Mary Gaitskill

Flaws In The Texture Of Life Itself


Das Racist, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” (2009)

The person who put together this brilliant piece of dark aural comedy plus visual despair quotes from Herbert Marcuse‘s “One-Dimensional Man” which I will buzzingly paraphrase: “Socially necessary waste…relentless utilization of advanced techniques of science…increasing surplus product…increased consumption…reduces the use of value of freedom.”

Marcuse is certainly apposite. But I prefer to see the nightmare cartoon through Nabokov‘s description of Nikolai Gogol‘s nightmare cartoon, “The Overcoat“:

“Russian progressive critics sensed in [it] the image of the underdog and the whole story impressed them as a social protest. But it is something much more than that. The gaps and black holes in the texture of Gogol’s style imply flaws in the texture of life itself. Something is very wrong and all men are mild lunatics engaged in pursuits that seem to them very important while an absurdly logical force keeps them at their futile jobs–this is the real “message” of the story. In this world of utter futility, of futile humility and futile domination, the highest degree that passion, desire, creative urge can attain is a new cloak which both tailors and customers adore on their knees. I am not speaking of the moral point or the moral lesson. There can be no moral lesson in such a world because there are no pupils and no teachers: the world is and it excludes everything that might destroy it, so that any improvement, any struggle, any moral purpose or endeavor, are as utterly impossible as changing the course of a star.”

And so goes the nightmare comedy funny despair cartoon…


“Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” remixed by Valerna, shot by WTFive

running around and around…


“Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” shot by TheresaPic

…and around


“Interview with Das Racist,” NylonMagazineTV (2009)

- Mary Gaitskill

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Mary Gaitskill is the author of the novels "Veronica" and "Two Girls, Fat and Thin." She has also written three books of stories, "Bad Behavior," "Because They Wanted To," and "Don't Cry." More Mary Gaitskill here.