𝐹𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹 The Whole Damn #amwriting Thing

Writing is one thing, reading is another, but the Literary Twitter is something else. At best it’s an improvised, collective, ever-updating fount of news, knowledge, and wit. At worst, it’s a column of ice chipped at by the axes of cutely compressed links to the world’s ever-expanding online literary content; endless self-promotion and sycophantic promotion of others; quipped opinion regarding live televised events (cable TV dramas, disasters du jour); public conversations better served by texts unread by thousands of strangers; declamations upon the craft of writing and everything else (as though there were anything else, ha ha ha); lesser-known writers retweeting better-known writers hoping to gain better-known writers’ favor; middling writers retweeting publicity staff hyping middling reviews in middling publications of middling novels; writers offering mash-up puns of canonical novel titles; writers tweeting daily pics of their word count function on their latest novel manuscripts; the whole damn #amwriting thing; pretentious young writers pitching surreal/absurdist novels or films or products or outerspace expeditions; famous novelists tweeting insights ripped from novels published long ago that no one reads anymore; writers with their Goodreads accounts synched with their Twitter so everyone can see they’ve given five stars to some non-fiction anthology published by their friends; writers who’ve tweeted nearly 50K times proclaiming their gratitude for writing and reading on the day of a domestic terrorist event; writers playing nice in the character-restricted sandbox but rarely letting loose and saying exactly what they think, that is unless their handle is @breteastonellis.

— from “Leeching the Seething in One Long Paragraph: @ThomasBernhard and the Comedy of Contempt” by Lee Klein

2018

𝐹𝑜𝓊𝓃𝒹 Boredom Evolved

It is certainly true that one could feel almost nostalgic for Boredom 1.0. The dreary void of Sundays, the night hours after television stopped broadcasting, even the endless dragging minutes waiting in queues or for public transport: for anyone who has a smartphone, this empty time has now been effectively eliminated. In the intensive, 24/7 environment of capitalist cyberspace, the brain is no longer allowed any time to idle; instead, it is inundated with a seamless flow of low-level stimulus.

Yet boredom was ambivalent; it wasn’t simply a negative feeling that one simply wanted rid of. For punk, the vacancy of boredom was a challenge, an injunction and an opportunity: if we are bored, then it is for us to produce something that will fill up the space. Yet, it is through this demand for participation that capitalism has neutralised boredom. Now, rather than imposing a pacifying spectacle on us, capitalist corporations go out of their way to invite us to interact, to generate our own content, to join the debate. There is now neither an excuse nor an opportunity to be bored.

But if the contemporary form of capitalism has extirpated boredom, it has not vanquished the boring. On the contrary — you could argue that the boring is ubiquitous. For the most part, we’ve given up any expectation of being surprised by culture — and that goes for “experimental” culture as much as popular culture. Whether it is music that sounds like it could have come out twenty, thirty, forty years ago, Hollywood blockbusters that recycle and reboot concepts, characters and tropes that were exhausted long ago, or the tired gestures of so much contemporary art, the boring is everywhere. It is just that no one is bored — because there is no longer any subject capable of being bored.

— from an extract of k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher (2004-2016), published on 3:AM Magazine

2011 (2018)

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