Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:
Carl: The Atlantic‘s tech writer Alexis Madrigal profiles, reviews and meditates on Gary Shteyngart’s new book of satirical anti-science-fiction, Super Sad True Love Story: “Shteyngart writes about technology with such ho-hum aplomb that I think he does for technology what magical realists did for the supernatural. With Garcia Marquez, you think, ‘Oh, the guy sprouted wings? It happens.’ With Shteyngart, it is, ‘Everyone communicates through 3D holographic devices that broadcast your Fuckability rating? Well, you know how it is. … Anyone want a beer?’ ”
I hope, for Shteyngart’s sake, that his book is as well-done as Madrigal’s article, which reveals its subject to be, in daily life, an utter serf to the technology his fiction criticizes – and rather than cry “gotcha,” refreshingly smiles and nods: well, of course he would be. “It is only in the bizarre world of technological analysis that we believe that people always do what is best for themselves. We are told consumers buy iPhones and Droids and Kindles for definable reasons that make sense. But maybe they don’t. What people love and do is not usually the personal, romantic or technological equivalent of kale for dinner and a high savings rate.”
… For example, apparently people used to have sex with Neanderthals. A lot.
Chris: My favourite thing period this week – Nicholson Baker’s bemused, humbled initiation into video games, from the August 9 New Yorker – is not online. I can make up for it. At Comics Comics Joe McCulloch dug up the unfinished “bad girl” miniseries Donna Mia, an entirely unremarkable fossil from the checkered mid-90s…except that it co-starred Neil Gaiman. To be fair, young British writers were barging into their own comics at the pace of a Fawlty Towers episode back then. I guess Mr. Utz, the cartoonist, just assumed that his muse had a blanket policy on metafiction. The panel with some girl’s ass reflected in Gaiman’s shades is magical.
This is a very pervy edition of Tea With Chris, huh? I’ll garnish it with a PopMatters article about one video game character’s massive, much-fetishized thighs.
Margaux: I can’t stop watching this reality TV show about ART on reality TV.