Live, on the Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC, NPR affiliate, NYC). If I look a little tipsy, it’s because I’m drunk on the power of the elite liberal media, subliminally fondling the American unconscious with the long, sticky tendrils of my socialist thought.
My latest, the essay collection I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams, is turning out to be The Little Buzz Engine That Could.
Here’s a collection, in no particular order, of links to recent reviews and interviews.
• Archived audio of Brian Lehrer’s fast-paced, high-spirited interview with me here. Brian was a wonderfully engaging interviewer; he’s obviously a Shao-Lin Master at bringing out the best in his interviewees. (Don’t forget to read the comment thread. Makes a beer-sodden crowd of Juggalos look like an MLA panel. Who knew the word “neologism”—or, for that matter, the admittedly more Zizek-friendly “emblematize”—would goad the trolls into such a frenzy of pugnacious populism? I really *do* live the sheltered life.)
• A reviewer’s dream: a review that’s at least as smart as the book itself: Joshua Ellis reviews Bad Thoughts for Las Vegas CityLife.
• Matthew Newton reviews the book and conducts the Mother of All Interviews for The Verge. “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts…places the nation’s infinite oddities and dark undercurrents in full display, is a perfect example of his tinted worldview. Cracking open the book shows a willingness to go down the rabbit hole into a fantastic world of absurdist reality…[Dery’s] black comedic sense of humor is pervasive throughout.” Newton’s close reading and provocative questions make this one swing.
• Be still, my heart: William Gibson tweets about Bad Thoughts again!
Mark Dery’s essay collection I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts is brilliant. I am too stupid with soul-delay to articulate how.
— William Gibson (@GreatDismal) April 20, 2012
(Hive Mind: If you know what “soul delay” is, enlighten me via Twitter @markdery.)
• “Gay, straight or binary”? i09 runs my essay on Alan Turing and the queerness of the 2001 computer HAL, in its entirety. Comment-thread hijinx ensue.
• Cultural critic Erik Davis and co-host Maja D’aoust talk to me, on their radio show “The Expanding Mind,” about the Pathological Sublime, “stoner noir,” my cancer essay, the cultural psyche of Southern California, and more. Buckle your seatbelt; this one’s a vertiginous, Tilt-a-Whirl ride.
• “As a bookworm who took inordinate delight in surfers munched by sharks, I was destined to write Gorey’s biography”: John Wilkens of the San Diego Union-Tribune asked me some wonderfully thought-provoking questions about my writing, my philosophy of criticism, and growing up in the suburban badlands and borderlands of San Diego’s South Bay.
• “Snap judgment: These off-kilter essays don’t take themselves too seriously but shine an entertaining and sometimes insightful light on the corners of pop culture.” I’ll file this one under Fond Snark.
• Rick McGrath “appreciate[s] Dery’s snap-ass way with the word-whacker.” Makes me feel almost indecent.
• David Lida, brilliant analyst of Mexico’s cultural psyche, overcomes his distaste for cultural criticism.
• YESSS!!! BOINGED! [[Pumps fist in air, makes devil horns at computer screen, plays X title track at maximum volume on GrooveShark]]
• Big Fun: Technoculture critic and zippie legend R.U. Sirius talks to me about American manhood, lavender linguistics, and “the politics of the polysyllabic.”
• I love it: Graham Rae makes me sound even more moonbat-fringe-y than I actually am. “Dery gleefully picks up a great many taboo-subject rocks, shows us what’s squirming sightless unseen underneath them, then crushes the stupidity of the more deserving targets to death with the selfsame stone.”
• And then the incomparably Australian cultural theorist Darren Tofts goes and does him one better:
With the eviscerating Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink, [Dery] carved out a new identity for himself as the psychopathologist of the American unconscious. Following all too slowly on its heels, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts takes us beyond the brink into the maw of something distastefully uncanny, something so horribly real that it can’t possibly exist. CGI cinema certainly has a lot to answer for. … Collecting [these essays] into a single volume concentrates the intensity of the trip we are about to take, rather like pumping up the juice on the electric chair, or getting medieval on the plunger of a lethal injection.
• Scarily smart, acidulously funny, and a prose stylist of Hitchensian gifts, Tim Cavanaugh, of Reason magazine, likes my “hyperurbanized pomo japery.” (Why I Love the Intertubes: 56 comments, two of which are actually on-topic.)
More hyperurbanized pomo japery from Darren Tofts.
• Previous reviews for Bad Thoughts HERE.