Great American Novelist

He's not the richest or most famous. His characters don't solve mysteries, have magical powers, or live in the future. But in his new novel, Richard Yates, Tao Lin shows us the way we live now.

Comments

1
I am not confident of the byline here, my dears. Plus, heavy hand with the Photoshop.
2
Oh. now I get it. Especially with the Photoshop. Sorry to clutter it up here.
3
I'm confused. Is this parody? I can't read it. I mean I literally can't force my way through the sentences past the third paragraph. All I really know is that it makes me want to push Lin into the path of a train, which makes me think it's authentic.
4
Tao Lin's genius is that he has invented being obnoxious. Before him nobody ever did that. Or something.
5
did no one read the Time magazine article on Jonathan Franzen? Great job on the cover parody!
6
I'd even prefer Joaquin Phoenix to this. Is there someone writing for the Sranger who actually believes this is, what, funny? Clever? Anything? All I am able to see is an empty void. And not in a good way.
7
They still print Time Magazine? I had no idea.
8
Not getting on the Tao Lin bandwagon. "Shoplifting from American Apparel" read like a Dick and Jane story for third graders. I'm pretty sure I had to work harder to read it than Lin did to write it. I had already forgotten it by the time I read the last page.
9
Ugh. This is the funniest thing I have read in a while. I wish I didn't want to know what, if any, of this person/profile/novel is real. But I do.
10
Google "TIME Franzen great american novelist."

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,…

Its clearly a parody. First sentence in TIME:

A raft of sea otters are at play in a narrow estuary at Moss Landing, near Santa Cruz, Calif. There are 41 of them, says a guy in a baseball cap. He counted.

First sentence in stranger:

A mound of hamsters are asleep in a 20-gallon fish tank at Petco in Manhattan's Union Square. There are seven of them, says a nonexistent woman in a baseball cap. She counted.
11
@ 10 is onto something.
12
As someone who many a year ago did work in a petco taking care of the "small animals", the one in USQ and a few others, the hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, etc. are all separated by gender. It always sucked when we missed one and were stuck with little hairless baby hamsters to take care of.

Just sayin'...
13
There's 2.5 minutes I'll never get back. Someone in the world thought it was clever, but that person is nonexistent and unavailable fro comment.
14
Yawn. Put it on your facebook Lin, that's where this crap belongs.
15
I wrote an essay on my blog called ESSAY ON TAO LIN RE “NEUTRAL FACIAL EXPRESSION” AND HAMSTERS [http://youtubedotcom.tumblr.com/post/998…]. It seems like I've been "plagiarized." Here's a passage from my essay.

----------------------------------------

In one segment of Tao Lin’s lecture at the Kansas City Art Institute given on April 2, 2010, he instructed his students in how to draw in his drawing style. He focused on how to draw hamsters in particular. During the workshop period, he demonstrated how to draw hamsters in the way he draws hamsters and critiqued students’ hamster drawings. During this period, he was asked “Why hamsters?” In response, he said “Because they are the most minimal animal.”
[...]
In an interview [http://www.redividerjournal.org/intervie…], Tao Lin observed that “[Hamsters’] heads are their bodies.”

-----------------------------------------

Here's a passage from this profile appearing in The Stranger.

-----------------------------------------

When asked, "Why hamsters?" at a reading last September, Lin reportedly mumbled something like "I don't care about hamsters" before qualifying incoherently and then saying, "I don't own any hamsters" both defensively and wistfully. But a few months later, during a presentation titled "Tao Lin's Drawing Style" at Kansas City Art Institute, Lin reportedly orated at length and fluidly about how he likes hamsters "a lot" because "they're the most minimal animal, their heads are also their bodies," adding that he also likes megamouth sharks and toy poodles and, somewhat jarringly, that "ocean sunfish are like hamsters but fish and a lot bigger."

------------------------------------------------

I attended Tao Lin's lecture at the Kansas City Art Institute. He did not say that "their heads are also their bodies" at that lecture. (A video of the lecture exists, but is not "available to the public.") This quote is from the interview linked in my essay. He also did not mention sunfish, toy poodles, or megamouth sharks at his lecture. It seems that the author of this profile was not in attendance. Having done a few google searches, these details seem to have been "fabricated," though clearly "fabricated" by someone who has googled Tao Lin more than a few times.

What should I do. Should I email the editor of the Stranger. Should I take "legal recourse." How do I take "legal recourse." What is "legal recourse." Is there anything I can do.

16
I wrote an essay on my blog called ESSAY ON TAO LIN RE “NEUTRAL FACIAL EXPRESSION” AND HAMSTERS [http://youtubedotcom.tumblr.com/post/998…]. It seems like I've been "plagiarized." Here's a passage from my essay.

----------------------------------------

In one segment of Tao Lin’s lecture at the Kansas City Art Institute given on April 2, 2010, he instructed his students in how to draw in his drawing style. He focused on how to draw hamsters in particular. During the workshop period, he demonstrated how to draw hamsters in the way he draws hamsters and critiqued students’ hamster drawings. During this period, he was asked “Why hamsters?” In response, he said “Because they are the most minimal animal.”
[...]
In an interview [http://www.redividerjournal.org/intervie…], Tao Lin observed that “[Hamsters’] heads are their bodies.”

-----------------------------------------

Here's a passage from this profile appearing in The Stranger.

-----------------------------------------

When asked, "Why hamsters?" at a reading last September, Lin reportedly mumbled something like "I don't care about hamsters" before qualifying incoherently and then saying, "I don't own any hamsters" both defensively and wistfully. But a few months later, during a presentation titled "Tao Lin's Drawing Style" at Kansas City Art Institute, Lin reportedly orated at length and fluidly about how he likes hamsters "a lot" because "they're the most minimal animal, their heads are also their bodies," adding that he also likes megamouth sharks and toy poodles and, somewhat jarringly, that "ocean sunfish are like hamsters but fish and a lot bigger."

------------------------------------------------

I attended Tao Lin's lecture at the Kansas City Art Institute. He did not say that "their heads are also their bodies" at that lecture. (A video of the lecture exists, but is not "available to the public.") This quote is from the interview linked in my essay. He also did not mention sunfish, toy poodles, or megamouth sharks at his lecture. It seems that the author of this profile was not in attendance. Having done a few google searches, these details seem to have been "fabricated," though clearly "fabricated" by someone who has googled Tao Lin more than a few times.

What should I do. Should I email the editor of the Stranger. Should I take "legal recourse." How do I take "legal recourse." What is "legal recourse." Is there anything I can do.
17
agreed, fnarf.
18
This is fucking hilarious! Some people don't understand, or like, but that's ok. Don't hate the writer, hate the game. That's nonsense. I look at it this way. Some great books, some people don't like. It took me 5 times to get past the first 50 pages of "Love in the Time of Cholera," but once I did, I fucking loved it. And Moby Dick, I never made it past page 100, but I loved much of it, and plan to try again. The explanation of the ship lost me, as maybe the parody and hamsters and lack of opinions/neutral facial expressions lost you. Maybe we need to try and read the metaphorical "Moby Dick" again. That's where I go to find solace. The sea. I find my Mody Dick.
19
i don't give a fuck, tao lin rules
20
I wrote an essay on my blog called ESSAY ON TAO LIN RE “NEUTRAL FACIAL EXPRESSION” AND HAMSTERS [http://youtubedotcom.tumblr.com/post/998…]. It seems like I've been "plagiarized." Here's a passage from my essay.

----------------------------------------

In one segment of Tao Lin’s lecture at the Kansas City Art Institute given on April 2, 2010, he instructed his students in how to draw in his drawing style. He focused on how to draw hamsters in particular. During the workshop period, he demonstrated how to draw hamsters in the way he draws hamsters and critiqued students’ hamster drawings. During this period, he was asked “Why hamsters?” In response, he said “Because they are the most minimal animal.”
[...]
In an interview [http://www.redividerjournal.org/intervie…], Tao Lin observed that “[Hamsters’] heads are their bodies.”

-----------------------------------------

Here's a passage from this profile appearing in The Stranger.

-----------------------------------------

When asked, "Why hamsters?" at a reading last September, Lin reportedly mumbled something like "I don't care about hamsters" before qualifying incoherently and then saying, "I don't own any hamsters" both defensively and wistfully. But a few months later, during a presentation titled "Tao Lin's Drawing Style" at Kansas City Art Institute, Lin reportedly orated at length and fluidly about how he likes hamsters "a lot" because "they're the most minimal animal, their heads are also their bodies," adding that he also likes megamouth sharks and toy poodles and, somewhat jarringly, that "ocean sunfish are like hamsters but fish and a lot bigger."

------------------------------------------------

I attended Tao Lin's lecture at the Kansas City Art Institute. He did not say that "their heads are also their bodies" at that lecture. (A video of the lecture exists, but is not "available to the public.") This quote is from the interview linked in my essay. He also did not mention sunfish, toy poodles, or megamouth sharks at his lecture. It seems that the author of this profile was not in attendance. Having done a few google searches, these details seem to have been "fabricated," though clearly "fabricated" by someone who has googled Tao Lin more than a few times.

What should I do. Should I email the editor of the Stranger. Should I take "legal recourse." How do I take "legal recourse." What is "legal recourse." Is there anything I can do.

:/
:/
:/
:/
21
I wish Paul and Lindy would go write for something that doesn't suck. Kisses.
22
@15, @16, and @20: You write, "It seems that the author of this profile was not in attendance" at a speech given by Tao Lin that you quote on your blog. You do realize that Tao Lin is the author of this profile of Tao Lin, right?
23
That man has a tiny, tiny mouth.

He also has some habits which are uncomfortably similar to my own.
24
"Defaultedly?" Is that really the word you wanted, or did you just run out of time?
25
I can not fathom a universe where Moby Dick and anything by Tao Lin can remotely be compared next to each other. I'm not sure Tao could muster up a metaphor or even an "anti-metaphor" for nothing.

He, perhaps jokingly, states that there is no good and bad in art, and that all belief systems are created on equally arbitrary assumptions. I disagree - there might not be a right and wrong but there is certainly a good and bad in art. And the belief system part sounds like an niave and confused teenager rebelling against something one knows not what. Rather than something transcendent or revealing of some great truth about the human condition, feels more like a conversation I had with a 15 year old in 1992.

At least with Moby dick I learned a lot about 19th century whaling
26
Marcus Aurelius B.C.? Chuang Zhu? ("Zhuangzi" or "Chuang Tsu" I presume.) But what a style - hamster-like, indeed.
27
The faux time cover needs to be put on a t-shirt.
28
The faux time cover needs to be put on a t-shirt.
29
WHAT IS GOING ON
30
dear tao lin. you're better than this! I hope so.
31
I loved this. I was really surprised by the style of this piece - it's vastly different from Lin's usual writing style. I love the analogy between Lin and hamsters. A lot of people call Lin obnoxious and pretentious, but I can't blame him for trying to make money off of his art, and I think he sincerely cares about the plight of human suffering in the world. I think he has genuine compassion for other beings. This piece was well written and fascainting, giving me insight on such a strange person full of paradoxes. I also applaud Lin for taking a risk by writing in a style so different from his usual one.
32
OK, the confusion of @15, @16, @20 about whether Lin plagiarized his blog, which quoted Lin, by saying some of those same things that he quoted again, is officially the funniest thing I've ever seen in the Stranger. Yes, dude, you should TOTALLY sue. Yourself.

In the future we are all Tao Lin.
33
Tao Lin should never write stuff about himself.

I recommend he write stuff about Fnarf, cause he needs the egoboo.
34
Hamsters ftw, by the way.
35
I saw the Stranger cover (online) yesterday and mistook it for the cover of Time. I thought, great, here's another "important" novelist I'll never get around to reading.

Yesterday evening, I went to help my mother-in-law. Among other chores, I took out her recycling. That's when I noticed the Franzen issue of Time and thought, what the hell is some other guy doing on the cover of Time? Did Time do that thing that TV Guide did a few years ago and run different covers for the same issue?

Am I ever glad to clear this up.
36
@15, @16, and @20. What can you do, you want to know. Here’s what you do:

#1: Stop double posting.
#2: Look at the biline for the feature on Tao Lin. (hint: It's Tao Lin!)
#3: Learn what plagarism means. (hint: it doesn’t mean covering the same topic or quoting the same person.)
#4: Something far away and quiet. (hint: very very far away and very very quiet.)
37
BUT WILL! You never told us! What *IS* the egoboo? I MUST KNOW.
38
I'm kinda surprised at how many people didn't get the joke. I'd expect more out of the Stranger's readers.
39
the joke woulda been funnier (if indeed it was funny) in about 4 thousand less words.

40
@38, the joke is only funny if you read "Time". I guess I should stop heading straight for "Hello!" when I'm in line at the supermarket; I never saw it.
41
@37 I thot u had your wiki for that?

Time went out with the 80s.
42
marshall mallicoat seems to be some kind of shill
43
eh. I guess I agree with @38. I don't "read" TIME, but the Franzen cover story was circulated so far and wide (linked on Slog, rehashed and considered all over the web, even in an iPhone television commercial) that I was surprised that there was anyone who wouldn't understand that what the cover was parodying, let alone that it was a parody at all.
44
@38: yeah, jokes are supposed to be funny, not just twee and self-referential. The jokes I like anyway.
45
this article is hilarious
this is the thing i have enjoyed reading most in the last 4-12 days.
i feel like the commenters here should 'calm down', forget what they know or think about Lin or The Stranger or 'serious literature' or [something] and just appreciate this article's existence not in the context of any of those things
maybe the 'key to reading Tao Lin' is to momentarily consider oneself as a hamster, having no preconceptions relating to any abstractions.
46
Thank you Stranger and Tao Lin-this has made my week.

The writing is genius.
Messaged to a friend:

"Writers crushhh!!! Exactly what I was going to write about! The dual parody within a parody layered over the revelation of the individual is an astounding literary achievement in my opinion. The patent obnoxiousness that people often get at him with was always absent from my own reading of Lin's works. His writing is so truthful and accepts the 'paradoxical nature' of living and perceiving. It is also observedly unannounced, as if you could feel that each thought is latent. But then I am amazed at the delivery of the wit, of the rapacity of how clever the groggy writing is.

Definitely suggest reading this article from Thought Catalog. It's a great analysis of Tao Lin's genius. I use this word sparingly. But when it is proven, I spread it liberally.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2010/taolin-jo…
47
fnarf, you are a troll. and i'm assuming a couple of generations too old for tao lin to be relevant to you. you didn't get it. your bad.
48
@ 38. . . noooo kidding.

this was some of the funniest shit ever.
49
You're hot.
50
Didn't read the Franzen profile, just T. Lin's. Laughed heartily about 67 times. Pretty good average. If people don't know what a funny sentence looks like then I guess people don't know what a funny sentence looks like.

"The way we live now."
51
Should it concern me that the main character of a parody piece acts just like I do?

It seems like that should concern me.
52
If by "genius" one means "utterly insufferable" and duller "than" dishwater, then "yes," Tao Lin is "a" genius.
53
Must admit I didn't get it, and still don't. What Times article is this a parody of?
54
I find it funny that in the sub-title of this article, it says his characters "don't live in the future" and then it goes on to say that one of his stories has a character who lives five minutes in the future.
55
the character only believes that she lives in the future
56
Check the thought catalog piece, which is really worth the read.
57
The article is fine, humorous bits and not so humorous bits, a fine parody... but did it have to be Tao Lin on Tao Lin, with him laboring to show off his Superior prose, and the Photo Shopped picture? The whole thing seemed a bit masturbatory.
58
It's a self profile...you're calling a self profile masturbatory. That's like calling a mountain climber adventurous.
59
I remember a few years ago when The Stranger regularly took pot shots at the The Seattle Weekly, and a long-time SW writer finally responded by writing that someday The Stranger would age, too, and some cheeky new-comer would be eating their lunch. But he was wrong. The Stranger is more like the guy in "Dazed and Confused" who says "what I like about high school girls is that I keep getting older but they just stay the same age." The Stranger just stays the mind-numbing same.

The Stranger is written by upper middle class white kids who never had real jobs in their life, including Charles Muede, with his silly article a few months ago about living the "authentic" hard life here in Seattle until his upper middle class parents bailed him out.
60
I remember a few years ago when The Stranger regularly took pot shots at the The Seattle Weekly, and a long-time SW writer finally responded by writing that someday The Stranger would age, too, and some cheeky new-comer would be eating their lunch. But he was wrong. The Stranger is more like the guy in "Dazed and Confused" who says "what I like about high school girls is that I keep getting older but they just stay the same age." The Stranger gets older but just stays the mind-numbing same, counting on new readers pouring into who think they are fresh.

The Stranger is written by upper middle class white kids who never had real jobs in their lives, including Charles Muede, with his silly article a few months ago about living the "authentic" hard life here in Seattle until his upper middle class parents bailed him out like every other tourist living in the slums.

If The Stranger charged 25 cents they would quickly be out of business. No one would read them.
61
It had me laughing. Fuckin hamsters with their head bodies
62
Bright Eyes, anyone?
63
very interesting.Especially with the Photoshop.
64
The big idea here is that Franzen's writing is just as ridiculous as this, except that Lin is actually entertaining and doesn't suffer from that "I'm middle-class and white and a male, therefore I am a literary genius" syndrome that Franzen and so many other poor writers suffer from nowadays. I wish some more talented writers would come along and dissuade all these silly white kids from becoming "artists" or whatever it is they think they are!
65
The original article is written by Lev Grossman not Franzen, Betty.
66
I get the parody. I get the joke. Tao Lin is still a shitty writer.
67
I can't think of a Tao Lin piece of writing that isn't a parody of something. Have you read Bed? It's a parody of Lorrie Moore. Eeeee Eee Eeee. That parodies Ann Beattie.
68
Really. 2,500 hours? What an inefficient use of time, Richard Yates is theeeeeee most boring book ever.
69
2,500 hours on Richard Yates? Why? It is theeeeeeeeeeeee most boring book ever. Maybe he had to think real hard to excise the interesting parts.
70
@caleb because different people think different things are boring, obviously, do you think everyone in the world is the exact same person as you?
71
I know this is a bit late, but I just have to say that the first sentence is definitely the clunkiest phrase I've read in a long long time, and the rest of the article isn't a lot better. It's obvious the author sees no need for an editor.
72
it's a parody...
73
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Ah. Ah. Ha. *copy and paste into harddrive*

74
good list.
thanks...