Endnotes

1. Partisan Review died last year. Or maybe it was the year before last. They must have finished the final issue in the winter, when the years overlap, so it’s hard to say.

2. The A&F Quarterly also died last year, or maybe it was this year. Committed to sexing up the image of old preppie retailer Abercrombie and Fitch, the Quarterly’s final Christmas issue—celebrating group sex and ice hockey—was pulled from the shelves in the face of a massive campaign from the Christian right.

3. Through the forties and fifties, PR was the greatest of magazines. The Quarterly, for its part, was known in the late nineties for racy homoerotic photography and a fascination with Slavoj Žižek. You used to be able to buy old issues of PR at The Read, on Bedford Ave.; to see the Quarterly, you need to go to Guy Cimbalo’s apartment.

4. Guy studied art history at Harvard, moved to Los Angeles, then returned to New York to write a book column for the Quarterly. He also flew out to London last year to solicit commentary on the photography for the 2003 “Back to School” issue from Žižek. The Giant of Ljubljana was in London for a conference, and Guy stayed at the same hotel as the other conferees. “There were Czechs, and Slovaks,” he told me. “And Czechoslovaks. It was an awful hotel. I’ve never had rancid butter before, but they had it.”

5. I read the Žižek issue in Guy’s apartment underneath a giant blown-up photo of an Abercrombie girl running naked into the Western wind. The text, in capital letters, was some of Žižek’s best work in years. “The only successful sexual relationship occurs when the fantasies of the partners overlap,” he says about a series of images of boys and girls riding motor bikes and horses. “If the man fantasizes that making love is like riding a bike, and the woman wants to be penetrated by a stud, then what truly goes on while they make love is that a horse is riding a bike. With a fantasy like that, who needs a personality?”

6. We were going into the last week of production on this issue of n+1 when I visited Guy. That was three weeks ago, and I developed an image then of Žižek pissing, not exactly into the wind, but sort of perpendicular to it. And I hoped we hadn’t done that. I was pretty sure we hadn’t. Sitting in that Abercrombie apartment, I felt like we—Guy and me and the rest of us—were at some breaking point in history. Those jokes, wherein you tweak the Man by suggesting gay sex or quoting Lacan: those are no longer funny. There are better ways to embarrass yourself. It is time to say what you mean.

7. Some day, perhaps, we too will run topless into that Western wind, heedless of consequence, celebrating the good life. But as a child’s personality begins to form when it can say, You are not me, so we’ve begun by saying, No. Enough.

More from Issue 1

Issue 1 Negation

There is a kind of fake refinement that turns into a vulgarity . . . it comes from deciding what other people can’t say.

Issue 1 Negation

Right now we plant democracy like an orchid and depart—leaving behind oilmen to drain nutrients out of the soil.

Issue 1 Negation

The problem is hardly a lack of magazines, even literary magazines.

Issue 1 Negation

In George W. Bush, we have a president for whom reading a teleprompter seems to be a physical exertion.

Issue 1 Negation

Intellect did not interest them, but kids did. Childhood is still their leitmotif.

Issue 1 Negation

The naked protests, which spread across the globe, were a reminder of what went unsaid.

Issue 1 Negation

Reading the Weekly Standard is like stepping into a parallel universe. Not an alien one; one nicely mirrored.

Issue 1 Negation

This bulking-up process has transformed the game. In fact, it threatens to render the game obsolete.

Issue 1 Negation
Horse Mountain
Issue 1 Negation
Eggers, Teen Idol
Issue 1 Negation
Against Exercise
Issue 1 Negation
The Norm
Issue 1 Negation
Why Literature Matters When It's Somewhere Else
Issue 1 Negation
Fontana
Issue 1 Negation
Art Chronicle; or, The Icon Emigrating
Issue 1 Negation
Paranoiastan
Issue 1 Negation
Mogadishu, Baghdad, Troy; or, Heroes Without War
Issue 1 Negation
The Black Iron Prison
Issue 1 Negation

They are better than you because they act, and they will not let you forget it.

Issue 1 Negation

Wallace’s opus now looks like the central American novel of the past thirty years, a dense star for lesser work to orbit.

Issue 1 Negation

His characters are outsiders who create their own communities.

More by this Author

November 20, 2015

The only relevant value here is that you should not kill people.

September 1, 2004

I told you, it’s not a hip crowd. It’s not a cutting-edge crowd. These people do not want the new edgy, cutting-edge.

May 5, 2015

It seemed to me that “Je suis Charlie” was a way for people to re-pledge their commitment to the War on Terror.

October 8, 2015

He and I went to the Zone. It’s a well-known statistic that there are 800 waste burial sites around Chernobyl.

October 5, 2007

If the Rangers can get their lines clicking, that’s the team to beat. Solid defense, and three offensive lines.

Issue 2 Happiness
The Vice President’s Daughter