the more they stay the same

Hey,  someone at the Onion A.V. Club wrote this reasonably diverting thing about Ballard.

In spite of such grotesque abandon, the clarity and concision of High-Rise are remarkable. What often gets lost in the rush to paint Ballard as some highbrow shock-monger is the brilliance and rigor of his prose; wielding inventive similes, lucid depravity, and surgically crisp dialogue, he turns High-Rise from a mad stampede of orgiastic chaos into a measured, even stately parade of terror. His detractors dismiss his detachment as dryness, but Ballard’s deadpan, hermetic voice keeps the overall tone far removed from histrionic social commentary. It’s also the ideal counterpoint to his metaphysical, phantasmagorical, and frequently savage flights of derangement. In High-Rise, all these vectors converge in ringing, horrific harmony.

Can’t say that I agree with everything it says:

None of these early books serves as the best introduction to his work, though. And, honestly, neither does the notorious Crash. There’s a reason Crash is the only Ballard book many people have ever attempted; gratuitous and redundant (which, in all fairness, are charges that could be leveled at Ballard’s whole oeuvre), it seems almost like a parody of Ballard rather than the real thing. Give it props, though, for being the work of literature that surely bears the most instances of the word “semen.” Likewise, 1969’s The Atrocity Exhibition—a proto-Crash fugue of stunning, experimental vignettes, including the legendary “Why I Want To Fuck Ronald Reagan”—is Ballard at his most lurid and demanding. There’s greatness here, but you have to work for it.

I devoured Crash in one day, in a security booth, after having read only the minor, unarresting Rushing to Paradise, years prior. What I’m saying is: that shit has momentum, Jason Heller.

Unfortunately, they still insist on reviewing vidcons.

As gaming has matured, countless arguments have broken out over whether the medium can ever transcend itself and become art. Many people will point to Heavy Rain as tipping the scales, but that’s pointless. It’s doing something far more important, by being the first game to live up to the Mature rating.

While so many other games straddle the uncanny valley to make onscreen characters look uncomfortably real, Heavy Rain’s sublime acting and conceit of omniscience probes interesting new territory by pointing out how truly mechanical we all are, constantly weighing the pros and cons of every decision, and assessing how every interaction with others makes us look.


I commented at the A.V. Club, once. A quickly-moderated post about their attempts to write about videogames running over innocent but stupid children with a car.


~ by ironcupshrug on 02/22/2010.

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