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The title says it all- only a trendy superficial moron would steal clothes from posh outlets,
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This review is from: Shoplifting from American Apparel (The Contemporary Art of the Novella) (Paperback)When I was handed this book, as I glanced down at the title, the words I heard from the acquaintance (who is now no longer an acquaintance) were: "This is the new minimalism". First off, as an artist who founded his passion for art in writing, and like all good artists in my opinion, isms are the last thing I look for in artists- especially writers. The belief I hold to, which has also been the belief of many great writers, is that a writer- or anyone that expresses themselves for that matter, should not rely on isms; they don't need it, they have instinct.
Tao Lin appears to only lack, and gets by on griping about it. Therefore I can only assume that he gets by on pity by the self pitying of this generation of people who were raised with the promise that they could be whatever they wanted- however, realized upon growing up that following your dreams is more than often not glamorous and requires hard work. With Tao Lin's constant use of "we're f***ed" in his dialogue- which is basically just the shallow characters talking at each other about their insignificant and superficial disgruntlements, and his painful and shameful allusions to emo (which come off as distasteful pandering), he definitely appears to hope he can ride on the ironic taste of hipsters.
That I should have assumed by the title alone. Now I love shoplifting as much as any petty theft or commercial burglar- but there's a code d*** it!
First off, never steal clothes. That's like stealing jewelry, accessories, perfume, etc. That is all vanity. With the amount of people I know in retail, including my brother who is in management at an Urban Outfitters and my mother who is a personal shopper at Nordstrom- I believe its safe to say that 95% of people who shoplift from retail department stores get caught- if not more. I can also back up that statistic based on time I spent on rounds with friends who were mall security guards as well.
It's always the same kind of person as well, the kind which I think fits Tao Lin well- self involved people that display the most limited thinking abilities and have an undeserved sense of importance.
That is the kind of person that probably love Tao Lin as well.
So getting to the story. There are many writers that write about the struggle of being a writer- this is not one of them. This is a severely confused trendy brat that only manages to present infantile attempts at portraying a person that simply WANTS to be a writer. There is a difference between being and wanting to be a writer. As Jack Kerouac said, ANYONE can LEARN to write, but few are born to. Jack was a smart enough person to be able to admit with honest humility, that he was not a born writer. That's what makes him worth reading. Tao Lin seems to simply try to milk on the "sense of entitlement" this generation has- he drools out confused short lines for the Occupy Wallstreet movement. Those who want so much, but don't discipline themselves to learn be able to figure out WHAT they want or HOW to actually DO the work to get it.
And so Tao limps along through this drivel talking about American Apparel, soy milk, smoothies, veganism- using these trendy things a much as possible to remind the reader of HOW NOW this writing is. Though in the end, if you take a step back, you see can see that it is merely shabby scaffolding used as attempts to hold up the weak and terribly crafted structure of the "novella".
That Miranda July endorses this crap confuses me greatly. Stephen Elliott I can see. What else would you expect from an ex stripper that is either very uninformed or else trying to save as much face as possible by abusing Adderall and not just using crystal meth.
I suppose the trend surfers have to look out for one another. Elliott did a wonderful job in his attempt to bank on the trend of prescription drug abuse with "The Adderall Diaries". Thank god! And just when the national problem is spiraling so out of control, there are now unheard of shortages of generic and non-generic Adderall nation wide, making it impossible to find for those of us who require it and actually take it as needed.
Thanks a lot Elliott! I'm sure writing your book will do wonders for future availability of the drug! I know its a great read for all the kids I know who loved it so, and call me weekly to beg me to sell them my meds.
And just to set the record straight, Elliott saying that "shoplifting from American Apparel" belongs on the same shelf as "Last Exit to Brooklyn" and "Ask the Dust" just show how little he knows about writing.
Tao Lin, like Elliott, lazily slouch toward "infamy" by using cheap gimmicks. They have nothing to say, they only leave questions. Which would not be so bad, except they are terribly idiotic questions.
This book had me straining to pay attention- even with the help of adderall! Toward the end (and I read it in less than an hour) my head was throbbing and I had given in to bouts of shouting "WHY THE F*** SHOULD I CARE ABOUT THIS!??? PLEASE DEAR GOD, GIVE ME SOME REASON WHY I SHOULD CARE ABOUT THIS F***ING S***!!!!!".
So this, like all of Tao's other books, as well as Stephen Elliott's while we're at it- are good if you want to get an idea of truly TRRRUUULLLYY terrible writing.
AND, if you're given to bouts of heavy drinking after suffering through crap that is somehow considered a social phenomenon, you'll find that the book gives off a great glow when put under the flame of a propane blow torch.
Don't think of it as burning a book- that's giving it too much credit. Think of it as burning a paper bag full of dog crap. After all- it is just paper filled with s***.