Honesty in Writing

In an essay about writing essays, Virginia Woolf offered a handy, pocket-sized comparison of some of the different types of writing. Essays, she argued, are distinct from other types of writing in terms of their formal properties. For Woolf, it simply doesn't have any. Poetry has rhythm and rhyme to carry it along, a novel…

I'm reblogging this partly because I think it's interesting, and also partly because I'm not sure I agree with it, but not for the most obvious reasons. What the authors argue for here is a form of what's called "accelerationism". This is the theory that argues that the only way to actually achieve fundamental change…

Choose Your Dystopia

Neil Postman's "Amusing Ourselves to Death", published in 1985, argued, somewhat persuasively to my undergraduately beer-addled brain, that the dystopia we were inhabiting wasn't the Orwellian nightmare many had assumed was the most accurate premonition of the future,  but the one that Aldous Huxley imagined in his tonally-ambiguous "Brave New World". In 1985, five years…

The Culture Wars

The quite-right-wing-and-revealed-to-be-a-giant-piece-of-shit David Brussat, who ostensibly writes a blog about architecture, but used it (past tense applies), like a Trojan Horse, to blow his dog-whistle (confession: I have an interest in theories of architecture, and Brussat did write some interesting stuff, at least a couple of years ago, that was relatively tame). Given the events…

This is another repost, this time of something written by Chris Hedges. I'm doing this because I think that what's happening in the US now is more important for the world at large (and especially the English-speaking parts of it) than anything I feel particularly qualified to talk about. Chris Hedges, who is a writer…

Tolstoy Got it Right: Children and Lockdown

If you meet someone who says that they "like" Tolstoy's books, they probably have (a) a lot of time on their hands, (b) a penchant for self-aggrandisement, and (c) a fairly snobbish view of "literature", refusing to accept that books like "Harry Potter" and "Game of Thrones" qualify as literature. You'd better believe that I'm…