Showing posts from October, 2019

Block Rocking Boredom and Blockbusters

“I don’t think anybody’s going to be going to the movies for a while,” a Young Republican acquaintance earnestly assured me shortly after September 11, 2001. He was, of course, wrong. While, according to Box Office Mojo, movie attendance did drop 30.5% in the week of the attacks, and fell another 11.6% the following week, ticket sales were already rebounding by the end of the month as people headed out to see Zoolander and the Michael Douglas thriller Don’t Say a Word.

My nihilism was near-complete at the time, my initial impression of 9/11 being that it had made an uninteresting world even more boring than before. I was accustomed to watching reruns of Seinfeld on a little television I had in my dorm room, and I can remember feeling peevish and despondent that, days after the event, my program was still being preempted for live coverage of smoldering rubble.

I was reminded of that period recently when Retail Dive published Ben Unglesbee’s epic article, “Who Really Killed Blockbuster?”…

Reading Robert Stark's Novel Gave Me AIDS

[Originally published April 22, 2018]

What is a true aristocrat? This is one of the questions pondered by Robert Stark in his startling novel The Journey to Vapor Island. Stark, for those unacquainted with him, is the idiosyncratic host of the Alt-Leftish Stark Truth podcast. His program has been an acquired taste for me – Stark’s distinctive low-energy, low-charisma style of presentation can be unimpressive on an initial listen, and the defiantly eclectic array of show topics can be somewhat jarring for those accustomed to strictly political podcasts – but The Stark Truth has subsequently become one of my favorite programs, and I make a point of listening now whenever a new episode is posted. What one begins to understand and appreciate is that there exists a nebulous constellation of seemingly unrelated people, places, things, and ideas that together comprise the phenomenon of the Starkian. Vaporwave, neon, Japan, Sarah Michelle Gellar, the Bay Area, environmentalism, and brutalist …