Friday, October 1, 2010
THE YEAR TAO LIN BROKE
I am thoroughly enjoying the total blow up of 27 year old author Tao Lin. His books are awesome. He's funny as shit. He takes the piss out of everything. I caught his reading at Santa Monica BARNES AND NOBLE for which four people showed up. (Santa Monica is an old folks home, really...) He did his robot voice answer thing. It was great.
But like in all situations where some cool obscure thing bursts out into the mainstream, you kind of lose your personal stake in it when it reaches a certain level. It stops being something you can excitedly tell your friends about. They already know. They already have their opinions. When other people mention it, you just have to stand there.
Tao Lin is really a singular talent though. And it's funny to watch the mainstream media make asses of themselves trying to fend him off. Charles Boch's silly review of Lin's new book in the NYTIMES confirms yet again, how the Establishment can never really deal when something genuinely fresh and interesting pops up. Josh Ferris they can deal with. The weird Asian bro who talks like a robot, not so much.
Also, for me, I like how Tao Lin is just more genuinely outside of things. Like I love Sam Lipsyte too, they have some things in common. But Lipsyte's somehow more "in" the lit world. He's kind of part of it. It must suck for him, he probably thought, "I'm the most off beat dude on the block". But alas, he's been outflanked!
Someday, Tao Lin might get outflanked too, but right at the moment, he is in a zone. He can do no wrong. Even his worst robot mumblings seem fascinating. Which makes it fun for all the rest of us writers too. It is like a fresh breeze has blown through the whole writing world.