Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Guest Post: Mike Wood on Dzanc Books's BEST OF THE WEB

Today is a big promo day for the brand new BEST OF THE WEB 2008 from Dzanc Books (for more posts all around the web and info on how to buy, check out this post at the EWN.

Later this evening I will have a post about the No Colony issue 1 (which we got in the mail yesterday and they cut my v) as well as a promotional vid for the reading this Friday, which happens to include one of the fine fine dudes who's in BEST OF THE WEB 2008, Justin Taylor.

Here's what Mike had to say:

Blah Blah Blah: What Online Publishing Means To Me (& More!)

Hello there! My piece in Best of The Web 2008 is called ‘The Mystery of Henry’s Bicycle’ and is about Henry James’s testicles. I had hoped that my contribution to his website business today would be the first nine pages of a comic book I’ve written that’s about a bunch of movie stuntmen and a zoo (Da Bronx Zoo!) that has been illustrated by my friend Ed Suckling. I’ll explain in a moment why this was not to be. For now I’ll note that in trying to convince Dzanc Books publisher Dan Wickett that I be permitted to submit this instead of what was actually asked for, I noted that while not directly commenting on the issues us contributors were asked to comment on, it does at least sort of represent how I feel about some of them. For example, I bet that when you started reading this you didn’t expect to have the chance to read the first nine pages of a comic book I’ve written that’s about a bunch of movie stuntmen and a zoo (Da Bronx Zoo!) that has been illustrated by my friend Ed Suckling (or anyway, to read about why you will not be able to read about it) and that’s what online publishing means to me. It means the chance to waste a lot of time getting distracted looking at websites that sound as if they might possibly be at least kind of interesting (potentially interesting enough, anyway, to justify the expenditure of the energy required to push the button on your mouse while the cursor is over where the link is; you also, I suppose, have to expend the energy to get the cursor there as well; and then there is the time needed to assess whether the website you are now on is maybe interesting or just another piece of garbage of which there are so many) but human beings are pretty incredible, and all that work doesn’t really take all that long (still, how many websites are out there where we have the chance to look at them but decide that even that amount of expenditure isn’t worth it!) and so it’s really not such a big deal, is it? Still, there are a lot of websites out there – it’s like everything’s connected to everything else, it’s like some kind of crazy web or something! – and that’s where things can get hairy, where you can end up wasting even tons more time and energy than you intended, often with nothing more to show for it than one or two lousy websites you find that are sort of mildly amusing or whatever and so you email the links for them to your friends but then they never even bother to look at them (to expend even that miniscule amount of energy…even though they are your friends!) because they’re just too cool for school. Now, I suppose you can have like experiences just flipping through books or other print media but in doing so one is much less likely to end up on Wikipedia. And, as another example (of the comic book that was not to be expressing if not directly commenting on ideas related to the issues us contributors to the Best of The Web 2008 book were meant to comment on here) well, the story takes place in New York City, which is where I’m from (go Mets) and so I’m sure there’s some sort of a non-coincidental connection at play there as well.

Now, why can’t you have a look at this comic book about stuntmen and the zoo? Well, it’s because the illustrator, Edward Suckling, has simply been too lazy to illustrate the thing. Ed, a really lazy and wretched bastard, is incredibly lazy, and an incredibly wretched bastard. Yes, this is the truth, though to hear Edward tell it he’s simply currently been too busy because he’s engaged in some sort of a b.s.-sounding paying gig because he needs to bring home the bacon for his wife. Or some such b.s.-sounding business such as this. This is what he says, but you and I know better. We know the truth! (He’s lazy a you-know-what!) Still, if you want to see any of the work actually produced by this incredibly wretched and lazy individual (this bastard) (and not just work he’s talked talked talked about doing) then you can go to his website (http://www.edsuckling.com/index2.html) and while you’re there, if you go there, if you can stomach going there, if you can expend but a few of your precious ergs of energy to move about your little cursor and push a couple of pretty easily depressed buttons, then you can enjoy (watch, anyway) a bunch of Ed’s movies and see a bunch of his pretty little pictures and stuff. And, among his short films, as it happens, is one called ‘You. Me. Let’s Hug!’ and this one, I hasten to add (but only because to do so so encapsulates (at least a part of!) my feelings for online publishing) it has my voice in it. And, further, as it happens, this movie was recently shown in The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on a television show called The Culture Show. And, even further as it happens, one of the hosts of that television show, Mark Kermode, actually compared my work to that of one Mr. Robert DeNiro. This is absolutely true…Robert DeGoddamnNiro. Okay, Robert DeNiro, specifically (and perhaps not entirely meaning it as a compliment) in ‘Meet The Fockers’. (But still.) And but still so especially I think because, I hasten to add, I brag, I boast, I crow, because Kermode is listed in something called The Screen Director’s chart as the tenth best film critic ever. Ever! Ever!! Don’t believe me? Just check out his Wikipedia entry.

Take care,
Mike Wood

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