Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The next night we ate whale
March 29, 2012 10:50 AM   Subscribe

Go to bed, Tao Lin. Cole Styker, author of Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4Chan's Army Conquered the Web interviews and considers Tao Lin and 'trollgaze'.

Previously?
posted by shakespeherian (44 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
...oh god, what he really is totally sincere about everything.
posted by The Whelk at 11:04 AM on March 29, 2012


It's just trolls all the way down.
posted by kmz at 11:06 AM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


I became fascinated by /lit/'s vacillating fascination and hatred of this peculiar author, who would seem so far removed from 4chan geek culture.

He would? To whom?
posted by enn at 11:08 AM on March 29, 2012


I don't know about April Fools' this year, since even the real articles seem made up.

"2011 has been the year of 'trollgaze'" It was?
posted by smackfu at 11:08 AM on March 29, 2012


The event seemed engineered to satisfy a certain type of beret-wearing NYU student (I counted four). They came to see people so deeply artistic, just overflowing with Imagination and Truth and Beauty, that they can't be bothered to present themselves to the crowd like functioning adults.

I just shuddered with such bone-deep revulsion that my vision actually greyed out a little bit.
posted by elizardbits at 11:10 AM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


This seems a lot like a neologism in search of a story.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:13 AM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Obligatory Get Off My Lawn Comment Here.

That and it just seems a bit too twee. Add to this a dollop of Mutual Admiration Society membership, and I can't see why anyone outside Tao Lin, the author or their circle of friends should even care about this.
posted by THAT William Mize at 11:20 AM on March 29, 2012


Since when do we link to deleted threads?
posted by Pants! at 11:21 AM on March 29, 2012


I dunno.
Kids these days, ya know?
posted by From Bklyn at 11:22 AM on March 29, 2012


Oh man this reminds me of that cover of OPTIC NERVE that had a pull quote from a really negative review of his previous books "fuax-waif naives never do anything.." and under it where illustrations of the author like, eating chips, watching TV, sleeping, and etc and I just went "God this is cargo cult cleverness" and throwing it away with great force.
posted by The Whelk at 11:24 AM on March 29, 2012


...are... are they trying to argue the Anonymous and troll culture are secretly hyperaware postmodern metacommentaries on something or other?
posted by a power-tie-wearing she-capitalist at 11:42 AM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


i have no idea how any human being takes tao lin seriously
posted by p3on at 11:43 AM on March 29, 2012


I can't see why anyone outside Tao Lin, the author or their circle of friends should even care about this.

I do b/c ...

i have no idea how any human being takes tao lin seriously

I can't either (I honestly haven't thought of him in years), and it does fascinate me, these things I cannot comprehend.

I think the comment about the MuuMuu reading nails it

It's as if these artists want to possess the mystery of the social outcast without having to suffer any actual social ostracism.

It's a weird combination of art-school cliche + black hat SEO. And it does fascinate me. So there.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:02 PM on March 29, 2012 [5 favorites]


My generation is one that appears to be devoting tremendous amounts of creative energy into the development of a personal brand at the expense of its artistic production

Even better. That is the macro story, I think.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:04 PM on March 29, 2012 [6 favorites]


The more I learn about Tao Lin, the more I like to say:

Who is this Tao Lin? What is he or she about?
posted by fuq at 12:08 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


KILL TAO LIN.
posted by Drexen at 12:18 PM on March 29, 2012


Now comes the exciting part of the thread where we try to discern who among us is the Tao Lin sockpuppet.
posted by elizardbits at 12:40 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's me. I'm Tao Lin...

Or Scott Adams...

Is Tao Lin Scott Adams?
posted by fuq at 12:42 PM on March 29, 2012


Does this mean that rapegaze was retroactively a subgenre of trollgaze?
posted by acb at 12:46 PM on March 29, 2012


Man, I sure did schadenfreude back when Tao Lin got banned for self-posting, though. I schadenfreuded so hard my socks came off.
posted by penduluum at 12:55 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have only read one of Lin's books, Eeeee Eee Eeee, which I quite liked (though for an Icelander it's a strange read because his style is uncannily similar to that of an Icelandic writer called Gyrðir Elíasson). Lin is a weird example of what happens when someone's mediated self takes a life of their own. Tao Lin, the human being and Tao Lin, the electronic ghost that haunts the internet, are two different entities by now. Though the human has some measure of control over his electronic ghost, he has only limited control. Tao Lin is living through a real life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story.
posted by Kattullus at 1:14 PM on March 29, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, he's no Kenneth Eng.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:30 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


He's the author /lit/ deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll mock him. Because he can take it. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:24 PM on March 29, 2012


for that matter i have no idea how someone who wrote a book called "epic win for anonymous" is taken seriously by anyone
posted by p3on at 2:40 PM on March 29, 2012


his detractors see him as just another boring publicity hound whose actual work doesn't stand up to scrutiny from those who are able to look past his trollish antics.

Huh. I actually see find his actual work to be pretty compelling, but his "trollish antics" to be amateurish-at-best. Dude is much better novelist than he is a troll.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:47 PM on March 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


If he was a really good troll, no one would notice him. I'm pretty certain that somewhere out there a novelist leads a secret life as a master troll, and no one knows.

Yes, my first thought was also Jonathan Franzen.
posted by Kattullus at 3:10 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Toni Morrison cracks her fingers and sits down to YouTube; she sips from a small glass of Unicum. She looks thoughtfully at the screen, then types "SHITY" from account Xx-NiCkElBaCk-xX
posted by Greg Nog at 3:17 PM on March 29, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oh, give Toni Morrison more credit than that. She's more likely to search for peaceful comment threads about, say, vegetarianism in a mom web community, and then drop in something innocuous like: "I like to buy my iceberg lettuce in Wal*Mart." At the end of it you'll have nothing but the charred remains of people with much firmer beliefs than they thought on big box retailing and the ethics of feeding your children a vegetarian diet.
posted by Kattullus at 3:29 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, THAT "Tao Lin." I didn't realize it was the same guy without the "quotation" marks.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:40 PM on March 29, 2012


Man, Unicum is underrated.

I keno a few name nerd authors who do infant read and post in thier fast or news sections under nomes du Internet, they all eventually stop however.....


OR SO THEY SAY
posted by The Whelk at 3:47 PM on March 29, 2012


okay now I just sound like dr. Mobeius, phone away now
posted by The Whelk at 3:49 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


for that matter i have no idea how someone who wrote a book called "epic win for anonymous" is taken seriously by anyone

Hi! I'm right here! Did you have a question for me?
posted by shakespeherian at 4:05 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now I'm confused.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 4:24 PM on March 29, 2012


fuck trolling
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:42 PM on March 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tao Lin has done a couple important things, but he really needs to produce some better work if he is going to be talked about in 50 years.

I think another thing people forget about when they criticize Tao is that he sells, has a loyal following, and is, at a young age, one of the very, very, very few who are professional writers. Criticize taste before you criticize the provender.

His best poem is worth reading.
posted by Shit Parade at 7:30 PM on March 29, 2012 [2 favorites]


also jesus i am tired of odd future already and i've only seen like two things they did
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:10 PM on March 29, 2012


I kind of like Tao Lin. Not that I've read him. But I like the spirit of him.

I know it's juvenile but this made me laugh. The next night we ate whale... the next night we ate whale...

Thanks for the Rhizome link. Pretty interesting "interview" [long pause]
posted by jcruelty at 11:36 PM on March 29, 2012


Unicum tastes fucking horrible.

Also, the whale poem is way behind any 'most favorited' witticism you might find here on any given month.

If I felt strongly enough, I would actually 'research' how many of his books 'sell.'
posted by From Bklyn at 6:22 AM on March 30, 2012


I am far sicker of people's glee at hating Tao Lin than I am of Tao Lin.
posted by NickDouglas at 9:02 AM on March 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


I genuinely appreciate the whale poem -- it captures Tao Lin's contemporary social scene and the poem finds a way to express a number of nuances, ideas, commentaries, critiques, which would be difficult and ineffective in a more straight forward prose medium. It does, in short, everything you want a poem to do, it even contains beauty which is impressive.

So, for me, the whale poem isn't a 'most favorited' witticism, but I suppose the problem of trolling (and the great risks of being caught by a troll (oh noes!!)) isn't only a 4chan difficulty. All said, Tao Lin's prose is god awful, and he needs to work on writing something people outside his social circle can read and begin to relate to and understand.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:15 AM on March 30, 2012


I think Eeeee Eee Eeee is a great novel. YMMV.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:20 AM on March 30, 2012


Wow. Both the lead article and most of the comments here are completely incomprehensible to me. Like pretty much every bit of unadulterated 4chan I've ever heard of, to be honest.
posted by egypturnash at 11:55 AM on March 30, 2012


His best poem is worth reading.

It's a pretty good joke, but if that's his *best* poem, I hope he's not a poet.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:14 PM on March 30, 2012


Kattulus favorited so hard. I really liked Eeeee Eee Eeee as well. Here's my attempt at a review.

This was a pretty good article until the end, when the author just lost it. He was really trying so hard to be reasonable and distanced, and then suddenly you can see that Tao Lin really got to him. (That's my interpretation anyway.)
posted by subdee at 9:38 AM on March 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


« Older Thomas Zwijsen performs Nylon Maiden: Aces High, T...  |  The Enduring Consequences of U... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments