Friday, August 31, 2007

Here's a David Rees blurb for the new Saunders collection

Saunders is blogging on the page for the new collection

I think I missed some Saunders humor columns from the Guardian:
George Saunders on the new drug that blocks our pleasure receptors | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited
However, pleasure is sneaky. For example: the neuroscientist who led the study is quoted as saying, "The biggest thrill is that this drug... already proved safe for people trying to stop smoking, is now a potential drug to fight alcohol dependence." This person seems to have a bit of an addiction issue herself! She is still seeking a "thrill". Physician, heal thyself! Maybe if we gave her some of her own drug, she'd stop taking pleasure in inventing new drugs and could just go sit mutely in the garden with that formerly tea-loving lady. Or stand limply, looking indifferently at her non-drinking, non-smoking lab rats as they mope joylessly around their cage, leaning despondently against their tiny, now-closed, bar.

George Saunders: Fruit Bombs | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited
Why are Americans so inclined to blow up their food? I think it is because we're so fat. We are breaking new ground every day in terms of how fat we are. The human body is being pushed into new territory, fatwise, by us, as if we are enacting a bold experiment with the skeleton to see how much it will hold before it snaps. Ergo, subconsciously, we are angry at our food.

George Saunders: Frantic semantics | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited
I enjoy working with words. Words make meaning. Changing words changes meaning. Which comes in handy sometimes.

Say I blurt out a phrase such as "genocide in Darfur". This is problematic; if there's "genocide" in Darfur, shouldn't we be doing something to stop it? And, for various reasons, we in the developed nations don't want to stop it.

George Saunders: American psyche | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited
A recent headline indicates a number of disturbing American trends: Father Kills Bear Charging At Son With Log.

First of all, who's giving these animals logs? There's nothing in the world a respectable bear needs with a log. If that bear has a log, he has it for one reason: to kill somebody.

It's clear to any American reader that our animals are going bad. Every day there's some story about out-of-control wildlife: Mother Kills Pit Bull Mauling Son With Spatula. Or: Lover Kills Shark Swimming Towards Daughter With Spear Gun. Or: Son Stops Mountain Lion Attacking Dad Using Judo.

George Saunders: The harmonica letters | Weekend | Guardian Unlimited
It's fascinating, isn't it, when we stop and think about a particular human emotion, such as "irritation". Exactly where in the body does it reside? Is there a way to work with our irritation and not let it be our master? What, precisely, is the ultimate cause of irritation?

Difficult questions. But I can answer the last one: the harmonica.

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