Friday, August 20th, 2004
This morning, Random House ordered a brace of blogads for Nicholson Baker’s controversial new assassination fictionette Checkpoint.
Putting aside the book’s literary or political implications for a second, I’ll highlight two things.
First, we’ve now seen just about every major publisher in America advertise on blogs… and more book blogads are on the way. Second, Checkpoint’s protagonist, Jay, is (like Baker himself apparently) a fanatical reader of DailyKos.com, Talkingpointsmemo, and the Agonist.
For those of you who like to keep your cultural chronometers synchronized, blogads for a blog-reading author’s book about a blog reader seems a nicely post-modern hypertextual circuit-closing. Symbolizing… something… big or small, I don’t know.
What about the book? Although Baker’s nonfiction Doublefold is one of my favorite books and I loved his Room Temperature, I don’t like Checkpoint. Parts of the book seem deliberately absurd and/or theoretically humerous — the aspiring assassin is vehemently pro-life/ he stashes some bullets near a Bush photo so they’ll better find their mark — but Checkpoint tasted bad.