What you (may have) missed on 3:AM this week:
Reviewed: Max Dunbar on John Avlon’s Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America & Marilynne Robinson’s Absence of Mind: The Dispelling of Inwardness from the Modern Myth of the Self; Karl Whitney on Ronald Porambo’s No Cause for Indictment: An Autopsy of Newark; Colin Herd on Lee Rourke’s The Canal; Andrew Coates on Michael Scammell’s Koestler: The Indispensable Intellectual; Anna Aslanyan on Tom McCarthy’s C; Joe Kennedy on Tom Raworth’s Windmills in Flames: Old and New Poems.
Interviewed: Gregory Frye talks to Craig Clevenger about Bolivia, his struggles with the new book Saint Heretic & his approach to the craft; Darran Anderson & Lee Rourke talk The Canal, boredom, Beckett, psychogeography & violence:
Darran Anderson: You’ve written about your fascination with boredom, how people are afraid of it and don’t fully explore it and the possibilities therein. I was thinking of this recently regarding offshoots of boredom, clichés for example and how they’re dismissed when in fact their origins are often fascinating. What your writing suggests is that when you look at boredom from the right angle it becomes a thing of intrigue and reveals a great deal about the human condition for want of a better word, would that be a fair assessment?
Lee Rourke: It’s basically a new phenomenon – only about 200 hundred years old. Boredom is inextricably linked to modernity. It is a modern thing. This has to be linked to technology, the fact that technology is leaving us behind, waiting for us to use it. This must be the reason we are becoming increasingly more bored.
But you’re right, I agree, boredom reveals to us the gaping void we are so afraid of. Now that God is dead all we have is technology. Technology once afforded us the privilege of becoming God ourselves, but now technology has surpassed us. We are left paralysed, motionless and lost. No amount of gadgets, holidays, recreational drugs and spiritual awakenings with help to alleviate this underpinning fact. We seriously don’t know what to do with ourselves. This is the crippling nature of boredom: it reveals to us our finite, limited, meaningless lives – and we can’t handle that.
I suppose it’s how we choose to look at this that is the important thing. I would rather try to embrace boredom full-on than try to fill my life with things in order to keep it at bay.
First posted: Sunday, July 25th, 2010.