I didn’t plan to post this on Shakespeare’s Birthday (Observed), but I’m not displeased it worked out that way. (Oh, hey, if you didn’t know I do this, I’m working my way through a book of Miguel Covarrubias caricatures trying to make the celebrity culture of the 1920s interesting. It’s, uh, taking a while.)
In the body of the post I link to three more Barrymore caricatures of the era, which I wanted to post here just for comparison’s sake.
If your main reason for talking is to socialize, you’ll want to talk about whatever everyone else is talking about. Like say the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. But if instead your purpose is to gain and spread useful insight, so that we can all understand more about things that matter, you’ll want to look for relatively neglected topics. You’ll seek topics that are important and yet little discussed, where more discussion seems likely to result in progress, and where you and your fellow discussants have a comparative advantage of expertise. You can use this clue to help infer the conversation motives of the people you talk with, and of yourself. I expect you’ll find that almost everyone mainly cares more about talking to socialize, relative to gaining insight.
Original Penthouse Forum illustration by Bill Sienkiewicz, 1990.
I mean, I was a twelve-year-old-boy once so I won’t say it’s impossible to masturbate to this, but all my favorite erotic work makes it a challenge, a reminder that sexuality is intimately wrapped up in the rest of the world, in death and decay, in technology and in inaccessible psychological pathways. Nothing lies more than mere crassly perfect nudity, airless and aimless, mere arousal in a vacuum-sealed can; nothing tells the truth better than a line that constantly reminds you of its line-ness, that representation is always contingent, that human minds are far messier than human bodies, and bodies are an infinitude of mess.
Your Spanish comics deep dive of the day: Pere Joan interviews Max, translated from Spanish by Lucía Bermúdez Carballo and included in the book Conversación/Sketchbook published by Sins Entido in 2006, now out of print.
I never thought I’d get to this point but I guess I have: I’m so old that my prose style has, for better or worse, stuck. I’m no longer just imitating the last voice I read. And I’ve read enough and tried enough things over the years that I have a lot of tools at my disposal. Not enough — never enough — and I have to keep relearning a lot of what I’d previously learned, because I don’t write with enough frequency that it’s a continuous motion; you can see the scratch marks with each fresh start. Still, they’re my scratch marks.