Last Monday, New Inquiry blogger Aaron Bady audited the word satire and made it clear. He wrote, "If something is not taken to be satire, it fails as satire. [It's] an effect, and everything depends on how the joke is received, what the author intended, what the circumstances were in which it was made, and so on." It's an interesting definition, both for the way it's made and the assumptions on which it relies. He establishes criteria for the existence of satire based on its audience, citing people who mistake The Onion and The Daily Currant for real news as evidence for the genre's fragility, tying satire's ontology to whether it achieves food for thought for the permanently slackjawed. Leaving aside the fact that a satire's being mistaken for reality is often a satirist's dream, basing the existence of something on the perception of idiots is a powerful argument. [more inside]
The Top 10 Most Difficult Books compiled by critic/author/editor/literati/people-who-use-their-middle-names Emily Colette Wilkinson and Garth Risk Hallberg who have been surveying Difficult Books for TheMillions.com since 2009 (and you think the last 3 years have been hard for YOU).
Brindin Press has lots of poetry translations into English online, concentrating on French, German, Italian and Spanish, though more than 40 other languages are represented as well. A boatload of translators is represented, from those toiling in obscurity to big literary names (e.g. there are translations of Catullus poems by Ben Jonson, Jonathan Swift, Louis Zukofsky, Aubrey Beardsley and Thomas Hardy). There is also a section of quirky poems. Finally, here's a rendition of Goethe's Der Erlkönig that substitutes the elfish king with a dalek.
Just what you've been waiting for... or maybe not! "Due to overwhelming public demand, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have decided to use the site of the World Trade Center for America's number one theme park, Twin Towers over Ground Zeroâ?¢!" Since long before Jonathan Swift, writers (and others) have used absurdity to spur discussion and spark protest. Sick of all the 9/11 glurge and tacky commercialism (1, 2, 3), a local resident continues the tradition.