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The Immersionism Issue

Literary/i Want My Dvds

I HOPE YOU ARE ALL HAPPY NOW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY NICK ZINNERThis book right here, this is real immersionism. Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has been compulsively taking photos for the last few years, all through the speed-of-light

The World Is Flat

Thomas Friedman

A few years ago, I was sitting on a plane watching The Discovery Channel and some buffoon in a big mustache was babbling on about how great globalization was. It was only mildly annoying until these East Indians came on the screen and told him they don’t want globalization because they don’t want to see India become Americanized. Instead of listening to their totally rational arguments he told them they were wrong and moved on. Now the show had become fucking infuriating. Since when do journalists tell the people they are researching that their news isn’t newsworthy? They’re “wrong”? Who the fuck are you? Then I looked at the bottom of the screen and saw it wasn’t just The Discovery Channel. It was the Discovery/Times Channel. Of course. The idiot with the mustache was Thomas Friedman.


Cut to now and the

New York Times Magazine

is advertising his new book

The World Is Flat

with a cover story. In this idiotic piece of boomer trash Friedman argues that computers have taken over and now people in the third world can do all our jobs for next to nothing (he ignores the fact that only 5 percent of the global population has a computer). So the world has become a may-the-best-man-win Olympics where the “playing field has been leveled.” Great, Tom. Let’s lower our standards to the lowest common denominator so the biggest corporations can make the most money. According to

The World Is Flat

, if the American workingman can’t compete with people who will work all day for a small plate of beans, they can fuck off.

As long as Friedman and the rest of the yuppies at the Times can get cheap nannies, affordable lawn care, and a variety of restaurants, they could give a shit about the rest of us. What goes on in the real world is not their concern.


Bait and Switch

Barbara Ehrenreich

This review is not easy to do. Ehrenreich was one of the few boomers who actually left her ivory tower and dove into the fray. In

Nickel and Dimed

she became poor for a year and discovered it’s not only hard to make ends meet when you’re blue collar—it’s impossible. The equally brilliant

Global Woman

was a series of essays about nannies and sex workers and how globalism is affecting the female population.


Bait and Switch

, however, is a soft turd of a book. She tried to do the

Nickel and Dimed

thing but for the middle class. Problem was, she didn’t understand how that world works. Sorry Barb, immersionism is not easy for your kind, and falling off once in a while is inevitable. We appreciate your gusto, but your model was flawed. Cleaning trailers is one thing, but in an era when a resumé isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, nobody wants to hire a stranger. Of course the only jobs you got offered were commission-based sales things. That’s all I’d hire you for. Get back to the drawing board (seriously, we don’t just mean that as a flippant colloquialism, we want you to go back to the drawing board because we think your other books are great).


Down and Out in Paris and London

George Orwell

In his 1932 debut, Eric Blair lived in the gutters of London and Paris for a year. He then wrote it all up, changed his name to George Orwell, and delivered it to his publisher T.S. Eliot. Eliot said the book reeked (he actually used the word “pungent”) and refused to publish it. When it was finally released it blew the world’s mind and forever changed the way we see the poor. Shit, it changed the way we see class in general. This book is quite simply the greatest thing ever made and George Orwell is the father of immersionism.




NYC-based videographer Bill Strobeck made this day-in-the-life flick with Mark Gonzales, a.k.a. The Gonz, a.k.a. “Is he autistic, kidding, crazy, or brilliant?” This is a funny and hectic little gem of a video. Watching it makes you feel like a 14-year-old getting inspired by skaters and videos all over again.



Niger: Magic & Ecstasy in the Sahel

Sublime Frequencies DVD

Once again the Sun City Girls guys come through with the best world-music release of the month. This installment runs the gamut of Nigerian street music, from hypnotic drumming that makes you think for a minute that hippies in drum circles may be on to something, to bar bands playing guitar, bass, and drums but making them sound like completely alien instruments, this film is utterly satisfying for anyone who is tired of M.I.A. being the deepest most people go into “other” cultures.


Schism Zine Anthology

Schism Books

It’s kind of surprising to us how underanthologized New York Hardcore has been up to this point. Where are the documentary films about the glory days of the Pyramid Club? Where are the guided tours through the space that once was C-Squat? Anyway, this book is a great start. Classic interviews with Warzone, Supertouch, Agnostic Front, and tons more. It makes you want to put on a Champion sweatshirt, well-fitting jeans, and some British Knights high-tops and hang out with your crew in someone’s garage, talking about what your band is going to sound like.


I Hope You Are All Happy Now: Photographs by Nick Zinner

St. Martin’s Press

This book right here, this is real immersionism. Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs has been compulsively taking photos for the last few years, all through the speed-of-light ascent of his band, the touring, the drinking, the fellow bands, and the hotel beds. Like a good photojournalist, Zinner totally puts you in the midst of the scene. He shoots every crowd from the stage. He shoots every bed he sleeps in. He shoots the broken-down van and the tedium backstage. He shoots his bandmate Karen singing, partying, hanging out, and going nuts.


I Hope You Are All Happy Now

is the printed equivalent of what Bon Jovi was trying to do with the “Wanted Dead or Alive” video. The glamorous perils of the road, the burnout, and the moments of joyful spazzing… It’s all here.


Me Magazine

At first we were like, “So wait, it’s a magazine called


, and it’s all about one person? Each issue is just one person (or two in the case of the new issue) on the cover, and it’s called


and all their friends talk about them inside? Hawhawhaw. That’s gay!” Then we snuck it home and read it with the door locked and now we are eating the fuck out of our words.


has discovered that a great way to learn about someone is to look all around them and not just at them. That’s kind of immersionism now, isn’t it? Plus the photographs are consistently perfect and the choice of subjects has been nice. Hey,


, you’re all right after all.


Aesthetic Surgery


Now this is how you cover a topic. Exhaustively and with copious amounts of photographs. This huge book from Taschen has lots of before-and-after photos of plastic surgery, interviews with the top cosmetic surgeons from all over the planet, theoretical musings on the malleability of the human body, and lots of gory pics of chunks of cut-up noses and asses. The topic of cosmetic surgery is now closed forever—there is nothing further to say.


Bar Mitzvah Disco


Umbrella Entertainment

A thoroughly entertaining docment of bar mitzvah kitsch, mostly from the 1980s. I think this book was especially good for a goyim like me—we don’t want to admit it, but we are fucking perplexed and fascinated by Jews and love any glimpse inside their secret practices.


Wolfgang Tillmans:

Truth Study Center


Wolfgang Tillmans is, for my money, the best photographer to come out of the 1990s snapshot school. He composes still-lifes that are so natural and weird that they make you feel sad about the humanity of yogurt and socks. He also works in series, which is always good. This sturdy retrospective of recent work has a large section of his photos of cities taken from on high. They make modern urban life look calm and manageable for once. It’s really relaxing.


Mike’s Flyers

Troubleman Unlimited

Ah, here is some of that NYHC anthologizing that we’ve been craving. Mike Simonetti of the Troubleman Unlimited record label digs through his closet and finds flyers from every show you wish you could have gone to in the lates 80s and 90s. Fuck, fliers were primitive and retarded. Do you still have a stack saved somewhere in your closet?