:: Essays

Manufacturing Dissent: (The Revenance of 1968) published 27/05/2018

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the “Mai ’68” Paris student uprising & “Pražské Jaro” (Prague Spring), it is more than just timely to consider the systematic appropriation & reinvention of the idea of dissent that has occurred in their wake, both within the corporate-state apparatus & the erstwhile fringe-phenomena of populist extremism. Confronted by the virtual criminalization of protest in many socalled Western democracies; by rampant commodification & the normalisation of dissent within the culture industry; & by the bold resurgence of neo-fascism inside the political mainstream, what forms can active resistance take? And is there a future in such a political landscape for the idea of an avantgarde?

Louis Armand wonders about ‘Mai 68’ and the future of the avant garde.

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A Personal Golgotha published 19/05/2018

It’s all DIY  – hardly proof-read and done too fast in between day jobs to be anything but jump-start writing. So forget about the writing. What matters is what its about. It adds up to a boss reading list and a cranked up gang of characters smoking up the haunted back bars of the eerie early morning. 3:AM’s been around since 2000 and I joined Gallix’s punkstorm early on. It’s one of the oldest literary sites on the web. And back in the early days there was hardly anything out there so we were literally making it up as we went along.

Keep Up: a 3:AM backlist.

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Silence as Resistance in Aamer Hussein’s Stories published 15/05/2018

Like the addict, the immigrant—the foreigner visible as foreigner—has a compromised subjectivity and does not have the right to stay silent. Speech is demanded at every moment—the confessional speech of self-identification, of naming what one is, confirming and reinforcing through such speech that one is indeed the suspected Other. The position of the migrant of colour in the West is a position of hypervisibility, of a constantly and ubiquitously denied privacy. Every moment is policed. The confession is extracted constantly, demanded as the extractor’s right. Violence embedded in the fabric of the everyday, in life’s minutiae, its smallest moments, its most mundane. Forced speech—the denial of the right to stay silent—is, for the foreigner, an organising principle of everyday life in the West.

By Ali Raz.

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Celebrating Philosophy in Monaco published

Doubtless passions can bring difficulties to our lives and as Robert Maggiori says we can certainly live passions in a way damaging to our lives and the lives of others but, as he sagaciously adds, without passion life cannot be lived well at all.  The manner and mode by which we live our passions and affections, that is ever and always the key–and in this sense, precisely, a manner and mode of truth.  Philosophy is not indispensible in helping us find a way to live in the best and most just of ways ethically and existentially, but in its proper and supple manners it can be a boon and benefit. 

Steve Light on the Philosophical Meetings of Monaco.

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Markson’s Masterpiece and Wallace’s Ghost: Wittgenstein’s Mistress 30 years later published 10/05/2018

This writer is trying to figure out a way to write through Kate-ish-ness, which might as well be my medical diagnosis.

Wallace defined WM as: a classic for the impotent unlucky sort whose beliefs inform his stomach’s daily state.

What it limns, as an immediate study of depression & loneliness, is far too moving to be the object of either exercise or exorcism, writes Wallace, in one of the many lines in this essay that hinted at his own fiction’s trajectory.

In contrast to other experimental icons whose genius shouts, Markson’s genius whispers, Wallace writes, in one of the many lines that hints at why WM was alien to Wallace, and would remain to be.

By Brad Baronner.

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The New Europeans – Depeche Mode, Ultravox, Hurts and Disco Lento published 08/05/2018

The album that accompanied ‘Vienna’, on its cover photo, hinted at a ‘post-punk uniform’ that other bands such as the Scottish Orange Juice adopted in this era. That of the sharp blazer, the fastened top button, and the side-parting; eyeliner an optional extra. Such photos portrayed a young aesthete, deeply preoccupied with a matter just out of shot, doubtless with his eyes fixed on some real or conceptual European horizon. The album’s song ‘New Europeans’ suggested that the mysterious realm over-the-water was being viewed in aspirational terms, through its overall aesthetic tone, if not its content.

Guy Mankowski on Albion’s Secret History.

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No Victor But God published

There is no victor but God. This calligraphy (copied, unread, from the Nasirids’ Alhambra, brought over, un-comprehended, as decoration for a French restaurant on a hurricane-gutted island) might just be the best epitaph for our age. Who wins, really, in the end? Are the winners merely those who find their most cherished mottos repurposed as ornament, in glazes of blue and emerald, glazed over by bored tourists’ eyes?

By Molly Crabapple.

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American Truth and Hysteria: The Evolution of Joan Didion published 30/04/2018

She appears as the intrepid but invisible reporter, leaning up against her Corvette. She knew anyone and everyone in 1960s Los Angeles and chronicled the decade’s steady deterioration and decay. You can even buy a leather jacket emblazoned with Didion’s picture. Her quotes float around Facebook, styled as self-help mantras, imposed across pictures of her smoking and staring stone-faced into the camera. The dominance of this image of Didion is extremely limited, and unfair on a writer who deserves recognition befitting the full shape of her corpus.

Sam Diamond reconsiders Joan Didion.

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Cherubs, Zeros, Glass Children & Swans – Symbolism in Lyrics of The Smashing Pumpkins published 24/04/2018

But within this new aesthetic palette was also room for darker devices, reflecting the tone of the album sleeve. Tracks like ‘Shame’ and ‘Daphne Descends’ utilise drones, to give Flood’s ornate, layered production a sense of dense layering. Flood’s production evokes moods that are at one claustrophobic and expansive. In the album’s single ‘Perfect’ the glacial production and clean guitars offer a backdrop to a painful lyric concerned with Corgan coming to terms with a breakup. The clashing guitars in ‘Daphne Descends’ sit behind the choruses words; ‘You love him’. But they sound far from romantic, instead evoking an approaching emotional storm.

By Guy Mankowski.

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The Operating Theatre: Contemporary Fiction & Las Vegas published 19/04/2018

Las Vegas has acknowledged America’s fame obsession and is vending it. The illusion of being a somebody. You get to be whatever you want and, better yet, you get to leave it there. Hide from your job and your boss and your kids, shed your skin and let out that inner slouching beast. Yeats got the city wrong, but he was right about the desert. Las Vegas is a place where the temporal and the ephemeral are morphed into insta-culture, a palace of assimilation that’s open twenty-four/seven. There is no past or future, no need for perspective or long-range thought, there is only the unending now, the new promised land, a most codified place, a domain of myth and ritual.

By Sean Hooks.

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