>>HARUKI MURAKAMI DETOX, MANILA, PHILS.




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"If you want better media, go make it."

That's just one of the laws -- albeit the most to-the-point one -- listed in "The ROZZ-TOX Manifesto," a document that's about twenty-four years old, "written by Gary Panter and emerging out of conversations between himself and Matt Groening." (I got the link off Warren Ellis' diepunyhumans). Parts of it seem dated, parts of it seem immensely relevant. "Waiting for art talent scouts?" it asks. "There are no art talent scouts. Face it, no one will seek you out. No one gives a shit."

Reading through the manifesto made me think a little (not too deeply, though -- it is 5 AM). For those of you who don't know, I've been writing for PULP magazine for over a year now. I wonder if I'm creating "better media," and if I am, what effect it might have, ultimately. Certainly I'm fairly proud of some of my stuff -- pieces on new bands like Narda, some interesting interviews, that long-finished Sandwich article that has yet to see print, and a number of my CD reviews -- but I often wonder if people actually read the stuff, or just skim over the pictures and ratings. I shouldn't complain; our circulation is very good (which is much more than I can say for my book), which theoretically means we're reaching a lot of people, but going through the monthly mailbag, with all its shout-outs and feud-fuelling, can be a disheartening thing, sometimes. I just have to trust that the effort isn't wasted, and just keep trying to write better, and more. Of course, in the end, writing about music and musicians is not exactly a world-changing occupation; perhaps the best one can hope for is that some people somewhere are amused, and that some attention is drawn to the worthy, and away from the worthless.

Btw, George Saunders -- author of CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, still one of my favorite short story collections -- has a new story, "Bohemians," at the New Yorker. His characteristically perverse sense of humor and matter-of-fact voice are still in full effect:

The summer I was ten, Raccoon and I, already borderline rejects due to our mutually unravelling households, were joined by Art Siminiak, who had recently made the mistake of inviting the Kletzes in for lemonade. There was no lemonade. Instead, there was Art’s mom and a sailor from Great Lakes passed out naked across the paper-drive stacks on the Siminiaks’ sunporch.

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Best described as a Murakami detox support group, we're all fans of the quirkily brilliant Japanese author, Haruki Murakami, and writing about such things as films we've seen recently and books we're reading (not to mention meandering musings on the man's work, of course) helps us to pass time while waiting for the next book from Haruki-baby.

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