In Amanda Lohrey’s ‘Primates’, the first story in the collection Reading Madame Bovary, the unnamed corporation for which the first-person narrator works is undergoing a dreaded ‘restructure’. Her manager, Winton, is attempting to introduce Theory Z, the Japanese business equivalent of a Danish lifestyle trend. It promises to get rid of ‘hierarchies’ and bureaucracies’ in favour of a ‘clan’ mentality with ‘a high state of consistency in their internal culture’.
Cameras and IKEA renovations aside, it gives us the impression that we are witnessing something real, vital and transformative. Queer Eye is a display of empathy and empowerment. A focus on personal growth and confidence in the revamped version of a reality stalwart shows the potential for complexity within the genre.
In the late 1970s in New Zealand, a group of young people in their twenties left their middle-class lives and got working-class jobs, joined working-class unions and lived in working-class communities. Why? They were activists and communists and they wanted to bring radical politics to the working class, to shift their focus from the university campus to the industrial workplace.
Yet the ability to mass-process information is not indicative of imagination. Even if lexes are computer generated, they can only be supplementary to creative thought. Wordsmith can produce statistically correct, data-heavy articles, but its prose is not inspired
While it is a popular assumption that millennials have
developed an over-inflated sense of ego thanks to their digital technologies, today’s brand of narcissism is radically different and detached from that of the 1980s yuppie narcissism familiar in books such as Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho and films such as Wall Street, which turned 30 in December.