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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Son of news roundup.

* Burger King is pushing the viral marketing hard lately, following up its gag body spray with a Facebook application that gives you a free hamburger for every 10 people you unfriend.

* Speaking of body spray, here's an interesting study suggesting it's not about the smell.

And a new study in the U.K...found that men who used Lynx deodorant, Axe's British-brand cousin, were seen as more attractive by females than men who used a "placebo" deodorant with no fragrance.

But: the women just saw videos of the guys in the study—they couldn't smell them. Meaning that Axe actually works by making you feel more attractive. If you feel more attractive after soaking yourself in an aerosol version of car air freshener, you may not be the most urbane man to begin with, which leads to the second part of the study's results:

Women rated the fragranced men as more attractive when the sound on the videos was off, but had no statistically significant preference when the sound was on.
* Obama to team up with Spider-Man. Which wanted criminal will he pall around with next?

* Zipcar comes to Duke. More here.

* Larry Flynt says porn needs a bailout. Via MeFi.

* Creative billboards.

* Malcolm X on a Canadian game show.

* The cell-phone novel, or keitai shosetsu, is the first literary genre to emerge from the cellular age. For a new form, it is remarkably robust. Maho i-Land, which is the largest cell-phone-novel site, carries more than a million titles, most of them by amateurs writing under screen handles, and all available for free. According to the figures provided by the company, the site, which also offers templates for blogs and home pages, is visited three and a half billion times a month.

* It took me almost another decade after graduate school to figure out what writing really is, or at least what it could be for me; and what prompted this second lesson in language was my discovery of certain remaindered books—mostly of fiction, most notably by Barry Hannah, and all of them, I later learned, edited by Gordon Lish—in which virtually every sentence had the force and feel of a climax, in which almost every sentence was a vivid extremity of language, an abruption, a definitive inquietude. These were books written by writers who recognized the sentence as the one true theater of endeavor, as the place where writing comes to a point and attains its ultimacy. As a reader, I finally knew what I wanted to read, and as someone now yearning to become a writer, I knew exactly what I wanted to try to write: narratives of steep verbal topography, narratives in which the sentence is a complete, portable solitude, a minute immediacy of consummated language—the sort of sentence that, even when liberated from its receiving context, impresses itself upon the eye and the ear as a totality, an omnitude, unto itself. Gary Lutz on the sentence, via the too-sporadically-updated Black Garterbelt.

* And will The Dark Knight win Best Picture? Eli Glasner says it just might.