Remainders on cold medicine

  • Earlier this month, I mentioned Paul Limbert Allman’s hilarious 2001 essay, “What Is the Frequency?” In it, Allman argues that Donald Barthelme bears direct or indirect responsibility for a 1986 attack on Dan Rather (in which the attackers repeatedly asked, “What is the frequency?”). Now, in honor of Rather’s retirement, Harper’s posts Allman’s piece online. Here’s an excerpt:

    It was an odd coincidence. What are the chances of finding “Kenneth” and “What is the frequency?” in any way connected to each other, outside of the mouths of Mr. Rather’s attackers? And yet here they were, inside Donald Barthelme’s book.

    The photo of Barthelme on the back of the dust jacket: a stocky fellow with a leprechaun’s face and beard, wearing a checked shirt and a leather vest, with a patch of Rorschach-style wallpaper behind his head. Was this mischievous but gentle soul the type to rough up a news anchor or hire goons to do the job?

    (Via Lizzie Skurnick, to whom we at send a million imaginary roses for her Caketrain chapbook award.)

  • Tomorrow Mark Sarvas will unveil the 3-minute (author?) interview.
  • Consumer electronics surpass books as Amazon’s largest sales category. (Via Moby Lives.)
  • The editors of n + 1 introduce their new Web policy in an open letter to their website:

    We are neglecting you, nplusonemag. You’ve noticed? Yes. It’s because you were too good. People told us so. “I like your Web magazine,” they said. “Or ‘Web-zine.’ Or is it a ‘blog’?”

    “We’re a print journal,” we said. “The print journal is epochal. The website is just for topical and weird stuff, like charts and indices. It is not a blog. We don’t comment on the New York Times Book Review. We don’t even make fun of Michiko Kakutani.”


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