Friday, February 20, 2009

Sam McPheeters on Updike


I still haven’t made my way through all the tributes to John Updike in the New Yorker, let alone everywhere else, but one of the more interesting ones I’ve come across is by Sam McPheeters, of Born Against/Men’s Recovery Project/Dear Jesus/Vermiform/Montel Williams/punk/art/etc. fame. It’s here on his blog, which I recently discovered and have been enjoying. (Although somehow I miss the good old fashioned clip art.)

This part stopped me:

I’m guessing that most writers who read Updike’s books cannot help but be spooked by his depth of field, and/or absurdly prolific output. His fiction and non-fiction [...] hold, for me, the same unnerving quality as Bruce Lee action sequences, or certain Queen songs, or footage from the Mars rovers; all share a precision that seems beyond the reach of humans. At his best, his fiction felt like reportage from an existing reality. I sometimes had the impression he was toying with his readers, dumbing down, and would occasionally open up his internal throttle only for his own amusement.

Somewhere I still have the handwritten Vermiform mail-order note from Sam, in which he answered my question by saying something like “Born Against broke up [he gave the exact date here] because of us sucking.”

1 comment:

rudylandsam said...

He did a spoken word performance at Cake Shop a little while back. It may have been while you were making Manowar poses under Belizean waterfalls though.