:: Essays

Happy Birthday 3:AM! published 01/04/2020

Launched in April 2000, 3:AM Magazine turns 20 this month!

To celebrate, here’s a brief extract from Will Wiles‘s wonderful novel Plume, which has just come out in paperback:

“But since the appearance of Murder Boards, Pierce had acquired a small but eager following, myself included. His post-riots essay for 3:AM Magazine, ‘Beneath the Paving Stones, the Fire’, had circulated on Twitter and Tumblr for more than a month, and was republished by the New York Times“.

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On Sentimentality published 30/03/2020

At the Mildura Writer’s Festival in 2019, on a panel with Craig Sherborne and Moreno Giovannoni, Helen Garner spoke about Raymond Carver’s unedited stories. She hated them for all of their sentimental scenes—ones that would be removed by Carver’s editor Gordon Lish for What We Talk About When We Talk About Love. Lish took a knife to the cushy scenes and Carver became a master of the spare and cutting.

By Robert Albazi.

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The Negative Dialectics of Social Distancing published 26/03/2020

Today, in the middle of the global pandemic of COVID-19, we find another opportunity for negative dialectical thinking in the phrase “social distancing.” Offered as a recommendation for how best to hinder the spread of the virus, social distancing is, on the surface, a simple synonym of avoidance, isolation, or quarantining. If we, as individuals, limit our exposure to other bodies, then the chances of spreading the virus will decrease. Seems simple enough. But, as with so many phrases, this one has a lot lurking beneath the surface. Negative dialectical thinking plumbs the depths.

By Will Daddario.

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Limited Resources: A Recycling Story published 23/03/2020

Like most health-conscious alternatives, it’s not all couscous and post-sky current colors. It seems like they’re making it increasingly difficult to recycle. It takes a lot of time and burns a lot of energy. Sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth it, especially when everyone says it’s ridiculous, and since half of what we wastrel warriors painstakingly manage to recycle supposedly winds up in Holocaust-like ashtrays anyways.

A lot of people have given up their human right to recycle fight, but our back slinging silver scrapping guerilla army’s numbers remain strong.

By Charles J. March III.

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The Replicant Real, Part II published 17/03/2020

In a culture on the brink of absolute psychosis, the voodoo-magic of a weaponized peace is cantilevered over the abyss of nowhere is safe. It’s a devastating exchange of intolerable sadness and despair, for the mask of hysteria is normalized at the very limits of what it is to be human, or human as we’ve known it.

Part II of “The Replicant Real,” an essay by Jeff Wood.

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The Replicant Real published 03/03/2020

“I think I swallowed a bug,” Brando announces. He had. And I had. There was no difference, in those looping late-night moments, between what was happening on the screen behind my eyelids or in front of them. Apocalypse Now had crossed the blood brain barrier of the symbolic and fictional real, just as The Day After had done, and Blade Runner would eventually do in the looping future of itself that has lasted until precisely now.

In the first installment of a two-part essay, Jeff Wood considers how we arrived at our hall-of-mirrors world through an exploration of film and television.

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In the Basement of the Islamic Revolution and Holy Defense Museum published 25/02/2020

Later, at the restaurant beside the stream the women removed their head scarves.
“It’s safe here to do this. The owner supports us. There are many places like this in Tehran,” Mahsa said.
She spoke about the so-called “White Wednesdays” sparked by Masih Alinejad, where women post Instagrams of themselves in public places without head scarves, and how things had moved beyond that now so that in certain public parks and even bazaars this is tolerated, not just on Wednesdays.
Then she said: “I would normally remove mine here in this restaurant but I’m not going to because you’re here and I don’t want to be some stereotype for you.”

By Nicholas Rombes.

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Talking Lucy Ives’ The Hermit published 24/02/2020

OK. Back to what we were imagining. Imagine that you, the professor, decides to say something that isn’t about The Hermit by Lucy Ives, just to see if student X will continue to write in her notebook. For instance, what if you, the professor, decides to describe to the class student X taking notes as if it was part of the lecture.


you look at student X, making notes, and you say, “She draws a line.” Perhaps, then, you describe her appearance: “She wears pale pink. She’s sickening in her youth, mouth an overripe strawberry and big, plain teeth.”

By Adam Golaski.

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The city alight published 12/02/2020

In Paris, many praise the architectural ingenuity of Georges-Eugène Haussmann for providing the city with its iconic beauty in the 1800’s. We are encouraged to marvel at the uniformity, the rows of windows and sandstone fronts. It is a source of pride for the Parisian and something we are expected to be thankful for.

The history behind the transformation of Paris, however, is a violent one. Haussmann, working with Napoleon III, ran grand boulevards through shanty towns, evicting the residents outside of the city he envisaged—beyond the outer circle. Haussmann was selective about who he unified and at best careless about those who suffered as a result. Working class areas were divided to make it easier for the military to quell uprisings. ‘Clean water and fresh air’, was the project sold to the people; though not without thousands of them being displaced.

By Joshua Kepreotis.

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Mayo-Optimism: Thinking Blackness and the Philosophy of Food published 03/02/2020

There is no easy emancipatory trick in mayonnaise. It is not that its resistance to spatiotemporal solid/liquid binaries immediately allows a means of thinking outside the violence of American aesthetics and production modes. But its ability to suggest otherwise, without the framework of American culinary logic, is the possibility of a conceptual refuge. As Fred Moten says about something else, ‘It cannot be denied that [mayonnaise] is a place of refuge, and it cannot be accepted that [mayonnaise] is a place of enlightenment.’

By Elliot C. Mason.

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