Blake Butler

Articles by Blake Butler

  • Owning Porno Used to Mean Something, Damnit

    The internet really changed the way people masturbate. Today, if you want to see someone naked you just press the buttons and poof, there’s a boob. But as a teenager I remember thinking of pictures of naked women as a kind of secret relic, something you had to search out, anticip…

  • If I Can’t Be Brain Damaged I Don’t Want to Read

    When I was a kid my primary goal in life was to find a book that was alive. Not alive in the human sense, but like a thing that would send me to a place not otherwise accessible on Earth. Ed Steck's latest novel, The Garden, comes close to that place.

  • Anyone Who Isn’t Dead Is a Witch

    Why isn’t everything more messed up? Everything is always the wrong kind of messed up. I want a shitload of witches on my stoop with some candy and some diagrams of the insides of human bodies. That stuff is still out there, it’s just not easy to find.

  • It's Time to Rethink the Crime Genre

    Everybody loves stories about crime, particularly murder, and the uncanny rituals and oddities that go along with any profane act. It’s so effective as source material that most books or shows don’t bother to play with the form itself at all. I've highlighted some recently releas…

  • Hill William Sings Ghost Country

    Writers are traditionally very bad singers, but author Scott McClanahan is an exception to this rule. I’ve watched him silence a whole bar full of drunkards by belting out a spontaneous a cappella number more than a few times. Now his musical prowess has found a home alongside hi…

  • American Art Needs More Holes

    The biggest hindrance to American art is the inability to see anything outside our own walls. We’re proud of being a “melting pot,” but when it comes to culture not inherently American, it’s hard to convince us that we should care. Thankfully, institutions like Action Books are p…

  • An Interview with Richard Garfield, Creator of Magic: The Gathering

    If you’ve ever played Magic: The Gathering, odds are high that you were at some point obsessed with it. Or at least I was, along with millions of others, both as a dorky teen and recently again as a ridiculous adult. A few days ago I got the chance to speak with its creator, Rich…

  • Future 'Harper’s' Index of America

    Numbers are fucked. Numbers know more about America than America knows about America. It’s like our whole existence is a string of digits some dork fantasized in his sleep and accidentally whipped into creation. By my calculations and with a head-nod to the 'Harper’s' Index of th…

  • The Uncanny Puzzles of Jesse Ball

    I bought Jesse Ball’s first novel, Samedi the Deafness, in 1997 based entirely on the book jacket’s description, which compared it to Hitchcock, Kafka, and David Lynch. His latest novel, Silence Once Begun, expands upon the meditative, eerie ground he’s already esta…

  • Whoops, I Like Pro Football

    This season I realized that what I used to think of as a bunch of meat slabs running around on a field is actually a highly nuanced competition, featuring insane nerds with an arsenal of some of the most athletically ridiculous people on Earth at their disposal.