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Friday, April 18, 2008

David Shields on that Dizzying Feeling

posted by on April 18 at 17:20 PM


A sample paragraph:

When our difficult heroes (and all real heroes are difficult) self-destruct, watch us retreat and reassure ourselves that it’s safer here close to shore, where we live. We distance ourselves from the disaster, but we gawk in glee (the cheers and champagne that spontaneously broke out on the floor of the NYSE when word came of Client Number 9). We want the good in them, the gift in them, not the nastiness, or so we pretend. Publicly, we tsk-tsk, chastising their transgressions. Secretly, we thrill to their violations, their (psychic or physical) violence, because through them we vicariously renew our acquaintance with our own shadow side. By detaching, though, before free fall, we preserve our distance from death, stave off any serious knowledge about the exact ratio in ourselves of angel to animal.

Also discussed: Spitzer, Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon, Greek tragedies, the 2008 University of Memphis men’s basketball team, and those two most recent authors busted for fictionalizing their non-fiction books. There’s also a little Freud and a little Kundera. It’s awesome.

RSS icon Comments


Oh, bullshit. It's appallingly disappointing when the few people you think might actually be doing some good in this world fuck up, like Spitzer. And he'll end up being penalized far beyond what his actions were worth, unlike Bush and Cheney, who should be publicly flayed, then drawn and quartered for their fuck ups.

Posted by isabelita | April 18, 2008 5:38 PM

Good point, isabelita.

That said, seeing the Hague convict Bush and Cheney for their war crimes is going to be fun!

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 18, 2008 5:40 PM

So why did the author feel the need to drag Kundera into this piece of shit writing?

Posted by Jay | April 18, 2008 6:15 PM

You know what Elliot Spitzer enormous penls!!!

Posted by Christopher Frizzelle's Enormous Penls | April 18, 2008 6:16 PM

What, no Britney Spears?

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | April 18, 2008 6:17 PM

Yo! I hear ya talkin, C.F.! That's, like, really totally awesome to the max squared!

Posted by Smarm | April 18, 2008 8:23 PM

duh, um, like mebbe every one's both vicious and virtuous -- good and I mean like few are totally one way or the other... to an extreme...but most are both..... sort know?

Posted by A. Pope | April 18, 2008 8:25 PM

O fuck, David Shields, have sex with Gary Payton already and don't tell me I enjoyed watching Spitzer go down. I didn't. I still want to puke over it. In short: spare me.

Posted by croydonfacelift | April 18, 2008 9:06 PM

Completely off-topic, but I just found the nifty little feature on the NYT website where you can click on any word in any story and it brings up a dictionary/thesaurus. Sweet. When is SLOG going to implement that? I would love to see the dictionary definitions of some of the words used over here.

Posted by Kim | April 18, 2008 10:49 PM

that paragraph reminded me of mudededede

Posted by feom | April 18, 2008 11:16 PM

Mudededede is one of the funner characters in Smash Bros Brawl.

Posted by ru shur | April 19, 2008 8:04 AM

david shields wants you to take a look at his screenplay

Posted by name | April 19, 2008 10:07 AM

This is all true, and kind of depressing.

Completely irrelevant, but very well put:

Posted by Phoebe | April 19, 2008 1:50 PM

Using the NYSE reaction to the Spitzer revelations, as an example of our cultural love/hate investment in celebrities or whatever Shields was trying to describe, seems to me a particularly incompetent choice. OF COURSE they cheered! Spitzer had probably prosecuted, or tried to prosecute, most of them or their friends!

Posted by David | April 19, 2008 5:30 PM

but it wasn't just the NYSE - look at the unbridled glee of the talk show hosts, many of whom had just had him as a guest. So yeah, they didn't even have to use the NYSE, because the joy was universal.

Posted by Phoebe | April 19, 2008 11:37 PM

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