inessential by Brent Simmons


John Barth: “The Parallels!” Italo Calvino and Jorge Luis Borges. “Although one finds flavors and even some specific detail of Buenos Aires and environs in the corpus of Borges’s fiction and of Italy in that of Calvino, and although each is a major figure in his respective national literature as well as in modern lit generally, both writers were prevailingly disinclined to the social/psychological realism that for better or worse persists as the dominant mode in North American fiction.”


You may be against the war. You may be against globalization. And you think to yourself, hey, I’m a dissenter, an American dissident, a small voice crying out for justice.

Ho hum. No one cares.

The only real dissent in America—right now, in November 2001—is to not like Harry Potter.

(I mean the books. Some Harry Potter fans think the movie’s kind of weak.)

What kind of mean-spirited, child-hating, yellow-toothed, coldly logical {pictureLink ("bastard", "mib.jpg")} would not like Harry Potter?

To not delight in magic and the innocence of children is, well, so against the grain of modern culture and everything that’s good in life that you might as well, I don’t know, give it up, hang yourself, check out, do the rest of us a favor.

You’re exactly the kind of person that everyone else thinks sucks.

It’s been said, by my boss among other people, that irony and sarcasm don’t work on the Web. Maybe that’s true—but I enjoy it way too much to give it up.


Here’s how dumb you have to be to be me.

I’m walking around in the kitchen making hot chocolate. I hear footsteps. What the hell?

So I investigate, go in the living room, check the bathroom. I pause, I listen—the footsteps have stopped. I continue—there they are again!

Of course it was me, it was my footsteps. Good grief.


Sometimes I think that one of the requirements for being a weblogger is that you’re stuck intellectually in the ’70s and ’80s.

The Selfish Gene (memes) was published in 1976.

Gödel, Escher, Bach (meta this and meta that) was published in 1979.

Chaos was published in 1987.

One thing we can be thankful for—enough time has passed since the 1962 publication of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions that people don’t use the word “paradigm” all the time any more.

Or else there’d surely be a weblog named Chaotic Meta-Memetic Paradigms.

Ho freakin’ hum.


I’d rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.