to start the roundup with, “We lassoed a big one in today”…and we did.  We lassoed in a real winner. Two winners, in fact.

...more

Weekend Rumpus Roundup

By

Christ…brace yourself for an emotionally crippling time with these weekend features. (The pain is worth it! It always is!)

In Saturday’s feature, the tragic end to an interplanetary love story shivers with loss—one of Yumi Sakugawa’s best comics yet.

Sunday’s essay is structured around an experimental narrative in which Jennifer Pastiloff explores themes of possession across various experiences: the generosity of a vagrant stranger, an imagined romance with a fellow actor, a harrowing car accident that results in miracle.

...more

George Saunders’ Syracuse Graduation Speech to Be Published

By

In 2005, David Foster Wallace delivered his famous commencement speech to Kenyon’s graduating class, which was notorious for invoking the story about two young fish unable to recognize they are swimming in water.

The speech was met with such widespread admiration and awe that it was published as This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by Little, Brown & Company in 2009.

...more

“There Is No ‘After’ Porn”

By

It’s easy to assign porn names—which are often wildly flamboyant and unapologetically cheesy—to fictional identities, people who don’t exist off the screen.

But at Buzzfeed, porn star and Rumpus contributor Conner Habib (né Andre Khalil) writes about how living in the age of the internet is making it more difficult for porn stars to successfully compartmentalize their private and public lives.

...more

R.I.P. Richard Matheson: Why Film Adaptations of His Work Have Been So Terrible

By

Legendary science fiction author and screenwriter Richard Matheson, who unfortunately passed away a little over a month ago, has had his work adapted into a plethora of movies—I Am LegendThe BoxThe Shrinking ManWhat Dreams Will Come, etc.—which, unfortunately, haven’t all fared so well.

...more

1

On Being “Smart Dumb”

By

Kenneth Goldsmith, who was recently appointed MoMA’s “poet laureate,” shares over at The Awl a manifesto of sorts advocating for “smart dumb,” which he claims is an alternative to “both smart smart and dumb dumb, choosing instead to walk a tightrope between the two.”

Known for composing poems out of re-appropriated transcriptions of news articles, weather reports, and sports broadcasts, Goldsmith argues that “smart dumb” is achieved by transcending “smart” and being unafraid to access the obvious and mundane.

...more

1

Have Critics Lost Their Authority?

By

In an essay written for Pacific Standard, psychologist Adam Waytz meditates on the dramatic influence the Internet has had on the role of cultural criticism.

Arguing that the Internet (with its “leaking” and torrenting and general filesharing debauchery) has effectively dissolved the advantage critics previously had over the public—the ability to access the subjects of their criticism before their public release—Waytz theorizes that most critics have become merely “mirrors of public opinion.”

Have modern cultural critics lost the ability to, as Waytz puts it, “guide taste”?

...more

“Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I’m Very Appreciative of This Interview You Did With Rick Moody”

By

Read Rumpus columnist Rick Moody‘s interview with songwriter-visionary Mark Mulcahy (formerly of the legendary ’80s–’90s college rock band Miracle Legion) about Mulcahy’s latest album “Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You” over at Salon.

Here Mulcahy discusses the writing and recording process, the album’s thematic darkness—something he attributes to what he describes as “a bleak view of people”—and (unfortunately) the reasons why we shouldn’t expect a new Miracle Legion record anytime soon.

...more

Charlie Kaufman to Write Film Adaptation of Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five

By

Guillermo del Toro (director of Pan’s Labyrinth and the upcoming movie Pacific Rim) has recently announced that he has selected Charlie Kaufman as the writer of the screenplay for del Toro’s film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five.

Kaufman, famous for writing the screenplays behind such mind-bending and unsettlingly funny works as Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, was described by del Toro as “perfect” and “very expensive.” Great choice, sir.

...more

Novelist David Mitchell on His Son’s Autism

By

In an essay for The Guardian, David Mitchell (author of the novels Cloud Atlas and Black Swan Green, among others) provides a moving and honest account of the experience of raising a son with autism.

While the diagnosis came as a shock—and gave way to more difficulties and struggles than he’d imagined—Mitchell writes that he has learned to recognize “its own singular beauty, its own life-enriching experiences.”

...more

1

Are High School Students in Any Sort of Abstract Literary Danger?

By

A recent piece on NPR indicated that, according to recent studies, high school students are more and more frequently reading below their grade level.

It explained that the growing popularity of book series like The Hunger Games among teenagers is an indirect cause of this, forcing classics that formerly dominated high school summer reading lists—”Sophocles, Shakespeare, Dickens, George Bernard Shaw, Emily Bronte and Edith Wharton”—out of academic consciousness.

...more

New Anthology Celebrating Prog Rock Includes Rick Moody, Joe Meno, and Others

By

Lovers of progressive rock legends like King Crimson, Genesis, or Emerson, Lake and Palmer should check out Yes is the Answer: And Other Prog Tales, a literary anthology edited by Marc Weingarten and Tyson Cornell and featuring work by musicians and novelists alike; Rick Moody, Seth Greenland, Joe Meno, Matthew Sweet, and many others contribute pieces.

...more

New Library in Brooklyn Vaguely Resembles Literary Wet Dream

By

Mellow Pages Library, a library and reading room in Brooklyn consisting primarily of publications from small publishing houses, opened its doors earlier this year.

Founded by Matt Nelson and Jacob Perkins, the library prides itself in supporting lesser-known authors and publishing houses, containing publications from Magic Helicopter Press, Factory Hollow Press, Jaded Ibis Press, and Ugly Duckling Presse, among others.

...more

Jonathan Safran Foer on the Sociopsychological Effects of Technology

By

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Jonathan Safran Foer (award-winning author of Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) contemplates the implications of living in a society full of “iDistractions,” arguing that the increased daily use of new technology might be limiting our capacity for empathy and compassion.

...more