FROM THIS SEASON'S ISSUE: Winter 2014


SantaCon is Coming to Town

Nothing says happy holidays like a trip to the mall. Drooping garlands swaying to a decaying cassette player, bleary-eyed consumers everywhere, holiday spirit in the air; the most wonderful time of the year. In between stops and swipes, a child’s will and insistence drags his family onto a different kind of line, to a path striped with candy canes straight to the North Pole. Each step leaves an imprint in plastic snow, all leading toward the big man at the end. For every child, this time is the most important part of the holidays, the moment to speak face-to-face, man-to-man, with Santa Claus himself.

Against New Feminism

Last September, the McNally Jackson bookstore in SoHo, New York, hosted an event to celebrate the publication of the critical edition of Chris Kraus’s Aliens and Anorexia. The event was called “Alien Insurrection: An Evening with Chris Kraus, Emily Gould, Ariana Reines, Kate Zambreno, and Others,” and Kraus and seven other women were to give readings of the book and discuss “new feminism,” which I had never heard of. The venue was packed, the whole bottom ­floor of the bookstore over­flowing with women: women wearing all black, women with notebooks, women with their hair heaped on top of their heads in the turn-of-the-century Gibson Girl style popular in the lit world. It was clearly an event that both the audience and the panel of readers had dressed up for, and everyone was eyeing each other up and down, unused, I think, to seeing so many other literary women in a room, uninterrupted by the presence of men.

Snarking Towards Bethlehem: The Gawker Manifesto That Wasn’t

A specter is haunting the World Wide Web—the specter of smarm. Or so Tom Scocca, features editor at Gawker, would have it. His bombastic opinion piece “On Smarm” took the online literary world by storm last December, drawing not just affirming nods from fellow smarm-conspiracy theorists but replies from big names like Maureen Dowd and Malcolm Gladwell as well. (It also drew a fair number of unique page views: more than “I Can’t Stop Looking At This Weird Chinese Goat,” but less than “Two Minutes Of Nothing But Goats Yelling Like Humans,” which is fairly strong on the Gawker scale of buzz).

Notes From
21 South Street

Poetry

Waltz Emporium

That the sequelae of such love has no such effect can’t change a bit where here we are in this coarse mood swing’s doldrums.

Fiction

Akimbo

On the first day she painted nothing. She breathed in the cool lucid morning and watched the light cast her husband’s skin red, then gold, then glaring white as the sun edged above the house and scared away the shadows. He lay twisted away from her, face down on the driveway. She had him stretch his arms by his sides and splay his legs akimbo. She worried that his knee and back would bother him but she had no other choice.