Sunday, June 14, 2009

what he MIGHT have said

New Scientist Magazine is currently running a contest seeking submissions from people interested in re-writing moon landing history. The only requirement is that the author of the quote or quotes come up with something memorable for Neil Armstrong's famous speech from the lunar surface in place of his "One small step for man" quote.

I heard about this contest from a Facebook friend who posted his own submission there. I thought I'd do the same here, since I literally just sent mine off.

Neil Armstrong quotes (What he might have said):

“That’s one small step for man, one giant…Oh, Zsa Zsa says “’hi.’”

“Hello from the moon…that boom mike was there when we landed!”

“All those billions to find out this place isn’t made of edible cheese!”

“Hey, Joe! Up here even a lard-ass like you would be weightless!”

“I don’t want to alarm anyone but there are Republicans here.”

“Okay, let’s start unloading the nukes and aiming them for the Soviet…Is this thing on???”

“I never wanted to be an astronaut, I was more interested in floral design but my father was so very, very cruel…anyway, there it is, a big lifeless rock. Check, please!”

“I came up with a song about the Dark Side of the moon I’m gonna write when I get back to Earth. Nobody better steal my idea!”


“Looks like we finally found that storage area for hippy agitators!”

If you're interested, you can send your own submissions to:
feedback@newscientist.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: DON DELILLO

The writing of Don DeLillo amazes me. I don’t say or write that often but it does.

A darling of the literary world, he may not be as well known as he should be among mainstream fiction readers. His books sell well but they aren’t sensationalistic or daring in a carnival-like attention grabbing sense.

Instead, he tends to write from the internal world, where many readers have no interest in journeying. Much like a poet, DeLillo delves deeply into the hidden revelations that are always present around us but rarely seen. His novels tend to present the world as a realm of alienation and desperation, where human experience is increasingly becoming less meaningful as technology and distance separate us from the core of our reality.

The easy way to dismiss the fact that he isn’t a household name is to say his writing isn’t for everybody. That statement does a disservice to not only the writer but also potential readers. While it may be true that the average person reads for sheer escapism, I tend to think that’s because they haven’t been taught to do anything else. Americans live in a pop culture defined by popularity and readily accessible, disposable media experiences. Pausing to think is often frowned upon, as it tends to interfere with the bottom line.

What corporations want people to start questioning the isolated aspects of suburban life and consumerism? The only time they might is when they’re marketing corporate-sponsored “rebellion” to teenagers in the forms of popular music and fashion. But adults are supposed to be discouraged from questioning their environments. Adults are supposed to muddle through life without wondering why and take the occasional break for pure escapist fun.

Nothing wrong with escapism. Human beings need to escape from time to time. What is wrong, however, is the marginalization of freedom of expression. What results after several generations of such repressiveness is the world so often portrayed in DeLillo’s work. It should come as no surprise that he was drawn to Lee Harvey Oswald’s story when he wrote “Libra.” That book was part of the basis for the Oliver Stone film, “JFK.”

There are those who feel literature should portray likable characters that make them care what happens. While it is certainly valid to want to like the subject of care, it is sometimes far more interesting to follow the exploits of someone you wouldn’t necessarily want to know in real life. A good example of this “Cosmopolis.”

Focusing on a day in he life of a self-made dot.com type billionaire, Cosmopolis is a surrealist’s foray into self-awareness and painful epiphany. As with much of DeLillo’s work, there is a pervasive disconnect between the subject and the reader. The same theme can be found in his seminal “White Noise.”

DeLillo is an acquired taste in our cookie-cutter happy ending world but one well worth investing in~

Recommended DeLillo Reading List:
White Noise
The Body Artist
Libra
Cosmopolis
Falling Man