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The interesting genius Crane Grey opened his commonplace book and began transcribing his brilliant daily introspections. The afternoon light was nothing to note particularly. The shadows cast in the hazy corners of his cold water flat overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge were also unremarkable. However, there was this little green object in the corner that was worth describing in excruciating detail. Also there was a guy next door who was silly. But none of that was really to his purpose, for he meant his writings to reflect his inner psychological state, which was very interesting. He had these brilliant ideas about things, which, if anybody ever knew what they were, would be sure to horrify them, even though nobody did ever know what they were. And he was really neurotic, always worrying about stuff and being scared of stuff, but that just added to his genius and made him more interesting. Also, he had inner demons, which were quite mean, frequently going through the considerable trouble of bringing him to his knees. And contradictions? On the one hand he would think one brilliant thing, but on the other hand he would think quite the contrary interesting thing. Plus, he was eccentric and wore interesting clothes. This was the mind of the interesting genius, Crane Grey.
He put down his commonplace book, satisfied with his dayís work, and began doing other interesting things, like drinking Pepsi.
Date Written: February 18, 2004Comments:
Author: Ewan Snow
Average Vote: 2.8333
02/27/2004 Will Disney: Yep - he seems pretty interesting. I'm glad this one is 'untitled'.
02/27/2004 anonymous (3):
02/27/2004 Will Disney: that anon was me - just doing some quick testing. sorry for the 3. i mean i liked it, but i didn't love it. maybe it shoulda been a 4.
02/27/2004 Jon Matza (2): Ok, here we go. So this guy believes everything he thinks and does is gold, and we're meant to share the author's contempt for this (conveyed a little too easily by the repetition of 'interesting', 'genius' and 'brilliant'). But I don't see what he's actually guilty of, except for drinking Pepsi, living in Brooklyn and writing about an unspecified green object instead of the afternoon light. So what? If we saw him write or act pretentiously it might be amusing/interesting, but we're supposed to just swallow that he's a wanker because the author says so. True, no doubt, but not effectively conveyed here. And this sentence is disgraceful, even as a parody of someone's idea of himself: "Also, he had inner demons, which were quite mean, frequently going through the considerable trouble of bringing him to his knees." Come again? And why is the book 'commonplace', for christ's sake?
02/27/2004 Craig Lewis: Where exactly is this "cold water flat overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge"? Is it in the Woolworth Building? Cadman Plaza? Does author have the faintest idea what apartments go for, on either side of the East River, in the vicinity of that bridge? How can we be expected to accept your psychological realism when your geographical realism is so off?
02/27/2004 qualcomm: i didn't write this tripe, but matza: commonplace book
02/27/2004 anonymous (2): This short is not very good, but I just let it go up because I hadn't come up with another by last night. Matza, yes, the problem with it is that its facile mode of contempt has no meat, as you say. (Although I would maintain that drinking Pepsi is not cool.) As Feldspar's link probably points out, a commonplace book is like a journal, scrap book, etc. often kept by poets or other douche bags of old. As for the real estate, it's on the Manhattan side and hasn't existed for forty years. The short was a vague reference to Hart Crane, who lived in just such an apartment, and whose immaculate poetry has a certain grave earnestness that I always found silly. Although, I certainly like any of his poems better than this short. What can I say?
02/27/2004 Dylan Danko (2): Why would people be horrified by his brilliant ideas? Are they also, scary??
02/27/2004 anonymous: Matza, I missed what you said about the inner demons part the first time I read your comment. You're crazy. That's one the only funny line in there... "Also, he had inner demons, which were quite mean, frequently going through the considerable trouble of bringing him to his knees." Did you not take it as a joke because the rest of it was weak? Or is it just not funny?
02/27/2004 anonymous: Danko: Yes, they're terrifyingly brilliant. (Note that this is an explanation, not a defense.)
02/27/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: I was just about to ask if you were making fun of Hart Crane, author. I'm a little resentful that you didn't let me show off this knowledge. We'll see how that effects your score.
02/27/2004 anonymous: 'Effects' is a noun, not a verb.
02/27/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum (4): Yeah, I actually did think that inner demons line was funny. I also liked the silly guy next door. I'm at a loss as to how to rate this. Matza makes some good points, but I did find it amusing, even in its sloppy approach. Ah what the hell. 4 will do it.
02/27/2004 anonymous: Maybe I should have made this about Crane Gray's brilliant suicide, as Hart and Spalding were both boat jumpers. That's what made me think of this stupid short in the first place...
02/27/2004 anonymous: anon_b, "effects" are a noun. Jimson: This isn't sloppy. It is precisely as intended. It just doesn't work. The idea was to use only vague terms to describe his genius. Afternoon light is specific, he's not interested. Shadows are specific, he's not interested. Green object is vague, he's interested. "Brilliant ideas" is vague. "Worrying about stuff" is vague. "Inner demons" is vague. "Contradictions" "brilliant thing" and "interesting thing" are all studiously vague. "Interesting clothes, vague. Pepsi is specific!
I'm not arguing that this works, but it's not because of sloppiness. This is carefully constructed crap!
02/27/2004 anonymous: I hate to comment endlessly on my own short, but what the hell. Matza, I think you may have misread this, unless I misread your comment. The speaker isn't saying Crane Gray is a wanker. He's actually saying he's an interesting genius. The fact that he is only saying so in the vaguest of terms and providing no evidence was supposed to be the joke. Not that the joke works, but is that how you read it, or no?
02/27/2004 Dylan Danko: brilliant ideas isn't vague because they're scary ideas, terrifyingly so. In fact, i want to put them out of my mind...but i can't
02/27/2004 anonymous: Ummm...
02/27/2004 anonymous: 'Effects' in quotes, referring to the word itself, is singular, hence the 'is.'
02/27/2004 anonymous: Yes, very good, anon_b, except that I was joking.
02/27/2004 anonymous: Author: I'm not quite sure I know what you're driving at in this short. Can you go over it again?
02/27/2004 Ewan Snow: Okay, let's take it from the top. This brillian genius guy...
02/27/2004 anonymous: Make your jokes funnier next time. Douche.
02/27/2004 anonymous: Make your comment less idiotic. And yourself less fat.
02/27/2004 anonymous: It's clearly my fault that you couldn't see that '"effects" are a noun' wasn't serious, right?
02/27/2004 annebot (3): A tad douchy... tee hee
02/27/2004 anonymous: You mean, 'phat.'
02/27/2004 anonymous: does anyone know where i can get some bones?
02/27/2004 Jon Matza: Either I misread it or you miswrote it. Are you sure you're conveying what you intended? Based on these ever-evolving explanations I'm a little skeptical you knew what you intended. I'm not just saying this to be critical - I was quite confused by your comments, esp. "The fact that he is only saying [that Crane's a genius] in the vaguest of terms and providing no evidence was supposed to be the joke". I still don't get it. Really I don't - I'm not just being disparaging. I also don't get what's funny about the demons line. And why not just call him Hart Crane in the short? Afraid someone's going to sue your pseudonym? Explain away if you like, but this one goes in the shredder.
02/27/2004 anonymous: Fat, referring to obesity, is singular, hence the "F."
02/27/2004 Jon Matza: I stand corrected about the commonplace book though.
02/27/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: Now I want to take two stars back. What was I thinking?
02/27/2004 Jon Matza: p.s. If this is indeed carefully constructed crap by a good writer, my apologies. I've noticed it's hard to make this approach work now that a) there's an anonymous system and b) there are genuinely bad writers in the authors section. That is, people are now forced to assume that faux bad writing is genuinely bad.
02/27/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: He didn't call him Hart in the short because he wanted to make it some cute inside thing--thus rendering it literary. Honestly, my four star rating was generous. Three might have been okay. All the impotent explanation kinda puts you at one, author.
02/27/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: I think I should clarify that I actually did think that you had written this the way you did purposefully. By "sloppy approach" I simply meant that the style made it sound kind of incidental--"worrying about stuff and being scared of stuff" is informal. And there's the vagueness that you pointed out below. I did find this amusing at first, but I think the explanation makes you sound defensive, even if you are saying that it's crap. Somehow I don't think you really believe that when you go through the trouble of defending it. If you don't think it works, perhaps you should just cut your losses in move on. In the meantime, on the off chance that some dimwitted reader like myself might enjoy something about it, it might be polite to refrain from squeezing the joy out of the experience.
02/27/2004 anonymous: Yes, it is carefully constructed crap. Yes, I should have just named him Hart Crane. But my explanations haven't evolved at all. I've been saying the same thing all along: it's not very good. I gave it two stars! I do think, however, that you misread it, and assumed it was unintentionally stupid, when in fact its problem was that it's simply not that funny and repeats the same joke over and over. For instance, lines like "and he was really neurotic, always worrying about stuff and being scared of stuff" you seemed to react to with a "show, don't tell" argument, when you said, "If we saw him write or act pretentiously..." But that's precisely the joke. I mean, that line is merely a joke about telling, and moronically redundant telling at that. I canít say I blame you for missing it; I guess I probably would have assumed the worst as well. Anyway, to sum up, you're wrong when you say this short is no good, whereas I'm right when I say the exact same thing.
02/27/2004 Mr. Pony (3): I get it. I kind of like it, even.
02/27/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: Exactly my point, Pony. sheesh.
02/27/2004 Jon Matza: I'll know what to believe when I find out who wrote this. In any case, it's a good example of how the anonymous system takes some of the fun out of reading shorts.
02/27/2004 qualcomm: oh, can it, matza. if you can't tell that texxx didn't write this, something is wrong with your brain.
02/27/2004 qualcomm: and furthermore, i would argue that if someone uses an intentionally bad device, be it stylistic or content-specific, and you can't tell that it's good anyway, then the short has failed, no matter who wrote it. e.g., my triumph of childishness. it really doesn't matter if the person who wrote it is as dumb as he sounds, because it'd be funny either way. dig?
02/27/2004 Phony Millions: Interesting, this whole question about us knowing if a short is purposefully written in a faux-crappy style, or whether it's really just crappy. I mean if it's crappy, shouldn't it be obvious, and if it's parodying crappiness, shouldn't that be obvious? I got that this was not outright crappy, that the author was working in a certain ironic self-aware mode, and some parts were funny. But I also sensed the author's own self-admitted bad faith in his short, already in the short itself. I would be between a three and a four on this but won't vote.
02/27/2004 Phony Millions: Jeez, Feldy - you stole my thunder as I was writing that last post, fucker!
02/27/2004 Phony Millions: feldy, what kind of creative space were you as you wrote your 'poopopalis' short that led you to consider 'assy' as a viable adjective? I want some of what you got man.
02/27/2004 Ewan Snow: As should be obvious by now, I wrote this. Jimson: as you know, I rarely comment on my own shorts, because I also think defending one's own shorts is weak. I usually just run my shorts up the flag pole and see who salutes! I really didn't intend to defend, it just seemed that everybody was misunderstanding it, bad or not. Anyway, from now on, I'll keep it zipped...
02/27/2004 anonymous: You defended it because you were embarrassed by it.
02/27/2004 Jon Matza: This has been edifying. No hard feelings, except mine towards all of you.
02/28/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: Anon B, if I have the caljones to make comments to this short under my real name, then certainly you should. You cunt.
02/28/2004 Jimson S. Sorghum: oops. I meant anon d, but I guess the same could apply to all of you.