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Pairing: The Phantom Menace & The Force Awakens

The latest installment of the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, picks up the story thirty years after Return of the Jedi left our heroes triumphant against the evil forces of the Empire and the Dark Side. It's more of a soft remake of A New Hope, than a true sequel, echoing a lot of the original Star Wars movie's character designs, settings, and story beats. Despite these similarities with A New Hope, a better pairing for The Force Awakens is actually The Phantom Menace, a movie that fans of the series are right to hate. Like The Force Awakens, The Phantom Menace attempted to revive a long-dormant franchise. It was the first movie in the series in close to twenty years. But something w

As Soon As You Drive It Off the Lot

It's 2016, and for the first time in my life, I know how to drive a car. This is a really late-in-the-game change for me, and I'm not entirely sure what it means. Most of my life has been spent outside of cars. Not driving has affected every aspect of my life. It's definitely shaped me as a writer. Writers need to read, and most of the reading I've done has taken place on public transportation. It was just organic. For a long time I lived far enough away from the city and rode a slow enough train line to give myself more than two hours of subway reading time each day. It became a meditation for me. A subway commute has so many stimuli, you have to go somewhere else when you're riding, unless


A bad translation is always worse than a bad adaptation. Part of this is codified in the truism "the movie is never as good as the book." The corresponding phrase that relates to translation—"It's better in the original *"—insinuates that both the version you read, and you for not knowing that language, have failed.

Pairing: David Foster Wallace & Kanye West

For the last few days (and a lot earlier than that too) Kanye West has been in the news. Starting with a tweet last week ("BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!") and ending with the release and almost immediate withdrawal of his new album The Life of Pablo, even long-time fans of his brand have found themselves at odds with the media icon. David Foster Wallace has also been in the news since his seminal work, Infinite Jest, is turning twenty years old this month. And also because somebody just made a bong out of their copy of it. This pairing of Kanye West and David Foster Wallace accentuates the similar tones between the two artists. Both possessed outsize personalities that overshadowed/outshine

Blog Voice

So far my blog voice has been my impersonation of what I think a blog sounds like. And for me that has meant a voice that is trying to "publicly journal." Mostly, it feels like I'm wearing the genre on my face like a mask made out of another journal's face. Gross. The Ta-Nehisi Coates quote relates to my whole blog performance. I'm not going to lie, I came late to the blog game. It's probably the least effective way to communicate to an audience. But in some ways it's still an attractive idea. I like that I have more room here than anywhere else I write publicly. I like that I know no one is looking. It feels, counter-intuitively, like the more dangerous thing to do. Probably because I’m wri

Unused Trailer Footage

A lot of it looks like this. So far, my heart is intact. We did film a lot of floating garbage: it was the day after a big rainstorm washed over the city and flushed all the sewage out into the water. The sea was still high, and the waves were creating a mist that washed over the whole port. It had this acrid, metallic smell. I turned to the person filming with me, a stone Tel Avivi, and asked her if that smell bothered her. She shrugged her shoulders. "That's the smell of the ocean." "That's not what the ocean smells like," I said. "That's pollution." The most family-friendly beach in the city is the closest one to where we had this conversation. I know, it's where I go with my kids. It's n

Extreme Close-Ups

The Voyager Record has a trailer, and if you can't already tell, it's kind of my favorite thing right now. A lot of this footage was shot by me using my phone's camera in and around Tel Aviv. My sister-in-law, who directed the film, made fun of me for my almost-exclusive use of extreme close-ups. But she pointed out that it makes sense: The Voyager Record is sort of an extreme close-up itself. I think being far-sighted has something to do with my framing. I can't see as closely as the camera can focus. Looking at these objects in sharp definition up close is another foreign world for me, made possible through the mechanism of video recording. Voyager's mechanism makes seeing us possible too.

A Little Bit More on Misreading

What I was talking about when I mentioned Misreader featuring misreads and getting things wrong doesn't have anything to do with Harold Bloom. I think his idea of writers and artists misreading each other in linear procession A to B is romantic, and good story-telling, but as I see it misreading is endemic to the act of reading on the language level. For instance, is the photoshopped image below a picture of young Harold Bloom or Ludwig Wittgenstein with a glandular problem?

Hardly Heard

This is the first post of a blog that went wrong. The original idea for Misreader was a lit website, something that I could share with other writers who wanted or needed a space to talk about books or art or music or life in general, but with a catch: none of the ideas or reviews or posts would be allowed to hold up to scrutiny. Misreading would be a requirement of the exegesis. "Getting it wrong" like the subtitle says. In keeping with that ethos, I never did much to get Misreader off the ground. After I got in contact with a few writers I dragged my feet and never bothered to start the thing—at least not as the group blog I had in mind. Back in 2013 The Voyager Record release date was stil

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