The Most Irritating Issue in the World

You are allowed to criticize those big, glossy magazines that anoint the hot young thing/writer of the moment.

Which means self is allowed to criticize The New Yorker.

Here’s the August 9, 2010 issue, the one with a graphic of the bathing beauty dropping an iPhone —  or is that an iPad (pretty clever, that!) into a swimming pool.  Aside from the fact that it is one of the “20 Under 40” issues, in which The New Yorker proclaims “the next generation” of writers, it also has a review of a new book on Charlie Chan, a character in 1930s Hollywood movies.  The review states:

In the 1930s, the Chan movies kept Fox afloat.

It goes on to describe “the invention of the Chinaman” as a character.  Earl Biggers, the author who wrote the books on which the movies were based, became rich:

In 1926, Biggers published another Chan mystery, The Chinese Parrot, sold eight hundred thousand copies, and, with the royalties, bought a house in Pasadena, where he hired a Chinese servant named Gung Wong.

In a review which manages to bring in Frank Chin, Gish Jen, and Elaine Kim (“the literary scholar”) and “the anthology Charlie Chan is Dead, which is not to be confused with the beautiful and fantastically clever 1982 Wayne Wang film Chan Is Missing,” it also quotes Biggers as saying, after watching a Swedish man named Warner Oland play Chan on-screen, “After all these weary years, they have got Charlie right on the screen.”

So maybe Charlie Chan really is a cultural icon who deserves to be written about.  Self thinks they should at least have asked an Asian American to write the review.

Anyhoo, the “Briefly Noted” section has two books self is interested in reading.  To wit:

Adam Langer’s The Thieves of Manhattan

When an editor suggests passing off an old novel as a memoir to expose the smugs who spin the literary machine, Minot (the hero) is sucked into a postmodern confidence game with more layers than a puff pastry.

Paul Bloom’s How Pleasure Works

His account is strewn with startling academic studies, tales of cannibalism and sexual fetishes, and even a passage from Borges.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Something from The White Whale Review, and a Note About a Few Forthcoming Publications

Here’s the beginning of self’s story, “Dumaguete,” published in issue 1.2 of The White Whale Review. This piece is part of self’s collection, The Lost Language, published in Manila in 2009 by Anvil Press of the Philippines:


When Carlos’ mother decided to take him to Dumaguete, on the other side of the island, he didn’t question her.  One day she said, we have to go, and they did, walking with their overnight bags to the bus station, whose uneven ground was pooled with muddy, brown water in which he could detect shapes darting, tiny black Read the rest of this entry »


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