Two People Show Up to a Tao Lin Reading in California, We Are Pleased

10/05/2009 4:33 PM |

We don’t like Tao Lin, at all. So I’ll admit to a little schadenfreude at this video of two people showing up to a reading of his in Petaluma, California. Lin attempts to interview one, but even that, which sounds like a great idea for saving a night, is as flat as everything else he produces.

Tao Lin at Copperfield’s Books from Melville House on Vimeo.

17 Comment

  • Maybe the worst thing about Tao Lin is the way that (from what I’ve seen; haven’t read it recently) half the commenters/acolytes on his blog post comments in his exact writing style. It’s gross and creepy.

  • if anyone at L Magazine knew how to read they would know they are lucky tao lin hasn’t killed them with his bare hands and raw talent

  • This pretty much made my day.

    Also, when I interviewed with Lauren, one of my clips was a Tao Lin bashing review. Go figure.

  • he’s a good writer. he doesn’t say too much.

  • Tao Lin absolutely infuriates you.

  • Ugh. L Magazine, as ever, proves itself the bible of recently-arrived liberal arts graduates and absolutely no one else.

  • Jenna, I agree with the second part.

  • Roje, are you saying that it’s a more mature, experienced, weathered audience of worldly literary experts who go for Tao Lin?

  • @Jesse. No, not at all. I think it’s odd that a young writer

  • Who the eff is Tao Lin?

  • Roje, the idea of referring to a blog with more than one regular author as “we” should not be weird or irritating to anyone who has ever read a blog (or even a magazine) before.

    I actually wasn’t aware that “we” visit his websites or indulge his promotional gimmicks over and over or at all. I personally had come across Tao Lin because I read, I have writer friends who read way more than I do, and he writes the sort of stuff I should really like, and was surprised by the fawning praise. Oh, and I read some stuff about how he submits previously published stories to lit mags who request that writers not do this, and says the quasi-detached lit-brat equivalent of “those are YOUR rules, mom and dad, not MINE!!!!” when they call this out as, you know, inconsiderate. I checked out those links, because apparently I missed out on all of our extensive Tao Lin bashing, and found two really short bits, one of which was mildly complimentary. Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me.

    Do we need to get into the irony of posting a blog comment saying “nobody cares what you think”? And I’m not saying you shouldn’t post a comment; just that “nobody cares” is a slippery slope.

  • Oh Jesse, you are young. To read a blog post, and criticize a blog post, and engage in debate over a blog post

  • Good thing nobodycaresandyou’releavingsothere; otherwise, you might sound, you know, really immature.

  • yes, the L magazine is for Manhattan-based college students/recent grads and folks who don’t stray far from Manhattan or the pathways of yellow cabs. no, tao lin is not particularly groundbreaking, but his works represents enough of a sea change for L that it threatens their business model and readership. Tao Lin is only a challenge for media outlets too steadfast in their dated business models to wrap their brains around him. I see fear of change in Tao Lin’s modest and minimal change of outlook. More generally, though, I see the weakness and fragility of these sorts of media outlets.

  • Speaking as an older author (about 35 years older than your target demographic), I can say that this happens to everyone, including some writers who are very popular and famous indeed.

    This is a rite of passage for this young man, who, if he’s like me and my older friends, will use it years from now when authors get together and swap “worst reading” or “fewest in the audience” stories.

    There are a hundred readings for a low turnout. Weather can be a big factor; I once was invited to read in a library in a town (and I was being paid $250 and put up at the biggest resort hotel in the area) and my arrival in town coincided with a heavy thunderstorm alert along with possible hail and a tornado warning. Two people and the library staff showed up.

    A sporting event in town, a popular episode of a TV series, a competing event with a famous person, poor publicity on the part of the venue or publisher (you would be surprised at how often the wrong date is printed — this has to have happened sometimes in all your L Magazine listings of events), etc., can affect turnout.

    I don’t know this author and I’m not interested in seeing in the video but it seems unfair to take this as a representation of his popularity. What’s different is that someone never was there – it wasn’t possible when my books were published in the 60s, 70s, 80s or 90s, except when a local TV station covered the event – for someone to videotape the poor turnout.

    But ask any author and she will tell you the same story: this happens to everyone who writes books and goes to bookstores, libraries or other places for a reading or lecture.

  • Oh dear. I can see I wrote “readings” instead of “reasons” in the third paragraph and my syntax got tangled at the end of the penultimate paragraph. Chalk it up to my age.

    There is nothing wrong with Schadenfreude, of course, and it is endemic to writers, and perhaps everyone. I once had the pleasure of interviewing Alice Roosevelt Longworth (TR’s daughter, of whom he famously said, “I can either be President or control Alice; I cannot do both) when she was in her 90s and on the couch she sat by a pillow on which these words were sewn in: “If you can’t think of something nice to say about someone…come sit by me!”