Anyone who underwent a liberal-arts education in recent decades probably encountered the thorny theorists associated with the Institute for Social Research, better known as the Frankfurt School. Their minatory titles, filled with dark talk of “Negative Dialectics” and “One-Dimensional Man,” were once proudly displayed on college-dorm shelves, as markers of seriousness; now they are probably consigned to taped-up boxes in garages, if they have not been discarded altogether. Once in a while, the present-day Web designer or business editor may open the books and see in the margins the excited queries of a younger self, next to pronouncements on the order of “There is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” (Walter Benjamin) or “The whole is the false” (Adorno).
A good friend, someone who is working towards the transformation of our society into something resilient, equitable and beautiful, told me the other day that they can’t actually imagine what a transformed society would look like, and that they felt that that was impeding their ability to stay motivated. I couldn’t believe it. For me what we’re working towards is so vivid and real, and that’s part of what’s helped me to not just imagine a better future and stay motivated, but to share that vision with others and motivate them.
It’s no secret that the publishing world is being wrenched apart by forces well beyond its control. Between the ever-shrinking attention span of the average American and the arrival of an entire generation brought up on digital storytelling in video games, on the web and T.V., the book as a means of entertainment seems rather quaint, almost an affectation.
There’s an article on Vice/Noisey which has been making the internet rounds lately about being a lady in a band. I have mixed feelings about even mentioning the article, because I don’t want to belittle the author’s experiences and feelings, but it’s definitely important context. Reading it, and some of the reactions and commentary around it, got me thinking about how I might write something similar.
Today is Ian MacKaye's birthday. Best known as the frontman of Minor Threat and Fugazi and as the co-founder of Washington DC's influential Dischord record label, the 52-year-old musician has an iconic reputation within the punk rock world, his name a by-word for uncompromised integrity, independent thought and principled self-determination.
A little more than a year ago, we announced a new series, The Anarchist Imagination, challenging people to write compelling anarchist utopian novellas and novels. (Okay, we said novellas at the time, but then we published a novel. So I suppose we're open to novels too.)
In the existing world, largely governed by the logic of capital and the pathologies of accumulation, real madness is the absence of revolt. Wherever revolt is absent in the world today, we should worry about human health and sanity. A society that does not revolt against a social order that damages it with such escalating facility—psychologically, collectively, ecologically—is a society at the terminal stage. Revolt is the healthy expression of reasonable refusal.
Indian country divided. Box office sales slumpy. Johnny Depp stoned (yep he sure seems like it) on Jimmy Kimmel late night TV, having a lovefest of smooches, not much else. Is the flick a parody or scar on years of trying to get buried history, unearthed? Um. Here we go. Surprised. I went expecting Disney awful weirdness, why wouldn't i.
At least twice a week I get an email asking for support for a new project via Kickstarter. More often than not I pledge money, wanting to act in solidarity with friends and acquaintances with giant ideas but small bank accounts. And Kickstarter, once a promising platform for artists and other cultural producers to raise money, has become the go-to tool for fundraising by writers, artists, designers, political activists, and even popular musicians and award-winning filmmakers. As more friends use it, and as I cough up more and more money with every visit to the website, it seems a good time to try to crack it open to see how it works—and who it really works for.