Academic journal article Hecate

"The River Ophelia": Trawling the 'Net

Academic journal article Hecate

"The River Ophelia": Trawling the 'Net

Article excerpt

Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 12:12:12 GMT +9:30 From: < > Subject: generation X and dirty criticism

'X' merely marks the spot; it is up to whoever - marketers, critics etc - to give this spot a sociospatial meaning. The 'shock/horror' at the activities of the marketers thus presupposes an alterity that never existed. I'm interested in the [generally] very negative reviews books such as The River Ophelia and Loaded have received, in this light. It seems to me that these critics dance a sort of S and M pas de deux with the text; a symbiotic 'dirty criticism' is thus born. . . . My own marketing/critical gloss on gen X is that it is fascinated with power; the sex is thus hydraulic, the swearing automatic. This is hardly new content, but now when we are talking about critical whippings *of* the text, the text's 'consent' to such operations seems ambivalent, if you ask me.

From: Date: Fri, 01 Dec 1995 13:51:56 +1000 Subject: Re: The River Ophelia

Re the mention of The River Ophelia and 'performance sex' - Justine Ettler's performance reading from her novel at Warana Writers' Week went over like a very damp and discarded tissue indeed. The sea of elderly women in floral dresses (far outnumbering the youthful listeners dressed in writers' festival black) sat placidly through all the f's and c's (and tissues), with total inscrutability (none of the usual 'mmmm' noises, standard at readings, signifying 'yes, how true and meaningful'). They clapped politely and went downstairs for a cup of tea. On the shock-value meter Ettler scored 2 out of 10.

I wonder how hip Melbourne and Sydney audiences have responded to the Ettler magic - with the same boredom at such self-indulgence?

Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 16:07:00 +0800 (U) From: Subject: Re: FWD > generation X and dir Reply to: RE > FWD > generation X and dirty criticism

I think this is spot on. The reaction of most critics seems to be 'I already did the sex-thing better when I was a youngsterin the sixties/seventies, and I am going to do the indifference/contempt thing better right now, just watch me . . . ' - and you can feel the knowing wink that is supposed to pass between critic and reader, 'cause afterall you and I both know what 'good writing' is, don't we . . . One of the things that occurs to me is that the qualities of 'indifference' are not just symptomatic of an age-group, but of our time. Wearied indifference is the thing for the privatised, payTV, nineties. But I just can't be fucked telling you how I came to that conclusion . . .

Poor Justine - I don't know if she does claim Gen-X status, but can you blame her if she exploits the labelling. What about those who exploit more familiar and at least equally as vacuous labels such as 'genius of the novelistic imagination'?

But here is some dirty lowdown gossip: when I knew her I was an inner city type dressed in black: she used to power-dress in white!

Received: by with SMTP;30 Nov 1995 15:12:06 +1000 Received: from BANKS.NTU.EDU.AU (BANKS.NTU.EDU.AU) X-Listname:


> On Tue, 28 Nov 1995 wrote:


> > > BTW, does anyone have any thoughts on The River Ophelia or so-called 'Grunge

> > > realism' in general? > Does banality become something other than banal when it is knowingly so?

(this is not just a rhetorical question).

> >

> > As far as the author's concerned, at least, 'thought' and The River Ophelia

> > seem to be contradictions in terms. One of the best comments I've read on

> > the novel went something like: In The River Ophelia, Justine Ettler gives

> > her characters names like Sade, Hamlet and Ophelia, just so we all know

> > that she's been to uni. …

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