Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Gary Indiana: Bella Is Bella
Gary Indiana is one of the very greatest living American writers in my opinion, with the kind of relentless artistic seriousness and hilarity of William Burroughs and a little bit of Gore Vidal, too, in an America that even they outlived and which has left Indiana hanging out to dry. Not that he's not doing all right or anything, but he is better than his country is capable of responding to responsibly -- and so there is a little bit of Petronius going on there, churning out his endless Satyricon while slitting his wrists and rebinding them over and over and over again while the banquet heartlessly churns on. I've felt this way about his work for over twenty years now, he's turned out to be one of those bannisters that helped me climb the stairs, along with a few others I suppose I talk about more often, like Arendt. His Horse Crazy remains one of the very best novels of unrequited but still quite love ever written and Resentment is one of the most ambitious and actually successful novels of the nineties. I also have a soft spot for the later novel Do Everything In the Dark -- which is a 9/11 novel rather in the way Horse Crazy was an AIDS novel, that is to say, the way faint gray probably sulphur smelling clouds testify to a fireworks show as they dissipate -- and for the earlier short stories to which it harkens back (and occasionally incorporates). And there are tight mean collections of journalistic and cultural observations that are politically congenial and exhibit unerring good literary and artistic taste and have more than the usual measure of pyrotechnical wit, too. I've taught quite a few of his works to Berkeley undergrads in the Rhetoric Department in between the critical theorists and I'd like to think this would amuse the ghost of the UC alumnus I think he was, even if I doubt it would mean much to who I think he has become now. I hope this rather scattered book store reading means a new anthology of short stories is soon to arrive -- my Scar Tissue and White Trash Boulevard are crumbling and it would be nice to have gathered up some of his other stories in one place, "The Whole Works," "Reproduction," and so on, not to mention read some new stuff.