In a world that entices us to browse the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to, in turn, feel the need to be constantly visible — for visibility, these days, seems to somehow equate to success — do not be afraid to disappear. From it, from us, for a while. And see what comes to you in the silence.






thanks LL




found myself returning to this this week for obvious reasons 


Alex and Wendy love culture. It’s how they spend their free time. It’s what they talk about at dinner parties. When they go jogging or to the gym, they listen to podcasts on their phones. On Sunday nights they watch their favorite new shows. They go to the movies sometimes, but they were bummed out when ­MoviePass went south, so now they mostly stream things. They belong to book clubs that meet every couple of weeks. Alex and Wendy work hard at their jobs, but they always have a bit of time to check their feeds at work. What’s in their feeds? Their feeds tell them about culture. Their feeds are a form of comfort. Their feeds explain things to them that they already understand. Their feeds tell them that everyone else is watching, reading, listening to the same things. Their feeds tell them about the people who make their culture, people who aren’t so different from them, just maybe a bit more glistening. Alex and Wendy’s feeds assure them that they aren’t lonely. Their feeds give them permission to like what they already like. Their feeds let them know that their culture is winning.

Alex and Wendy believe in the algorithm. It’s the force that organizes their feeds, arranges their queues, and tells them that if they liked this song, video, or book, they might like that one too. They never have to think about the algorithm, and their feeds offer a kind of protection. Alex hates to waste his time. His time is so precious. It makes Wendy feel sad when she reads a book she doesn’t love. She might have read one of the books her friends loved. If their feeds lead them astray, Alex and Wendy adjust them. There’s only so much time, and when they have kids, there’ll be even less time. Alex and Wendy aren’t snobs. They don’t need to be told what not to like. They’d rather not know about it.

Of course, I don’t believe that Alex and Wendy exist. But as a cultural journalist, as a book critic, I’ve been put on notice that I work for them.




“We place on paper without hesitation a tissue of flatteries, to which in society we could not give utterance, for our lives, without either blushing or laughing outright.”





Collection of Georges Bermann

Blue Cloud Wright, slaughterhouse worker, Omaha, Nebraska, August 10, 1979

Gelatin silver print, printed 1985.
Image/Sheet: 143.2 x 114.6 cm (56 3/8 x 45 1/8 in.)
Frame: 156.1 x 124.4 cm (61 1/2 x 48 7/8 in.)

Signed and numbered 6/6 in stylus in the margin; signed, numbered 6/6 in ink, copyright credit reproduction limitation, title, date and edition stamps on the reverse of the aluminium mount.

£60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for £161,000

By presenting the subject in isolation against a white backdrop, Avedon transforms a slaughterhouse worker from Omaha, Nebraska into a symbolic figure. Of his white backgrounds, he explains, ‘I think we live in a kind of a void; that there is nothing before and there is nothing after. And the white for me represents that void. It makes people symbolic of themselves. You see only what’s written on their faces

hmm..as a co-hotdesker just put it to me 'fucks sake, I cant be doing with void chat'


We spoke briefly by email about the struggle for working-class writers and artists to be seen as writers and artists first and foremost. Do you think that mainstream publishing seems to favour or to fetishise particular kinds of working-class testimony, often at the expense of foregrounding what is skilful or interesting in the text itself?

‘Working-class’ has become something of a line in a bio – something you put on the front cover of your book. While I think people should be proud of their class – I find it uncomfortable and disingenuous the way it has become a kind of marketing strategy. If you’re trading in your life experience only, then you run out of material. And then that material becomes like a form of capital, mined and sold and then gone and that’s your LIFE!! It’s not healthy to wear an identity like a suit, and you are rarely the one making the quids out of it. When mainstream publishers print working-class books there’s some process of alienation that that work goes through, and to be honest whether you are w/c or not the mainstream publishing industry is pretty alienating full-stop. But because I don’t think we have a big reading audience who is working class most w/c poetry goes through this packaging process to make it attractive to more middle – upper class audiences because they are the ones with the money to buy the books. To me it’s just as important who is reading the work – I have had a lot of kind words from people who ‘don’t like poetry’ but who relate to some of their themes in my work, and that’s the most satisfying feedback for me. You wanna talk to people don’t you, have a conversation, not merely an audience. As far as I see it anyway, and I think a lot of working-class people can smell the alienation of stuff that’s been through the Penguin wringer.




The taming of bulls has ancient roots in contests dating as far back as Minoan culture.[3] Bull riding itself has its direct roots in Mexican contests of equestrian and ranching skills now collectively known as charreada.[3] During the 16th century, a hacienda contest called jaripeo developed. Originally considered a variant of bull fighting, in which riders literally rode a bull to death, the competition evolved into a form where the bull was simply ridden until it stopped bucking.[3] By the mid-19th century, charreada competition was popular on Texas and California cattle ranches where Anglo and Hispanic ranch hands often worked together.[3]


Abstract: Inspired by the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, many drinking establishments offered mechanical bull riding to their patrons. As the use of mechanical bulls became more popular, associated injuries became increasingly reported in the literature as the "urban cowboy syndrome." We report a case of severe straddle injury resulting in symphysis diastasis, urethral injury, and significant retroperitoneal hematoma resulting in cardiovascular instability secondary to mechanical bull riding. This unique case is the most severe mechanical bull injury reported in the literature and the only report of the urban cowboy syndrome since the early 1980s.

Key Words: mechanical bull, pelvic fracture, straddle injury, urban cowboy syndrome







The “intelligent” writer is no longer a writer at all, but a calibrator, perpetually adjusting and keeping abreast of the correct ideologies of the day. To calibrate is to search for the correct idea or phrase or message in hopes of achieving congruence with the tastemakers and gatekeeper activists of the day. In short, to be a calibrator is to be that most cretinous of creatures: a politician. 

The book I’m ashamed not to have read
I don’t feel shame about reading habits. Reading anything because you think you “should” doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It seems more pleasurable and more useful to follow whatever bizarre interests and tastes are peculiar to you.




Joyce Carol Oates on William Trevor NYT 1977



Trevor evokes potentially tragic situations that do not develop into tragedy: He gives life to quite ordinary people -- men, women and children -- who find themselves locked together by a single event and who are forced to reassess themselves and, as a consequence, their relationships.  




After his decision to incorporate the lessons of weaving into his art, however, Bayrle’s work changed, deepened. The industrialised society was still there, but his mixed feelings about it – “always 50/50”, he is fond of saying – became more emphatic. In the variably coloured Bügelman (Coat Hanger Man, 1970) series of screenprints, a human head is made up of innumerable hangers. “The Bügelman is in a big store selling coats, waiting for the next customer,” Bayrle explains, “and after a thousand times of selling the coat, he only sees the hanger. I saw this boringness of the profession, but I didn’t comment on it like the left, to fight against it – I saw a sad poetry in it. A pessimistic dream: this is my life, I’m a clerk at the warehouse. It was very important to me not just to criticise. We all suffer, somehow, and have nice days and bad days. For the left, it was not consequent enough.” I ask him if he sees, in the same way as counting rosary beads, a kind of transcendent boredom in such a job. He agrees, and augments: “Awfulness is necessary for our comfort. I worked a lot with leftist groups and students and they always said, you are a reactionary, and it’s been like that since. You never fit, but I didn’t want to fit. I wanted to still give a chance that this so-called capitalism has also some good sides. If it didn’t, we wouldn’t follow it





The film “Wanda” opened recently at the Cinema II under banners of international critical praise. It bears the signature of Barbara Loden —she wrote it, directed it and played its central role—in other than obvious ‘ways.

More than merely a film she has made, Wanda is the woman Miss Loden might have become, before she discovered who she was.

The film was made in express rejection of Hollywood techniques. It was also made in express rejection of national values as Miss Loden sees them.

In its blighted atmosphere, “Wanda” discloses the poverty and ignorance of Appalachia. It tells of a passive, slatternly young woman who abandons her family and drifts, like a piece of wood caught on a slow tide, through dreary events in motels and bars.

‘Millions Like Her’

“She's trapped and she will never, ever get out of it and there are millions like her,” Miss Loden said.

At first her declaration that the film is in some respects autobiographical seems unlikely, but the improbability dissolves as she talks. Much of her mature life has been, perhaps only half‐consciously, a flight from categorization.

“I really hate slick pictures,” she said, coiled in a green chair in the sitting room in which she presides. as Mrs, Elia Kazan, wife of the, stage and film director. The film was edited in a back room of their spacious townhouse near Central Park West.

“They're too perfect to be believable. I don't mean just in the look. I mean in the rhythm, in the cutting, the music — everything. The slicker the technique is, the slicker the content becomes, until everything turns into Formica, including the people.”

Miss Loden is made up of no parts Formica. Her countenance glows softly without a trace of cosmetics. She has wide, innocent eyes, strong cheekbones and a turned‐up nose. She wore brown corduroy slacks.

“I tried not to explain things too much in the film, not to be too explicit, not to be too verbal,” she said. “My subject matter is of. people who are not too verbal and not aware of their condition.

From Rural Region

“I've been like that myself. I came from a rural region, where people have a hard time. They don't have time for wittily observing the things around them. They're not concerned about anything more than existing from day to day.

“They're not stupid. They're ignorant. Everything is ugly around them — the architecture, the town, the clothing they wear. Everything they see is ugly.

“It's not a matter of money,” Miss Loden said, describing the produce‐andconsume‐and‐produce treadmill.

“It's the same in Detroit,” she went on. “They work in the factories to make all those ugly cars that don't last so they can get paid to buy a few of those ugly cars and to buy the things that others are making in other factories—own a color television. It's a whole aspect of America.”

“Do you have any answer?”

“No, Miss Loden said quietly. “Just to change the whole society.”

The revolutionary currents that are running are evidence of a terminal distaste for the entire setup, she believes.

“People are always saying, ‘Why don't they work within the system?’ They don't because the system doesn't work, you see,” Miss Loden remarked.

“I sort of made my way up, but I know if I had stayed where I came from, would just be a wasted person.”

By leaving her rural setting near Asheville, N. C., and coming to New York, Miss Loden escaped a life of ignorance and routine drudgery, But she was immediately caught up in another banal categorization.

Since she had “a figure approaching perfection,” as one reviewer put it, and a face that undeniably suggested both the beauty of Bergman and the sensuous glamour, of Monroe (whose image she reflected in “After the Fall”), Miss Loden was credited with exterior assets only.

She danced at the Copacabana. Ernie Kovacs, who knew, a good thing when he saw one, dressed her in very abbreviated tights and had her romp through television slapstick parts. For several years she did little, else.

She sees both of these circumstances — the drab and hollow life at home, and the glittering and hollow life here—as having a single root in a misorganized society.

“I got into the whole thing of being a dumb blonde—sort of an object, as they say. I didn't think anything of myself, so I succumbed to the whole role. I never knew who I was, or what I was supposed to do.”

“Do you know new?” “Yes.”

Had Mr. Kazan helped? “He helps me every way he can,” she said. “It's good to have an expert around. What he tried to do was get me to do what I wanted to do, and that's not the way he would have done it.”

“Wanda” was shot in 16mm and printed in 35mm. Miss Loden wrote the screenplay nine years ago. Her awareness of the far simpler techniques of the underground movement encouraged her to attempt it herself.

“It's not a new wave,” she said. “It's the old wave. That's what they used to do. They took a camera and they went out and shot. Around that act this whole fantastic apparatus grew up — the Hollywood albatross. They made a ship out of lead. It won't float any more.”


Myth #3: “Get it out of your system.” Another pervasive myth regards anger as pent up pressure that needs to be released. Therapy supporting catharsis of angry feelings gained popularity during the 1960s and 70s (Tavris, 1982). Those therapies were called into question after many psychologists and researchers showed that expressing anger generally intensifies feelings of anger (Bushman, Baumeister, & Phillips, 2001; Lewis & Bucher, 1992). In some cases ‘venting’ actually increases anger intensity and expression by reinforcing negative thinking (Lewis & Bucher, 1992). Tavris (1982) discussed several studies in which talking about an anger-provoking event made individuals angrier. As these individuals recited their grievances their anger became reactivated (Tavris).

However, if the explosion of experimental popular culture in the second half of the 20th century taught us anything, it’s that it’s possible to be popular without being populist. Conversely, it’s possible to be populist without being popular. Isn’t this, in fact, the formula for capitalist realist culture since Blairism? Blair wins election after election, but by the end he is widely detested – especially among those who have reluctantly voted for him. Exploitative reality TV continues to command large – if now waning – audiences, but many of the people who loathe the programmes are also those who avidly watch them. Similarly, many of those who protest the arrival of Tesco in their town also end up shopping in the stores when they arrive. To call this hypocrisy is to miss the eminently dialectical ambivalence of these entanglements. In watching the X Factor or shopping in Tesco, there is often some lingering desire for mass mediated technological modernity to be better than it is, whereas those who have retired into private space with their DVD box sets and ethically sourced goods have given up on this possibility, if they ever cared about it. 


brought back here:


by this: