A New Dawn
INSTAR BOOKS invites you and your fellow GUESTS OF QUALITY to the official launch party at The Gallery at LPR.

Enjoy the decadent, synaesthetic reading stylings of:


and musical guests:

Learn the secrets of their launch title, The Black Emerald by Jeanne Thornton, and witness the prototype Wunderkammer Seed that will transform the world of publishing! Take a complimentary copy of their catalog zine to see what they are planning! And above all, come meet the plucky young publishers of INSTAR BOOKS, a partner of O/R BOOKS! Drink with them, dance with them, have whispered conversations with them in awful neon alcoves, and learn about how they will change ALL THE PUBLISHING ASSUMPTIONS UPON WHICH YOU RELY, SINNER.

Business! Pleasure! Which is this?? How will you know?! Forget ?knowing!? Come and join them for an evening of readings, music, and transactions, out here in the darkness!

Tuesday, August 5th at 7:00pm
The Gallery at LPR
158 Bleecker St.
New York, NY

Posted by kevin on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 01:04:07 -0400 -- permanent link

The Moderators of Popular Subreddits Should Be Elected
I have been using Reddit for about five years now. I think it is neat. I have used it as a site to promote literature videos, I have made whole short stories into individual subreddits, I have even encouraged other people in elite NYC media positions to consider it as a valuable tool when it comes to finding and promoting interesting content.

The users of Reddit are great. The only problem is that it has grown far too big for the moderators who "squatted" on popular subreddits years ago and now wield massive, unearned influence over subjects which they do not comprehend and do not deserve to curate.

Reddit is trying to position itself as a trustworthy source of news and information, as a "democratic" source of internet crowdsourcing. Reddit creator Alexis Ohanian is running for President of the Internet right now under the platform that he is "making the world suck less." Even President Obama sat down for a reddit AMA just last month.

But power corrupts.

Case in point, here's something that happened to me today.

Last night, I came home to my neighborhood in Jackson Heights and found a huge mob gathered in the street in front of huge projectors where they were all watching the presidential debates together. I thought it was cool so I took a couple of pictures.

I shared the pictures with my Fiction Circus audience on Facebook, and the response was so positive that I shared the picture on the "politics" subreddit, a subreddit with two million subscribers and a pretty vibrant and active discussion culture.

The post was crazily successful. In a few hours, I had hundreds of upvotes. I went to work (I am working right now as a cold caller for 1199-SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, doing "get out the vote" work), and when I left, the submission had over a thousand upvotes and seemed to be gaining even more momentum.

One poster even said the picture gave them chills.

People were proud to see Jackson Heights reprented so positively. They were proud to see the democratic process in action. They were proud to see true diversity and real political interest, which is exactly what I was proud of when I stumbled onto the scene in my neighborhood. You can read all the comments yourself, because I saved the link:


But when I got home from work, the post was gone from the politics page of reddit altogether.

I was confused. I thought there had been some mistake. I sent a message to the moderators:

"Hey, why did my post get cut from the page? It seemed like people really liked it and then all of a sudden it was gone."

Here was the only response I got, from a moderator with the handle "davidreiss666":

"We don't allow pics."

I checked their policies. It says the don't allow images, but I have certainly seen pictures on the reddit politics page before. The images restriction is there to stop memes. Keep in mind, this was a HIGHLY popular post and was about to make it onto the front page of reddit itself, "THE FRONT PAGE OF THE INTERNET."

"It doesn't say that anywhere," I wrote back. "It says you don't allow "images," unless they are infographics or cartoons. How do I report you?"

"Images and pics are the same thing. And neither is wanted here. Go away."

Clearly I was dealing with someone for whom power was a neat, new drug.

"Now you are harassing me," I wrote back. "Seriously. How do I report you? I am logging this. You know I am the editor of a magazine, right? Obviously that post was wanted by a few thousand people until it was unceremoniously censored."

Instead of receiving a civil reply, the little motherfucker simply banned me from r/politics altogether. I got a message that said:

"You've been banned from posting to r/politics: Politics."

And then he sent me this:

"You are not welcome here. We have rules. If you don't follow them, we will remove the submission. You are rude, and not welcome in this subreddit anymore."

So I wrote back:

"I am writing a fun article about you. You will see it tomorrow!"

SO. In a nutshell, I posted a picture of people from my neighborhood gathered in the street to watch the presidential debates.

I posted it to r/politics.

It was a successful submission. It was a wildly successful submission. It was the most successful reddit submission I have ever contributed.

It was deleted by one lone moderator named "davidreiss666."

When I asked why, and asked for some adjudication, I was banned from the politics subreddit altogether. The moderator considered my completely understandable frustration to be "rude."

I want "davidreiss666" removed from office. I don't want to take his place, but I want him removed. If I can be summarily banned for little to no reason, then at the very lest "davidreiss666" deserves a referendum on his or her competence.

Who's with me???

Posted by miracle on Thu, 18 Oct 2012 01:04:07 -0400 -- permanent link

Hot Text and Miracle Margins

Recently, I have been doing a lot of sitting around reading long articles on the internet, thanks to my new job as a cold caller.

I have noticed something while reading these long articles. Long articles generate lots of intriguing discussion and commentary, but this commentary is unpleasant to read because it comes after the article and you don't know which statements or ideas in the article have provoked controversy until after you are done reading.

The human need to "digress" is not accounted for.

Comments are like a press-conference after the fact instead of a simultaneous, sideways conversation. It is fascist and does not really mimic the way we interact with text, given infinite possibility.

I don't think the "standard unit" of a work of prose is the sentence. I think it is probably the paragraph. Paragraphs can be long or short, but they contain a full idea by definition and are the equivalent of how much a person can say in one burst while chatting before they must take a sip of coffee or lean back in their chair and cross their legs.

Comments inserted after each paragraph would be disorienting without some way to hide them. You also need to know that they are there without looking at some number. So here is what I am proposing:

Each paragraph of a work of text should become a button. When you click the paragraph button, the paragraphs split open, revealing the comments between them that relate to that paragraph, and also allowing you to comment yourself. These are "miracle margins." Additionally, ala Reddit, one might also be able to like or dislike each individual paragraph, and also share each individual paragraph via various other social networks.

When the paragraph is shared, it becomes a link that refers back to the text as a whole. People love to share articles on Facebook, for instance, by merely using a pullquote as an explanation.

But here's the cool part. The density of comments -- or, perhaps, the amount that each paragraph is liked -- will be signified by a change in color intensity that can be turned on or off. This is "hot text."

Here is what I imagine this would look like ("hot text"):

The difference in color on these paragraphs signifies a difference in the amount of comments. The more comments there are, the darker the paragraph.

And then if you clicked on one of these paragraphs, this is what you would see ("miracle margins"):

Also, there would be buttons that would let you share this paragraph via your favorite silly social media platform. Imagine that they are there.

I think this will work exceptionally well for long-form and short-form journalism, and I also think it will be a good idea for ebooks.

Each ebook will have a webpage. This webpage will host all the comments about this book from every reader who has paid for access. These infinitely dense comment trees can be easily hidden, and the colored hot text can be turned off if it is distracting. These public margins are BETWEEN paragraphs, not to the side, and comments can be hidden like Japanese sliding screens.

Additionally, the moderators of specific books (authors? English professors?), like the moderators of Reddits, will be able to screen and delete comments, flagging them as spam or as inappropriate.

And here is the beautiful part, as far as making money goes:

Like Reddit, the authors of books will be able to sell ads in between these public margins. Any text could be monetized this way. The ads would not detract from the original text since you would only see them if you clicked a specific paragraph to see what people were saying about this paragraph.

Anyway, that's my idea. Feel free to steal this idea if you want, if you think you have the capacity to make this happen.

I would use Kickstarter to get this idea off the ground, but I am extremely ambivalent about Kickstarter.

Posted by miracle on Wed, 01 Aug 2012 17:36:51 -0400 -- permanent link

The Poetry of Bruce Lee

Since there is still no YouTube literature category, I had no choice but to unleash the poetic fury of Bruce Lee in the "Autos & Vehicles" category, where his unrivalled poetic power will only do harm to unfortunate inanimate objects, like tanks and armored personnel carriers.






For a detailed analysis of Bruce Lee's poems, check out this article from "The Rumpus," by Dave Landsberger

Posted by miracle on Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:27:54 -0400 -- permanent link

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