Boring boring boring boring boring boring boring

January 16, 2009

Boring boring boring boring boring boring boring

Zach Plague

2008 Featherproof Press

by Rachel Shine


Boring boring boring boring boring boring boring tries very hard not to live up to its namesake.  Using the tone and sophistication of a graphic novel similar to Brick, (the modern film noir film of high schoolers), Boring tells a labyrinthine tale of characters experimenting with power as dramatically as emperors chase conquests.  Plague employs identifying fonts and intricate graphics to comically draw the reader into the world of the University of Fine Arts and Academia but also into the world of the book itself.

What sets Boring apart from most novels on the shelf are the collages and elaborate illustrations which decorate the text.  Setting the tone of the book, they paint the characters almost as well as their actions.  The title written repeatedly over photographs, for example, handwritten pages, antique wallpaper, silhouettes, and the title written in playful textuality suggests the duality of individuality and sameness.  By showing the same identity (the word “boring”) in different clothes (each font), we are introduced to the ironies of individuality.  The word, after all, is boring, and what’s interesting about that?

Boring contains many such jokes and tongues thrust firmly into cheeks.  It is a play in which modern archetypes of students act out their power struggles: a punk named Punk who launches snot rockets, the spoiled Dean’s daughter that loves a meathead, her best friend who, in turn, loves the sleazy videographer; the videographer in turn  loves her and the art star–a disaffected narcissist whose work gives motivation to the story.  These colliding characters ultimately create a concordance of terms such as leaves, lonely, and the night, in order to fuel the book’s underlying meaning: a catalogue of art school kids and thier behavior.

Of them, we meet Ollister first, along with his love-no-more, Adelaide, and his rivalry with The Platypus.  Ollister is a former Uni-Arts student, a local hero, and a master manipulator eager to keep his budding lordship intact.  Adelaide is a Uni-Arts darling who is missing her ex-beau and a key bargaining chip.  The Platypus is the gothic puppet master of the art scene and thus the town.  To maintain this strong arm of power, however, he must have Ollister’s notebook of ideas which he believes Adelaide will lead him to.  To win her graces he offers her a show at the White Ball, the town’s biggest art show.  How can she resist?

Within such an accessible narrative, Boring takes available opportunities to teach without pontificating.  It proposes that art does not come from schools, but from a dialogue between independents.  It paints the art educational system as a motley crew of uncritical misfits and honors the power of those on the outside, the one who lives in the museum or the one that lives on the streets.  The plot is driven by the search for the gray papers, a journal of one character’s ideas.  It respects criticism and autonomy.  In the end the truth comes from the individuals who call their own shots.  That’s why chapters are called after the characters that participate in them.  That’s why Ollister is the hero.

That’s why the book is available with the variety it is.  If you don’t prefer a perfect bound book, try your ear at the audio book.  Or maybe you’d like the book in the poster version.  Or smaller? A downloadable mini-book is offered.  Or the ebook online.  You could try that.  Both the variety of the text and graphics and the multimedia approach bring attention to the format of the printed word.  As certainly as modernizing the time-honored tradition of the book-as-art invites the reader deeper into the reading of the text, it challenges the necessity of the bound hardcopy.  Perhaps a certain story is better told wheat-pasted to the side of a building or out of your back pocket on a hand-held electronic device.  Why is that?

posted by caroline picard

listen to Zach read from another burgeoning work here.

or visit  featherproof to see what else they are up to by going here.


One Response to “Boring boring boring boring boring boring boring”

  1. wijjy Says:

    Thats cool lol

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