The Kickstarter Generation, Prose Edition

by evanmcmurry

Today in savage book reviews:

It is my opinion that this novel is awful, and I am aesthetically or philosophically opposed to it. Likely it comes from some hypocrite-lecteur-mon-semblable-mon-frere place, but Taipei brought out all of my conservative instincts. Only a real codger would say this, but if this is the output we can expect from one of our bright young things, we’re fucked.

Unsurprisingly, the actions of a “web-savvy It writer” correspond suspiciously with those of a con man:

In July 2008, Lin sold six shares of “Richard Yates” online. The winning bidders gave him $2,000 each in exchange for 10 percent of the domestic profits that come from “Yates.” As he says with a laugh, “If it doesn’t make very much, that’s their loss.”

[snip] In early November 2009, Lin held an “experimental contest” on his blog that invited users to bid a certain amount of money via Paypal — any amount they chose — on a prize package of Tao Lin goodies. The catch: Lin’s prizes would go to the highest bidder, but entrants would not get their money back if their bid lost. Lin posted a video that showed off the prizes: A “unique drawing of a Sasquatch holding a hamburger,” which he notes has the “crying hamster stamp of authenticity” (a small doodle Lin puts on all his artwork and also signs books with); a Tao Lin T-shirt; an unpublished draft of a short story; an error-filled galley copy of “Shoplifting From American Apparel”; and a small Moleskine journal filled with Lin’s notes. “You can find out exactly what I do by getting this and looking at my to-do list,” he declares in the video. One finds all of this thoroughly ridiculous until learning that the last Moleskine notebook he sold on eBay went for $80. He is making real money off of this shwag. Lin says, “I probably make $700 a month from selling stupid things on my blog.”

Welcome to the Kickstarter generation.