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All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy
January 9, 2009 5:50 AM   Subscribe

All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy, a novel by Jack Torrance. [more info; via]

From a review:
Some will dismiss it as simplistic; that’s like dismissing a Pollack canvas as mere splatters of paint...One is forced to consider the author, heroically pitting himself against the Sisyphusean sentence. It’s that metatextual struggle of Man vs. Typewriter that gives this book its spellbinding power...It surpasses post-modernism. I can only refer to it as “most-modernism.”
posted by kirkaracha (48 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why did this have to show up two weeks after Christmas?
posted by Adam_S at 5:52 AM on January 9, 2009


Meh. I'll wait for the movie.
posted by slimepuppy at 5:53 AM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Spoiler: The groundskeeper did it.
posted by DU at 5:58 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this available for Kindle?
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 5:59 AM on January 9, 2009


This must have been a bitch for the copyeditor.
posted by eriko at 6:01 AM on January 9, 2009


I actually saw a Vagina Monologues-style performance of this book at a small underground theatre in Cambridge, MA earlier this month. To say that it was overblown and repetitive would be an understatement.

And like most shows at the Zeitgeist, I wished I was anywhere else. In a bar somewhere, drinking, for example. That's always better than one of those long 'avant-garde' bore-fests. But then again, almost anything is. Hell, being locked up with my whiny, willowy wife and spastic kid would have been better than being stuck in that damn gallery. I tried to hide out in the bathroom, but the door was locked and no amount of pounding on it would let me in. During the intermission, I seriously thought about just sitting down outside and waiting for the show to end. It was cold and snowing, sure, but at least I would finally get a bit of peace.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:10 AM on January 9, 2009 [21 favorites]


That's funny, robocop is bleeding, cause I saw a picture of you at a previous Zeitgeist show and it looked like you were having the time of your life.
posted by Spatch at 6:14 AM on January 9, 2009 [10 favorites]


One of my favorite Stanley-Kubrick-was-insane stories involves the manuscript from "The Shining." Apparently Kubrick was adamantly opposed to taking any sort of shortcut for the prop, so he insisted that every single page-- several hundred of them-- be individually typewritten.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:14 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


So it's not enough to present a horribly repetitive book to my eyes? You have to go and ruin Pollack for me too?
posted by mannequito at 6:15 AM on January 9, 2009


If somebody was just going to fart around with page layouts they should have used Lorem Ipsum.
posted by erpava at 6:25 AM on January 9, 2009


There's a monster at the end of this book?
posted by jefflowrey at 6:29 AM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can't help but think that a modern remake of The Shining where Torrance simply hits

Ctrl C

Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V

would be half as scary.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:37 AM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Dude? Dude! Dude. Dude... dude, dude, dude.
posted by stavrogin at 6:39 AM on January 9, 2009


you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack -you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack -you're a dull boy jack -you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack - you're a dull boy jack
posted by pyramid termite at 6:45 AM on January 9, 2009


BOEM
         PAUKESLAG

daar ligt alles       PLAT
0___________o
weer razen violen celli bassen koperen triangel
trommels P A U K E N
razen rennen razen rennen razen RENNEN

STOP!

drama in volle slag hoeren slangen werpen zich op eerlike
mannen het gezin wankelt
de fabriek wankelt
de eer wankelt ligt er
alle begrippen VALLEN
                          HALT!


posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:56 AM on January 9, 2009 [6 favorites]


[cite]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:00 AM on January 9, 2009


I just like to tell this story whenever anyone this up: sophomore or junior year of high school, we had an freshly-minted English B.A. doing the NYC Teaching Fellows program (they pretty much just throw these kids into classrooms with a couple of weeks of training, and subsidize their M.Ed. while they teach.) Driven nearly to tears on a daily basis by the uncooperative group of shits that we were, she decided to "punish" us by assigning read-the-chapter-answer-the-questions drills out of the textbook for an entire period. Generally I was one of the better students, behavior- and work quality-wise, but, enraged by this waste of time (also: teenage hormones) I personally handed her a piece of loose-leaf covered (front and back) with that sentence.

At the end of the semester, I got a B I was thankful for and barely deserved, and she quit the Fellows program to go to law school.
posted by griphus at 7:24 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


This book is all play and no work.
posted by caddis at 7:33 AM on January 9, 2009


This reminds me a little of an exchange between the Brit artist Tracy Emin and one of her many critics. The critic said of one her controversial pieces, "Anyone could have done this". Emin replied "Yes, but I did".

At the time, I thought this was a pretty cool pat response to people who do nothing but sneer. But as time goes by, I think it's just used as an excuse to produce any old rubbish that comes into your head and pretend that just doing it is good enough.
posted by rhymer at 7:48 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Killer ending.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:02 AM on January 9, 2009


"I can't help but think that a modern remake of The Shining where Torrance simply hits [copy/paste] would be half as scary."

A modern Shining would involve something more insane and horrifying: Jack would be writing a NaNoWriMo, and liveblogging the process. *dun Dun DUNNNNNNNN*
posted by Eideteker at 8:12 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


10 PRINT ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY
20 GOTO 10
30 END
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:18 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]



I can't help but think that a modern remake of The Shining where Torrance simply hits
Ctrl C
Ctrl V
would be half as scary.


ctrl+A, ctrl+C, ctrl+V, ctrl+A, ctrl+C, ctrl+V...


It's exponentially more terrifying.
posted by logicpunk at 8:24 AM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


Is this something I would need Flash to make clever Kubrick-King references about?
posted by kittyprecious at 8:45 AM on January 9, 2009


There was a bit in the documentary "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" where it was explained that for foreign language releases of "The Shining", Jack's manuscript was retyped in the relevant language and footage of those pages inserted in the distributed print.
posted by hwestiii at 8:48 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I almost just signed up for Twitter but someone beat me to the joke.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:54 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ctrl V
Ctrl V
Ctrl V

would be half as scary.
posted by Happy Dave


I thought something similar when I caught it on TV a couple years back - watching that scene the first thought that occurred to me was crap, some poor prop flunkie had to sit and manually type out all those pages. It's really true: if I had been acting like I was being a productive writer for weeks and weeks and my wife came down into the basement and found a stack like that she would probably say something like "very funny, asshole, did you waste an entire day making that?"

Also the obligatory "I was thinking along the lines of no TV and no beer make Homer something something."

"Go crazy?"

"Don't mind if I do!"
posted by nanojath at 9:13 AM on January 9, 2009


This will go well on my bookshelf next to my copies of House of Leaves.
posted by daHIFI at 9:14 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


I always preferred The Shinning. Saves on royalties.
posted by inigo2 at 9:17 AM on January 9, 2009


There's a monster at the end of this book?

No, but there are limited editions where some of the words are in colour.
posted by Artw at 9:19 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


robocop is bleeding - You're the injured cyborg police officer, you've always been the injured cyborg police officer.
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on January 9, 2009


I can't help but think that a modern remake of The Shining where Torrance simply hits
Ctrl C
Ctrl V
would be half as scary.


In the remake, Jack would be employed as journalist and he's supposedly working from home, diligently cutting and pasting press releases from government agencies and corporate PR agencies into "news" articles, but then his wife glances over his shoulder and finds that he's just cutting and pasting the same nonsense paragraph over and over again.

And then she glances at his system try and realizes that his laptop HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED FROM THE INTERNET THE ENTIRE TIME, DUN DUN DUN!!!!!!
posted by straight at 9:23 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


This past Halloween I was an actor at a charity haunt. I was locked into a table and had to figure out something to do to entertain the patrons. I spent 4 hours writing that line over and over with a ink dipped pen. By the end of the night I had fillled 13 bloodsplattered pages, and acting insane had become pretty easy.
posted by obol at 9:29 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


tl;dr.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:58 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


Nowadays Jack would be spending his time playing online games, checking blogs for updates, doing 'research' on Wikipedia... hang on a second...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:06 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


he looks exactly like jack nicholson!
posted by femmme at 10:15 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


There was a bit in the documentary "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" where it was explained that for foreign language releases of "The Shining", Jack's manuscript was retyped in the relevant language and footage of those pages inserted in the distributed print.

Todos trabajan y ningún juego hace Jack una compra embotada. Todos trabajan y ningún juego hace Jack una compra embotada. Todos trabajan y ningún juego hace Jack una compra embotada. Todos trabajan y ningún juego hace Jack una compra embotada. Todos trabajan...
posted by Joe Beese at 10:48 AM on January 9, 2009


There was a bit in the documentary "Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures" where it was explained that for foreign language releases of "The Shining", Jack's manuscript was retyped in the relevant language and footage of those pages inserted in the distributed print.


There is more!

For the Italian version of the film, Kubrick used the phrase "Il mattino ha l' oro in bocca" ("He who wakes up early meets a golden day"). For the German version, it was "Was Du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf Morgen" ("Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today"). For the Spanish version, it was "No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano" ("Rising early will not make dawn sooner."). For the French version, it was "Un 'Tiens' vaut mieux que deux 'Tu l'auras'" ("A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush").
via IMDB
posted by The Whelk at 10:49 AM on January 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


I bet he typed them all himself, too.
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on January 9, 2009


I bet he typed them all himself, too.

I seem to remember reading somewhere he hired a secretary to do it (great job). Though I can imagine about 300 hours of meetings with various language experts to decide on the translations (and no doubt a shrink for the layouts...)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:45 AM on January 9, 2009


No, no, no that margin needs to be 5 points to the left!
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on January 9, 2009 [2 favorites]


I heard the book was ghostwritten.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 1:07 PM on January 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Huh. I thought from the trailers and the Peter Gabriel soundtrack with Solsbury Hill that this was the feel good movie of the year.

Anyway, where does he get his ideas?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:48 PM on January 9, 2009


Last time I watched The Shining, I noticed that it wasn't JUST "all work and no play makes jack a dull boy", it also had play-on-words sentences, misspellings, reworkings of the sentence (an example : "all jack work is no play, dull boy"), kinda making it even creepier.

I'll see if I can dig up a screencap or something similar. Otherwise, I'll just have to admit I went insane while watching it. I don't think I want that.
posted by revmitcz at 4:48 PM on January 9, 2009


How do you like it?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:59 PM on January 9, 2009


mkay, nevermind. I'm guessing I've either mixed it up w/a parody, or I was going insane. here's a high-quality version (provided you click the "watch high quality" button) of the scene for reference, though, just in case.
posted by revmitcz at 5:01 PM on January 9, 2009


To be honest, it wouldn't be hard to do the same scene in the shining today.

A) The Hotel Doesn't Have Internet
B) He's intentionally writing it on a type writer because the temptation to re-edit on the word processor was too much for him, and he needs it to get past writers block.
posted by empath at 9:09 PM on January 9, 2009


We've stayed at the Timberline Lodge, which plays the exterior of the Overlook Hotel, a couple of times now. It's pretty nice.


Also it has wi-fi, so I didn't go crazy and start running down the halls with a fire-axe.
posted by Artw at 10:54 PM on January 9, 2009


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