Archives for category: Experimental

The Atlantic Monthly used to run a column called “Word Fugitives,” where writers and readers would come together to find or create words describing something or other, often an idea or feeling with no name as of yet.

I’d like to suggest a word fugitive still at large. Here’s what it describes: a piece of art, film or music chiefly enjoyed because its artist, actor(s), filmmaker or musician is physically attractive. This doesn’t mean the artwork has no artistic merit, although that sometimes is the case. However, the person’s winsome features are enjoyed more than the art itself. Sometimes the art isn’t really enjoyed at all.

This is not the same as enjoying an already-good piece of art more because somebody’s pretty. What this fugitive word refers to is art which, if it were made by a homely person, would not interest you at all, however meaningful or well-made.

Allow me to give you an example from my own life. I find most no wave music, art and cinema completely uninteresting. However, many of the principal no wave artists were good looking in an intelligent, unsound sort of way. Look at these photos to see what I mean:

Anya Phillips (middle)

James Chance

James Chance

Lung Leg

Lung Leg

Lydia Lunch

Lydia Lunch

Lance Loud and Lydia Lunch.

Lance Loud and Lydia Lunch.

Nick Zedd

Nick Zedd

Nick Zedd

Nick Zedd, again

This is just a sample, albeit a biased one. I’m sure someone reading this finds some or all of these people hideous, but to me they look okay. In my early twenties I made a show of being interested in transgressive cinema and No New York, but I found I wasn’t so much watching these films or listening to the albums as I was scouring the internet for high-resolution pictures of Lung Leg and friends.

(Tangentially: has anyone done a study on how the attractiveness of non-mainstream artists affects their status in mainstream culture? Does the most attractive member of the movement automatically become the spokesperson in the media’s eyes? Will an artistic movement full of attractive people necessarily garner more “buzz”?)

This phenomenon goes not just for famous artists but for obscure ones as well. I’ve known maybe a dozen beautiful young artists, poets, musicians etc. in my life. In every instance but one, their art was, I’m sad to say, not very good. I didn’t know any of them well enough to see what kinds of feedback they got, but they did seem to keep up with their art longer than their less attractive peers. This was just my impression, though, and twelve isn’t a representative sample size.

Here is how I became conscious of this phenomenon. One night, in college, a friend’s band was supposed to play on the radio at 6:30 pm. I got caught up in something and only turned the radio on at 7:15 or so, cursing my negligence. This was a college radio station, and the DJ had already switched to some unlistenable indie/experimental/post-punk/feedback type garbage. I was about to turn the radio off when the song stopped and I heard my friend’s voice. It was their band, playing one of their songs.

That’s when I realized that, not only did I like the band because they were my friends, but because they were good looking kids. I had no sexual interest in them, but looking at their faces made me feel good. I misattributed this nice feeling to their music, which would not have interested me otherwise. I realized how shallow I was––a good thing to realize in college.

Dear reader, what should we call this phenomenon? Do you know of any good neologisms? I considered pulchraftsmanship, but that doesn’t fit, and it’s clunky besides. Maybe some art school veteran has already invented a term which I do not know. Maybe everyone else knows the word for this, and I’ve just embarrased myself. Oh well. Not the first time, not the last.


The following text––I don’t think I can call it poetry––is the result of combining several articles through the Lazarus Corporation’s Text Mixing Desk. The texts used were: a random essay from the Postmodern Essay Generator, The Book of Revelation (King James version) and the livejournal of a teenage girl.

Randomly-generating nonsense sometimes creates happy accidents, sometimes chance wisdom, sometimes banality. I have tried to keep the former two and cut the latter. Verb tenses and noun declensions have also been changed to make the text make more sense. I do not know why most sentences begin with a lower-case letter but I have left them as they are.


last night I went there to fell a great star. all who were really passionate wer burnt up, and all great lights from heaven burned to worship before thy feet, and to know filled me with fire. I cried with a loud voice, me, saying, amen: blessing, and glory, narrative to attack capitalism, hurt the earth and the need a cigarette every five marx suggests a blind kind of rainbow clothed with a cloud.

and I saw the seven boots learning how to scream, and fire was capitalist postcultural scorpions, and there twisted up in mine you were born with the opened seventh seal. there was silence in heaven.

and he opened the bottomless forever to university because apparantly I belong there and if that’s ‘textual nihilism’ to denote the dialectic, knew I would be a darkened earthquake.

the subject is the the four angels which are bound in the city, and I up.

Semioticist discourse. in a sense, the subject is his room during guided by voices:  of god, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou suggests the use of the postdialectic paradigm of reality to world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
after this thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee in the works of rushdie, a concept voice which I heard as it were a trumpet talking with art as a paradox.

Behold, I will make them like mike whittaker that dwell upon the earth. I know thy works, and hast found them liars: and unto the seven spirits of god, and parties and finally a shot and a half, he that sat was to rescue me from a bad trip, unto the angel of the glitter off my breasts and honestly I pretextual theory.

I saw four angels smoking at second period when plunged into chaos because of the stinkbombs and everyone mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the post-structuralist perceptions of class.

and the third angel sounded, and subject is interpolated into a lacanist obscurity class. I beheld, and heard the fifth angel scream out all the lyrics from the east, having the seal of the living heaven, so consequently I don’t know all which stood before god; I am still the angry ten year old girl in patent leather pentagrams.

and he opened the bottomless forever glued to my feet and I will be amazing, and unto the angel of the church in shall thrash metal sweaty dance parties and us to god and are not, but do lie; the shapes of the submaterialist paradigm of consensus killed, by the fire, and by that I sat doing my laundry and listening to stan getz and bottomless pit.

so I have friends we’re the best seven spirits of god, and the seven stars; I as theory that includes best couple ever, even door was opened in heaven: and I will shew thee things which must finally a reign on the earth. and I saw expensive tequila in his room and behold: we’re seriously as shit from serpents. and they sung a new song, saying, thou art denying marxist socialism, rejoice! for the name of the star is called lower east side so I can fuck servants of worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver; and a satanic ballerina had hair as the hair of women, and fire mingled with blood, and became a textual narrative to analyse and modify the sexual teenybopper paradigm of capitalist acoustic songs. I almost seek death, and shall not find it; and I saw the seven boots learning how to scream but I’m finally sleeping; and I’m going to write lions.

and thank you for caring about sea, I hate school. foucaultist smoking in school (I know you will and power, and might, be unto our god for either accept posttextual marxism that rejoice!

and the honour, and power, and might, be unto our god and myself for ever that I am sydney heather motherfucking sasanow and main tongue hath my name.

I’m going to make everything erupted into chaos behold, there come two woes more hereafter.

haha you thought I almost cried.

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