Go Back   Sonic Youth Gossip > Non-Sonics
Reload this Page Short Story Corner -- "The Swimmer"
Register FAQ Members List Mark Forums Read

 
Thread Tools
Old 02.18.2013, 02:10 PM   #1
evollove
expwy. to yr skull
 
evollove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,271
evollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's asses
http://shortstoryclassics.50megs.com...erswimmer.html

Welcome. Grab a chair. Smoke 'em if you got 'em.

For this first meeting, we'll be reading John Cheever's short story "The Swimmer." (I've posted the first link I found, but the story is not difficult to track down and may be presented more handsomely elsewhere.) And should you want to read it on paper, Cheever's short story collection was very popular when published and should not be hard to track down.

I guess the best way to start is to go around the room and get everyone's first impression of the story. What did you think of the piece? Does it deserve its status as a modern classic? Discuss.
evollove is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.18.2013, 05:36 PM   #2
!@#$%!
invito al cielo
 
!@#$%!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: mars
Posts: 28,881
!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses
i read this in college. i wasn't very highly impressed but then again i was coming from latin america so i didn't really care much for first world problems at the time (i've gone rotten since then).

i'll read it again so i can post back. fuck, it's been ages.
!@#$%! is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.19.2013, 06:47 PM   #3
!@#$%!
invito al cielo
 
!@#$%!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: mars
Posts: 28,881
!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses
okay, so, i read it. it was okay. i don't know what to make of it. i mean, i get it & all but i don't know what to say. too many words, maybe?

now, say something! maybe that will get me talking.

oh wait you asked for status of modern classic: depends on the context. for global literature of post-1920 i say no way. for american literature of the 60s, yes definitely--he could be a character in "mad men".

but in retrospect i kinda like the dream logic of it. there's more layers to it than mere realism so that's a plus.
!@#$%! is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.19.2013, 10:48 PM   #4
!@#$%!
invito al cielo
 
!@#$%!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: mars
Posts: 28,881
!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses
ps - i found you a prettier online text. enjoy.

https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=h...er_Swimmer.pdf
!@#$%! is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.20.2013, 12:26 PM   #5
!@#$%!
invito al cielo
 
!@#$%!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: mars
Posts: 28,881
!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses
on a 3 rd reread (much slower, with the nice pdf font, which sez to me that typography counts for something), i'm liking it lots more. i really had to slow down, the pace, and get into the natural cadence of his sentences, and read by ear, to get into it. dare i say delicious? yes...
!@#$%! is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.20.2013, 12:27 PM   #6
Rob Instigator
invito al cielo
 
Rob Instigator's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: In the land of the Instigator
Posts: 24,606
Rob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's assesRob Instigator kicks all y'all's asses
gonna read at lunchhhh
__________________

RXTT.net

My Comics


 


Rob Instigator is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.20.2013, 01:10 PM   #7
evollove
expwy. to yr skull
 
evollove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,271
evollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's asses
I like how it's a little "off" throughout. For example, the weather changes in unusual ways during his journey. For most of the story what's "real" or not is up in the air, but Cheever doesn't make a big deal of it.

But the reveal at the end still gets me, when we realize dude's been fooling nobody but himself.

I feel bad for him. I think the insanity that comes from trying to save social face is understandable and common. I get the hesitation to care too much about this high-middle-class guy, but when I look beyond that, I can see something like this story taking place in an African village or something.

Burt Lancaster starred in a movie based on the story:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIegoQAayFs

And here's a cameo from Cheever himself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZGQzUsnPqo
evollove is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.20.2013, 06:47 PM   #8
!@#$%!
invito al cielo
 
!@#$%!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: mars
Posts: 28,881
!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses
Quote:
Originally Posted by evollove
I like how it's a little "off" throughout. For example, the weather changes in unusual ways during his journey. For most of the story what's "real" or not is up in the air, but Cheever doesn't make a big deal of it.

that's exactly what i like the most. it's not some journalistic tale of some poor fucker gone to the dogs, but rather it operates with what i called "dream logic" (i stole that term from jp meliville's in his commentary to le samourai).

the swim begins in mid day and ends at night, but it also starts in mid summer and ends in the fall. it operates as fiction should, with dream logic, with one foot in the realm of the symbolic. which is why i loved it, in the end, after 3 tries-- i got past the dull veneer of social realism and entered the poetry.

true also re: saving face. more even so in asia (e.g. japan), the whole ronin genre is based on sustaining untenable status amid social obsolescence and economic ruin.

where i think this story strikes a chord with the american psyche though is in depicting the capacity to delete/forget/ignore disaster in the face of contrary evidence. it's a kind of perverse "positive thinking" that's been at the core of the american XXth century, both as optimism and delusion [edit: see also: willy lohman]. that streak continues unabated today in people like preznit dubya who kept saying that brownie was doing a heck of a job while new orleans drowned, or that the mission was accomplished in iraq, stupid flightsuit & all.
!@#$%! is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.26.2013, 10:59 AM   #9
evollove
expwy. to yr skull
 
evollove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,271
evollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's assesevollove kicks all y'all's asses
^ Awesome. Lots of good stuff I hadn't thought of before.

Well, cool of you to participate, but this is a little awkward, just the two of us.

Did I pick a bad story? Lame thread idea? I don't think so, but maybe.

If you want, !@#$%!, pick a story for a new thread and I'll be happy to give it a read and some thought. (Something about 3rd world problems, perhaps?) Maybe you'll pick a winner and it'll become the most popular SYG thread ever.
evollove is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|
Old 02.26.2013, 11:58 AM   #10
!@#$%!
invito al cielo
 
!@#$%!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: mars
Posts: 28,881
!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses!@#$%! kicks all y'all's asses
eh, who gives a fuck how many people talk about it. good thread and good idea. just a dead board. don't sweat it. better than have some lunatic drooling nonsense to fill space, no? besides, i've enjoyed a story i wouldn't have bothered revisiting otherwise. so thanks for that.

anyway, i'd be down with further dissecting of this story as long as it doesn't turn into useless "theory" shit. but yeah. connections are good. for fun.

thing about this story is it brought 2 things to mind: one is death of a salesman (which i mentioned) where the full psychology of these characters is fleshed out, the other was mad men. oh yeah i mentioned mad men too-- same era, same... same setting, everything, and i wouldn't be surprised that john cheever and other writers of the era were heavily read by the writers of this show.

which brings me to something else entirely. i was watching the extras on the homeland disc the other day and they interview the staff writers. turns out that while they all work together in the story, each writer sort of "specializes" in a character/issue/something in the show. for example, one was a soldier in the middle east. another grew up in the diplomatic world of washington dc. another learned all she could about bipolar disorder. etc, etc.

anyway, back to the original subject-- it occurred to me then (this isn't new, but whatever) that tv writers today (because they are on cable, because they are allowed to have their way with things) are achieving what the novel attempted to do in the past-- you know the whole discussion about the "polyphonic novel" and the brothers karamazov, right? or what joyce said (in the portrait i think) that shakespeare disappeared behind his characters.

here's the funny thing, see, that a single author could not do. that "true" poliphony, in a way-- not one person pretending to be many, but many people fighting it out on the page. i think it's fucking brilliant.

i'm trying to think of a "3rd world problem" kind of story but i don't know how they might survive in translation and it doesn't matter so much anyway and eh.. but ... hm... i don't know, i didn't sleep much last night and now i'm rambling.

ha ha, anyway-- i don't give a shit about mass participation, good conversation is all that counts. so, hm, yeah, your turn to say something, ha ha.
!@#$%! is offline   |QUOTE AND REPLY|


Thread Tools

All content 2006 Sonic Youth