Death of the editor

Type
Article
Category
Publishing
Writing

Among the various portentous ‘deaths’ that seem to be befalling contemporary culture – the death of the ‘manly man’, the death of ‘Australian values’, the death of the personal essay – is the lesser-known apparent death of the editor. In a 2008 long-read for Essays in Criticism, Harvard University’s J Stephen Murphy lamented the slow demise of my long-beloved profession, largely as a result of the changes to the publishing landscape wrought by new media and their ostensible democratisation of writing and literature.

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wasup
Type
Article
Category
Irony
Philosophy

Language and terror: Remembering Richard Rorty

Rorty, who died in 2007, was one of our most compassionate philosophers. You can gauge his worth by the fact that he seemed to get under the skin of just about everybody, occupying a transient between-space in a manner off-putting to commentators who spend careers building conceptual fortresses behind which to protect their worldview.

Pybus
Type
Polemic
Category
United States
Violence

‘Some dark shit’

In Ta-Nehisi Coates’s powerful polemic Between the World and Me, racism in America is seen as the equivalent of a physical law of the universe, a cosmic injustice with tenacious gravity. When a cop kills a black man, Coates explains, the officer should be understood as ‘a force of nature, the helpless agent of our world’s physical laws.’ Society is equally helpless against this natural order because in America, ‘it is traditional to destroy the black body – it is heritage’.

jez
Type
Reflection
Category
Music
Politics

When Corbyn flicked wrist, did magic, at Glastonbury

The words come from another time, but they spoke to the real significance of Corbyn’s appearance on Glastonbury’s mainstage. Shelly wrote The Masque of Anarchy to mark the occasion of the Peterloo Massacre. An occasion when, on another summer day 198 years prior, a rally of between 60,000 and 100,000 English workers was violently attacked by a local militia, while peacefully protesting for the right to elect their MPs.