WWKD Number Twelvety-Bladoo:
What would Kafka do if he were a twenty-four-year-old hotshot contributor for this illustrious publication, beloved by all for his impossibly fascinating first-person accounts of computer-hacker conferences and CPAC? And and and what would he do if these impossibly fascinating accounts were LITERALLY impossible, and not literally in the oft-misued “he-literally-scared-us-to-death”* way, but in the correct way, in that it was LITERALLY impossible for actual life to be that interesting and thus this young hotshot contributor had to make everything up? And what if he got caught?
What I mean is…what would Kafka do if he tried to turn “In The Penal Colony” in to The Atlantic Monthly as nonfiction? And what if he got caught???????? What if Max Brod was all like, “Mein Freund, wir haben das ganze Telefonbuch gelesen, und wir haben gar keine ‘Strafkolonie’ gefunden. Die Strafkolonie existiert nicht. Was ist das? Spinnst du? Deine Karriere ist kaput!!!!!!”
Well, here’s what Kafka would have done: he never would have been in such a retarded situation. First, he wasn’t a reporter. Also, maybe I’m wroing, but as far as I know, in 1915, brutal competition amidst twenty-something superstar journalists hadn’t reached its ridiculous peak. Yet.
So yeah, what happened is that I just saw Shattered Glass and needed a forced and awkward excuse to yak about it. But now that I’ve posed the awkward and forced question, I’m curious. If Kafka had been a Stephen Glass-type fraud…say he’d plagiarized The Trial or something, and he got disgraced and fired from his job and lost all of his friends…would he have pulled a true Stephen Glass and written a semi-autobiographical novel and gotten a huge advance for it? A huger advance than The Trial got even (pssst–that’s a joke, because The Trial wasn’t published until after Kafka was dead, ha ha ha)? Huh? Wouldn’t that be frickin’ hilarious? All right.
Stephen Glass makes me feel better about every boring, crappy digest-style, overusing-the-words-“garner”-and-“roundup” piece of shit fluff piece I wrote for every magazine I ever worked for. It makes me feel better about my sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-sub-under-almost-invisible footnote status in the fabulous world of letters because at least I didn’t dupe “the inflight magazine of Air Force one.” Although come to think of it, I highly doubt The New Republic is now the inflight magazine of Air Force One. My guess is that the current inflight magazine of Air Force One is Juggs.
Now who wants mint-chip ice cream? Me, I do.
BONUS!!! BONUS!!! BONUS!!! INTERACTIVE BONUS!!! WOOOHEY!!!
Franz Kafka and Stephen Glass do have one major thing in common. A gratuitous link to anyone who can name what that is. Hooray!