I have a hard time with pop culture. Specifically, I have a hard time with intellectually rigorous examination of pop culture, because it always seems like too much thought is being given to far too weak a nexus. Shit starts to feel over-examined and nothing interesting comes of it. This complaint is at least partially horseshit, though, because some of the things I love most are deconstructions of pop culture (Watchmen, all my standup comic memoirs, all my rock-nerd books). Point is, I’m really sensitive about this kind of shit, and Barrelhouse asks everyone they interview what their favorite Patrick Swayze movie is.
My pretentious nervousness was clearly misplaced. Barrelhouse killed it. All the stories in here were great. The poetry was fantastic. It was a unique issue with a single editor, (not their usual editorial format) but from what I can gather by reading their website and the work published their, Issue 13 is nothing unusual. Great stuff.
I often find myself railing against pop culture artifacts within my own writing. I find them ephemeral and distracting, staking a story to a particular time and place without reason. This is probably borne out of the terribly narcissistic assumption that people will be reading my shit in 90 years and I don’t want to seem anachronistic, but… damn. Maybe it’s OK to mention a band name or the internet every now and then.
Recommendation: Buy it. From Barrelhouse. Support indie lit mags! Or we’ll get you when you fall asleep.
I’ve never purchased as subscription to The Paris Review, for the following reasons:
-I’m broke as hell
-They have most of their back interviews and lots of other good stuff available on their website
-There are a few other literary journals out there that are a bit more interesting and pertinent to my particular interests and proclivities
All this means is that in spite of having read tens -if not hundreds- of thousands of words online that had originally been printed in The Paris Review, I had never actually held a copy of The Paris Review in my hands. I found an older edition (Winter 2004) at Bookhounds for 1.49 and went for it.
The verdict? It’s good. Turns out one of the most prestigious and eminent publishers of literary fiction does pretty well for itself. The issue cast a very wide net thematically, featuring short fiction, interviews, nonfiction, reporting, photography, visual art, and poetry. All but a few pieces were great, and the only things that felt dated were the ads in the back after the contributor information. I’m still not sold on a subscription, although I’m far more likely to consider it… maybe when I’m a bit less broke. Did I mention I’m a Powell’s Partner? Buy a book through the link below and my blog gets 5% of your purchase and you don’t pay a cent more.