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I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams Hardcover – April 6, 2012
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"Whether writing about a severed head, toy gun lust, Lady Gaga, the Pope, Facebook, or Madonna's big toe, Dery indefatigably explores those dark corners of our collective, subconscious thoughts. [...] [A] masterful mash-up of personal history, literary study, and philosophical rumination..." - Kate Walker, Notes for Headstones
"Dery wants to turn society over and shine some light on the dark, crawly things growing underneath it---and us."
[T]hese short, sharp, well-turned pieces...will make you look at the world in a whole new and rewardingly disturbing way."
- Deborah Sussman, Phoenix New Times
"Do not turn squeamish from the many considerations of death that lurk within—vampires, tombs, disease, corruption of many varieties. Mark Dery’s restless and stylish essay is concerned with one thing only—what it means to be alive in America." —Richard Rodriguez, author of Brown: The Last Discovery of America
"The bebop rhythms of Mark Dery’s prose reflect an intellectual excitement that is rare among contemporary cultural essayists. Reading him is like ingesting a powerful jolt of espresso." —Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler and The Shakespeare Wars
"Always provocative, often humorous, Dery has a keen eye for absurdity, tragedy, and everything in between. " —Publishers Weekly
"Mark Dery is an intellectually challenging writer. He makes few concessions to his readers. He has high expectations...He is witty. He is amusing. He is stimulating. The essays will force you to examine ideas you more than likely have never thought about before." —Blogcritics.org
"What makes Dery such an appealing tour guide through all these bad thoughts of his is that he's right there with us, trying to answer the tough questions, and willing to turn his probing mind and eye on himself, too." —Phoenix New Times
"Mark Dery has just published I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-by Essays on American Dread, American Dreams, a long-awaited compendium of his oft-brutal, usually funny, and always-brilliant writings on the curious, bizarre, and downright dark crevices of our culture. Look no further than this new book for your next monstrous dose of Dery." —Boing Boing
"Whether you're starting your spring break or just slacking off work for another week, there's no better way to wile away your idle hours than reading through Mark Dery's new collection of essays I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts." —Reason
"Dery is willing to tackle some tough and controversial subject matter—the Holocaust ‘industry’, for example—and examine it with rigor and willingness to upset conventional or comfortable opinion and piety." —PopMatters
"Dery invokes Hunter S Thompson, but not as a prankster - rather as a stylist and satirist, in a tradition that runs from Swift through Twain and implicitly on to Dery himself." —The Word
About the Author
Mark Dery is a cultural critic and journalist whose writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, Wired, Cabinet, Bookforum, and Boing Boing, among other publications. His books include Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture; The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink; and the widely republished pamphlet Culture Jamming. He is writing a biography of Edward Gorey.
Bruce Sterling is a science fiction author whose novels include Distraction, Zeitgeist, Holy Fire, and The Caryatids.
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Top Customer Reviews
How is it that Dery is able to produce this uncanny feeling of identification? You get the sense that, while the rest of us were living the zeitgeist, Dery was holding a stethoscope to its heart. His essays are EKGs showing that our pulse goes haywire in the presence of extremes -- perversion, violence, satanism. In an introduction, Dery declares that it is "the writer's job" to "think bad thoughts": "to wander footloose through the mind's labyrinth, following the thread of any idea that reels you in, no matter how arcane or depraved, obscene or blasphemous, untouchably controversial, irreducibly complex, or preposterous on its face.Read more ›
And what of the contents of these electronic-disinformation-sea-bobbing vessels? Well, if bemused and fascinating musings on subjects as diverse as the homoeroticism of George W. Bush, how Lady Gaga stands up in comparison to previous gender-and-agenda-bender bi-curious rockers, current zombie apocalypse obsession, Dadaist spam poetry, the homosexuality quotient of the tiresome Super Bowl (Dery does not shy away from any sexual matter, straight or not), Mayan apocalypse cultists, fundamentalist religion pamphleteers, the suicide note as a literary subgenre, the fascist-identifying proclivities of Prince Harry, and on and on (you get the general hyper-eclectic-discussions gist) interest you, then you will absolutely love this book.Read more ›
I have assigned this book for every class I've ever taught as an adjunct, or at least 3-4 essays from it. They have invaluable perspective, a wit which endemic to late 19th century and early 20th century essayists (Chesterton, Wilson, Wilde, Mencken), an occasionally melancholy lyricism, and a thoroughly modern and unquestionably necessary approach to things which we all-too-often overlook in our culture—or should I say, ignore. This book pokes around in our culture's abandoned houses, as it were, and surprises us with the discomfiting realization that they have not been "abandoned" at all, but rather that we are still living within them, as if it were a mirror capable of showing us that we are in fact ghosts, haunting ourselves.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice to see someone giving a shout out to the great American band, X.Published 6 months ago by peppergomez
A walk through the sideshow of American cultural and intellectual life in the first decade of the 21st century. Fun.Published on February 17, 2013 by Kindle Customer
Fascinating, provocative and compared with books of this type - funny and remarkably jargon-free. Particular stand-outs include a deconstruction of faux-weirdo Lady Gaga and the... Read morePublished on October 9, 2012 by Hieronymus Utter Bosch
Crucial essays. Yes, you do want to understand what zombies mean, as a cultural phenomenon, and chances are your average pop critic won't be able to properly place them in the... Read morePublished on July 8, 2012 by Democritus
The Ludovico Technique is a form of compulsory deprogramming featured in both the book and film A Clockwork Orange. Read morePublished on April 15, 2012 by Ted Enik
The cover of Bad Thoughts is delicious, as is the title. And the foreword by Bruce Sterling. The writing is like poetry -- worth reading for its own sake, regardless of the... Read morePublished on April 12, 2012 by Howard Rheingold
I'll be honest: the first thing that attracted me to I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts is Mark Dery's rather poetic dedication: "To J.G. Read morePublished on April 11, 2012 by Dr Nathan
If you're one of those pain-in-the-neck smart people who see the idiocy on both sides of pretty much every dichotomy, from Democrat-v-Republican to jock-v-head, you'll like this... Read morePublished on March 30, 2012 by EricW.
If there is one impulse animating the wildly discursive essays in Dery's new collection, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts, it is a desire to reveal the gulf between received truth and... Read morePublished on March 30, 2012 by orli van mourik