How To Give a [email protected]#


Some days everything goes wrong. Like today, when I called the NYTBR the NYTRB on Twitter, or when I linked to the wrong thing on the book blog roundup, or when I almost ran over a San Francisco marathon runner with my bike and then accidentally blocked the photographer from taking a picture that the runner would most likely have put up on their wall forever when they finished the race.

But that’s okay, because yesterday, I was dressed like a 16th century king with lots of other nerds dressed like spacemen and elves and things and I was in a bathroom stall on a ferry to Angel Island for a friend’s birthday and one tourist, who didn’t know I was in there and was at the urinal, said to the other one, “What’s with all the freaks?” The other one, who I assume also didn’t see me, said, “I guess they just don’t give a fuck.”

That’s not true at all. We were dressed like that because we gave a fuck about  our friend, who loves fantasy and sci-fi and stuff like that, and we wanted him to have a good birthday. And also because it’s fun to act ridiculous in public and make people who aren’t used to that sort of thing laugh and show little kids that even grownups can have fun sometimes. But for some reason, it still made me feel good to hear him say that, because it made me start to wonder what it means to give a fuck. Because the funny thing is I did give a fuck, but just not about what they thought I should.

This is all just to say that I came across this brilliant-as-always interview by Jessa Crispin with JC Hallman over at PBS in which he talks about his new book extolling the virtues of utopian thought, and how the absurd falls into line with that.

“I’m drawn to ideas, movements, places that seem absurd at first glance. In the context of a book about utopia, I think these kinds of places confront us with our own … tendency to reject anything that doesn’t fit with the paradigm we’re comfortable with (even, incidentally, when we might be politically opposed to that paradigm). So I like to dip back into history and discover the way in which even a very peculiar thing was not only possible, but inevitable.”

So I’m sorry, world, for getting out of bed this morning. And I swear I give a fuck. But don’t worry, because I’m wearing a monkey suit for the rest of the day, so if I screw up anything else, it’s for the good of the world.

Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →