David Rakoff—writer, aesthete, genius, New York devotee (the City was "the great love of my life," he wrote), exceptional reporter and observer, performer, director and incredibly kind person—died after a phenomenally unfair and incredibly prolonged series of medical travails, which rarely slowed his creative output or his deeply human black humor. In early 2009, a pinched nerve was discovered to be a malignant sarcoma, caused, he said, by the radiation treatments from the lymphoma he'd had two decades before. An incredibly complicated and ethical person, Rakoff channeled his anxieties both into crafts, making elaborate products in his incredibly organized home such as duct tape wallets, but also into a phenomenal amount of writing.
The New York TimesArtbeat blog remembers him here. Writing in the Times about "the empathy broadcast," a thing that we who have cancer experience from some who mean well, Rakoff said:
We like to think that the empathy broadcast with the swooping, downward intonation of the “aaawwww” is an evolutionary comfort; something we are programmed to welcome and offer freely ourselves. As a comment on something that has already happened, it probably works. But as an anticipatory tool, it does not soften the blow, indeed it does the opposite. It leaves you exposed, like grabbing onto the trunk of a tree for support in a storm only to find the wood soaked through and punky and coming apart in your hands. The sweetest bedtime-story delivery is no help when the words it delivers are a version of “ . . . and behind this door is a tiger. Brace yourself.”
Tonight at 7PM, I'll be appearing on a panel at the Last Bookstore in downtown LA, with the title "Truth to Power: Genre Fiction in Post-Fact America," alongside of Gretchen McNeil, Jennifer Brody, Christina Cigala, Bobby Goldstein, CB Lee, Michael Paul Gonzalez, Kate Maruyama and Samuel Sattin.
Kindle Unlimited reminds me of Netflix. You get tons of all-you-can-eat content to choose from for a monthly fee, and the overall quality keeps getting better every year. I’ve been using Kindle Unlimited for a few years, and one of the best things about it is being able to download lots of non-fiction books and […]
“[T]he virtuous & forthright Comey resembles the degenerate & deceitful Trump. Both are the main characters in their own cinematic dramas… a mindset that blinds each of them to the consequences of their actions on other people.” Adam Serwer brings the truth in this Atlantic piece on the James Comey book everyone’s losing their goddamn […]
Our world is a colorful one, and when it comes time to repaint the house or create a new design, many of us look to our surroundings for inspiration. However, matching colors from the outside world to our canvas isn’t the most precise process when we’re just eyeballing it. The Nix Pro Color Sensor removes the […]
You probably remember the Twisty Glass Blunt since we love to write about it. And you may also remember its little buddy, the Twisty Glass Mini. Well, today we’ve got a fun surprise that isn’t so little. Less isn’t always more, and on those days when you need to decompress with a good smoke, the Twisty XL […]
Another year, another iteration of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone—except this time around Samsung sought to redefine what a smartphone can do completely. Boasting a 6.2″ Quad HD+ Super AMOLED (2960×1440) infinity display, and an elite 10nm 64-bit Octa-Core Processor with 6GB RAM, the S9+ is an absolute powerhouse with a price tag to match. However, you […]