The Misread City on I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts

By Scott Timberg
The Misread City blog

Dery_Bad coverEVER wondered what it would sound like if the British writer J.G. Ballard fronted an L.A. punk band? I hadn't either, frankly, but the question crossed my mind reading the new anthology of essays and articles by Mark Dery. Twisted, brilliant, overly ornate and penetrating, I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts brings him to Skylight Books on Tuesday. (I only regret there is no essay on the Bavarian Illuminati or the Church of the Subgenius.)

I could say more, but let me present my Q+A with Mr. Dery.

Your book is all over the place – the Super Bowl, Jack Chick’s apocalyptic comic books, Hitler. What makes a topic right for you, and how do they all hold together?

I listen for the sound of table-rapping. Seriously, there's an element of the late 19th-century spiritualist seance in what I do, in the sense that I wait for things to call my name, rather than chasing the viral story of the day, the meme of the moment, the latest counterintuitive lightbulb over Gladwell's head, the zeitgeisty trend keeping David Brooks up late.

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