Archive

The Editors

18 March 2014

David Owen’s The Man Who Invented Saturday Morning: And Other Adventures in American Enterprise should be way, way more famous than it is. Somebody reissue it. The collection of essays — published in Harper’s and the Atlantic in the 1980s— is about advertising, market research, how to get people to do what you want them to do. Owen goes to Liverpool with a bunch of Beatles fanatics, attends a convention for convention planners, close-reads trade magazines, explains how divorce rates influence the toy industry. More…

7 March 2014

In hockey, the story of the Sochi Olympics was the shame of the Russians. From the start, even after Ovechkin scored a goal barely a minute into their game against Slovenia, they looked nervous. American commentators joked about Putin’s presence in the stands. Russian commentators did not joke about it. They couldn’t understand why their team looked so ill at ease. More…

For the past two years, since Putin reassigned himself to the Russian presidency, we have indulged ourselves in a bacchanalia of anti-Putinism, shading over into anti-Russianism. We turned Pussy Riot into mass media stars. We wrote endless articles (and books) about how Putin was a mystery man, a terrible man, a KGB ghoul who lived under your bed. More…

Even when we don’t opine, just clicking around, we’re like cilia on the tracheal lining of some gross beast, and our small work of enthusiasm, liking or passing along or reiterating or linking, is like the wriggle of a hair, pushing the story down the throat of the culture, filling its lungs so that it may breathe. We can accept this. We are a hair. More…

Originally published in Issue 18: Good News

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13 January 2014

If “global capitalism” is responsible for eliding the local, so too is any cultural criticism that sees the whole world and all its writers as a valuable unit of analysis. The piece simply does not account for work that does speak to local contexts (anticaste literature, for example), hasn’t been translated, and/or is out of tune with the tectonics of the global market. More…

Originally published in Issue 18: Good News

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1 December 2013

An annotated table of contents for Issue 18: Good News, is out now and available as a digital edition as well as in print. Become a digital and/or print subscriber now to read the issue. The NSA wants to connect with you on LinkedIn. Looking for revolution in Russia. Richard Beck on the sexual abuse panic. Elephant trails: not on google maps. More…

“the worlds of Crooklyn and Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop: We Cut Heads, forty and thirty years gone respectively,”— Crooklyn takes place in 1973 but was made in 1994 — still ok to refer to it in this way? (Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop came out in 1983 so that’s fine.)“The brownstone on Arlington Place that Spike and Co. shot Crooklyn in recently sold for $1.4 million. “— it sold for $1.7 million. More…

The search around the globe for genocides to eradicate is the ultimate rights perversion, for it reduces human rights to the right not to be brutally murdered in a particular way that fits the definition of genocide given in the Genocide Convention. This cannot be anyone’s idea of a robust human rights. If human rights are to be reclaimed they need first of all to be restored to the realm of politics. More…

23 August 2013

The subject of the essay was World Literature, both an object of academic study and a particular prestige category as imagined by New York publishing houses and critics, and whose apotheosis is the annual PEN World Voices Festival, also in New York. As we said in the first paragraph, we were not talking about all the literature published in the world. That would have been a different sort of essay. More…

World Literature certainly sounds like a nice idea. A literature truly global in scope ought to enlarge readers’ sympathies and explode local prejudices, releasing us from the clammy cells of provincialism to roam, in imagination, with people in faraway places and times. The aim is unimpeachable. Accordingly, nobody says a word against it at the humanities department conclaves. More…

An annotated table of contents for Issue 17: The Evil Issue, out now and available as a digital edition and in print. Featuring new fiction by Norman Rush and Rebecca Curtis and new drama by Gregory S. Moss. Franco Moretti reads Middlemarch, Alice Gregory goes surfing, and Chris Kraus asks what comes after art. Become a digital and/or print subscriber now to read the whole issue. More…

1 August 2013

World War Z is a dumb movie, even dumber than it looks, because it doesn’t know what it’s about. 2012, in many ways a dumber movie, was about how the rich were going to be given inside information about the end of the world and sold tickets aboard an escape ship—it goes without saying that this is obviously quite plausible—and only John Cusack would be able to figure it out. More…

3 July 2013

I fear World Republic of Losers, though it speaks to the soul, does lose out to World Lite, which is very portable and also captures the piece’s respect for literature and disappointment in its low-cal, taste-free varieties. More…

The cultural nature of politics, the political nature of culture: these have formed the main quandary debated by left intellectuals, mainly among themselves (and there lies much of the trouble), over the twenty some years since the oldest of us went off to colleges where Theory and Cultural Studies were all the impotent rage. More…

16 April 2013

The n+1 Research Collective is seeking interview subjects for a study on pornography. We are currently looking for participants who live in the New York Metro area (or have lived there recently) and are 35 or older. More…

The South Asian presence on TV is also evidence of the enormous power of the South Asian diaspora . No immigrant group in the US is so uniformly rich, so well placed in professional and executive ranks, so widely dispersed and integrated into wealthy white society. We have the Booker Prize on lock! Bengalis rule postcolonial studies. The motel business is mostly run by Gujaratis. More…

This spread of sociological thinking has led to sociological living — ways of thinking and seeing that are constructed in order to carry out, yet somehow escape, the relentless demystification sociology requires. Seeing art as a product, mere stuff, rather than a work, has become a sign of a good liberal (as opposed to bad elitist) state of mind. More…

An annotated table of contents for Issue 16: Double Bind, out now and available as a digital edition and in print. Featuring Bruce Robbins on Étienne Balibar, a report on the Merce Cunningham archives, Emily Witt on pornography, love, and Google, and John Colpitts, AKA Kid Millions of the band Oneida. Become a digital and/or print subscriber now to read the whole issue. More…

Thirty-five words from Issue 16, “Double Bind,” in order of frequency: No. Cunningham. [Princess] Donna. Balibar. Munro. Haneke. Space. Police. Porn. Oneida. Tour. Indian. Google. Insurrection. Class. Desire. Power. Technique. Surveillance. Sadomodernism. Disgrace. Sabotage. “Irregardless.” Torture. Sandwich. Naive. Unpleasant. Unknown. Uh. Vaginas. Vacations. More…

7 January 2013

This morning, the New York Times reported that Bank of America agreed to pay “more than $10 billion to Fannie Mae to settle claims over troubled mortgages.” We’ve excerpted the following letters from The Trouble Is the Banks: Letters to Wall Street, the latest small book from n+1. Written by people who were directly affected by Bank of America’s decisions, these letters offer human testament to an inhuman sum. More…

On the last day of the year, we give you twelve of our favorite pieces from 2012, including the feminist argument against privacy, a monumental history of the New York Public Library, four poems, a philosophy of hockey, a survey of the novels of the Theory Generation, remembrances of Shulamith Firestone, two views of the storm in Brooklyn, and a wild denunciation of men and magazines. More…

28 November 2012

Women, we mean the internet, are commanding a larger share of the traditional print market. The internet, we mean women, is less responsive to conventional advertising than to commenting, sharing, and other forms of social interaction. Women, we mean the internet, are putting men, we mean magazine editors, out of work. The internet, we mean women, never pays for its content — or for their drinks! More…

Originally published in Issue 15: Amnesty

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An annotated table of contents for Issue 15: Amnesty, out now and available as a digital edition and in print. Featuring Lawrence Jackson vs. the Slickheads, a report from the Anders Behring Breivik trial, Kristin Dombek on sex, drugs, and Ryan Gosling, and an Intellectual Situation that takes on Harper’s, the Atlantic, and the Paris Review. Become a digital and/or print subscriber now to read the whole issue. More…

Originally published in Issue 15: Amnesty

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22 November 2012

WE HAVE LOST OUR MINDS WE ARE SLASHING PRICES WE HAVE ALL THESE BOOKS WE NEED TO SELL THEM DON’T TRY TO STOP US IT’S BLACK FRIDAY AND ALL THIS STUFF NEEDS TO GO GO GO. Plus we think it’ll make nice holiday gifts for just about everyone in the family, so you can stay home, eat leftovers, and read. More…

5 November 2012

Voting is what it is: not nothing, not everything. Think of it this way: if Obama represents the sum-total of left institutional power in this country, then his failures can much more productively be seen as our own. This is depressing in the short term but empowering in the long. Whatever happens on Tuesday, don’t mourn—organize. More…

Anti-contraception is a really good issue for Big Baby, a core issue that reaches deep into Big Baby psychology and passion. That’s because of a certain edge always present in the mother–whore dyad of infantile, and Big Infantile, thinking: the hostility to adult female sexuality and reproduction that comes from ambiguous feelings about Baby’s own arbitrary origins. More…

Jean Baudrillard once suggested an important correction to classical Marxism: exchange value is not, as Marx had it, a distortion of a commodity’s underlying use value; use value, instead, is a fiction created by exchange value. In the same way, systems of accreditation do not assess merit; merit is a fiction created by systems of accreditation. More…

It can be very amusing, Dickensian, when a fictional avatar has a narrow, caricatured personality: the girl who says, exclusively, shit girls say, or the tween hobo or out-of-touch masculine blowhard who is always true to type. It’s a lot less funny when a real person, supposedly the many-sided hero of his own life, decides to say only one sort of thing, and say it all the time. More…

An annotated table of contents for Issue 14, featuring the editors against credentialism; an argument for sex class action; essays about street food and gentrification, a crisis at the New York Public Library, and the secret history of Joaquin Phoenix; reviews of the flatness of 3D and the theory generation; new fiction by Yelena Akhtiorskaya; a new controversies section; and much more. More…

After reading Lost Illusions all winter I hated the idea of youth and being young, so I turned to Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim—a novel about a 25-year-old who seems to have no dreams left at all—as a corrective. Two thirds of the way through the book, another character gives him some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. More…

An annotated table of contents for Issue 13, featuring Astra Taylor on education outside the school system, Russian poet and activist Kirill Medvedev on the fate of progressive literary culture, an excerpt from Benjamin Kunkel’s new play, a report from Franco Moretti’s literary lab, a collective portrait of the Occupy movement and argument for a left populism, and much more. More…

3 January 2012

In New York, word was that Brooklyn and Queens were over. The next neighborhood was Wall Street. Friends, acquaintances, and people I’d only read about online were all relocating to a nice park with nice sleeping bags and tents, but they never had time for me, they never wanted to go to the movies or grab a drink, they were Occupied. The cops showed restraint. The cops showed no restraint. More…

15 November 2011

I believe that when your Officer Cho was leaning on my chest last night with a plastic police shield, to clear room for pedestrians who didn’t exist, pushing hard with a line of his coworkers on a crowd of us, he said to me, from behind his plastic visor, where he could watch us all as if on television, or in his car, so he didn’t have to think, this phrase: “It’s a game.” More…

We asked our editors what they’ve been reading lately, and almost all of us have been reading for Occupy Wall Street. We recommend Corey Robin’s Reactionary Mind, the first edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves, and Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. We also suggest skipping your graduate school qualifying exams and traveling light. More…

Tucked beneath our covers, laptops propped on our knees—is this not the posture most conducive to meaningful Gchatting? In addition to being comfortable, our beds are private; on Gchat, we must be by ourselves to best be with others. Night affords another degree of solitude: like the lights in the apartment building across the street, Gchat’s bright bulbs go out, one by one, until a single circle glows hopefully. Like Gatsby’s green light, it is the promise of happiness. More…

An annotated table of contents for Issue 12, featuring an excerpt from Helen DeWitt’s new novel, reporting from the Gathering of the Juggalos, an essay on Stanley Cavell as a philosopher and teacher, an argument against humanitarian intervention, the definitive history of Pitchfork, the beginning of a deep history of recent American fiction, a survey of chat through the ages, and much more. More…

“Žižek nicely termed the argument over the Kosovo intervention a ‘double blackmail.’” “Google+’s stated purpose is to make ‘sharing on the web more like sharing in real life,’ which is true only if ‘in real life’ is understood to mean ‘on the rest of the internet.’” ”Erlewine’s error can be found in the assumption that what people wanted was an encyclopedic survey of music itself.” More…

22 June 2011

“Luc Boltanski’s On Critique: A Sociology of Emancipation, published in French in 2009, has just come out in translation from Polity, and I’m really learning from it.” “Fatale by Jean-Patrick Manchette is a creepy exciting little French book.” Our summer reading recommendations keep coming, with more thrillers, biographies, and Kathleen Hanna. More…

21 June 2011

“I’ve been reading Houellebecq’s new novel The Map and the Territory. As of about halfway through, I can report no sex.” “I’d like to propose that all American teenagers give their copies of Please Kill Me and Letters to a Young Poet a rest and instead read Alice Echols’s impressive history of American radical feminism.” Editors and contributors share their favorite memoirs, novels, and philosophical treatises for the summer. More…

The fact-filled internet has only heightened the pre-Google asymmetry between those, on one side, loyal to Baconian methods of patient, inductive gathering of facts  and those, on the other side, who didn’t need to read Foucault or the Frankfurt School to nurture a suspicion that positivist orders of knowledge mask a hierarchy of power in which they are meant to occupy the lowest rungs. More…

Originally published in Issue 11: Dual Power

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An annotated table of contents for Issue 11, including (very) short excerpts from “The Information Essay,” reports from Egypt and Wisconsin, new fiction by Yelena Akhtiorskaya, and essays on a brother in Afghanistan, obscure English poetry in Cambridge, crisis in the humanities, and Yelp. There’s more where that came from; subscribe today! More…

Has any concept more completely defined and disfigured public life over the last generation than so-called elitism? Ever since Richard Nixon’s speechwriters pitted a silent majority (later sometimes “the real America”) against the nattering nabobs of negativism (later “tenured radicals,” the “cultural elite,” and so on), American political, aesthetic, and intellectual experience can only be glimpsed through a thickening fog of culture war. More…

An annotated table of contents for Issue 10, including (very) short excerpts from an analysis of MFA and NYC literary cultures, an essay connecting the pro-life and animal rights movements as “the two cultures of life,” a report on an Indian millionaire and his money, excellent, possibly X-rated fiction from Sheila Heti, and four responses to Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. There’s more where that came from; subscribe today! More…

Today we Google ourselves to see what the world knows about us; tomorrow we’ll just watch the ads. The outlines of this can already be discerned in Gmail’s sometimes tactless data mining of your emails: write a friend that your cat has died and you learn, cruelly, of discounts on litter. More…

Originally published in Issue 9: Bad Money

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5 May 2010

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Web 2.0 has been revelatory in lots of ways—user-generated naked photos, for one—but the torrent of writing from ordinary folks has certainly been one of the most transfixing. Over the past five years the great American public has blogged and Tweeted and commented up a storm and fulfilled a great modernist dream: the inclusion, the reproduction, the self-representation of the masses. More…

Originally published in Issue 9: Bad Money

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From the standpoint of Kant’s “purposiveness without a purpose,” the answer to the question Are video games art? appears to be an emphatic no. Kant’s was a theory of spectatorship, not participation. An art object allows our minds to play freely over it, not with it. More…

Originally published in Issue 9: Bad Money

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“It’s not a revolution if no one loses,” leading webist Clay Shirky has written. The first ones the internet revolution came for were the travel agents, those nice people who looked up flight times and prices for you on a computer, before you could do it yourself at home. Then Captain Kirk returned from the future to zap them all. More…

Originally published in Issue 9: Bad Money

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13 January 2009

In n+1, we never wanted to run book reviews. Our purpose was to print the long arguments—unexpected flashes—wild visions that mattered to us, but that no one else would publish, naked as they came. “You need a peg to hang that on. How about a new book on Daniel Bell?” A generation hid its real ideas in book reviews, the way previous generations, wary of the Inquisition, hid theirs in arcane tracts. More…

In the early days of the inbox, it afforded the naive human organism a certain pleasure to receive an email. Ah, someone thinking of me . . . So a note or two of companionship whistled through the lonely day. Thanks to email, the residual eloquence of a moribund letter-writing culture received a rejuvenating jolt of immediacy. More…

Western civilization spent 2,500 years trying to get people to shut up. The armies of Alexander the Great were amazed to see their leader read a letter from his mother silently—because he alone knew how. After the dawn of Christianity, centuries upon centuries admired the ability not to vocalize, not to talk. Silence was an achievement. More…

14 February 2007

The work machine is also a porn machine; the porn machine is also a work machine. Work enters everything. And therefore porn becomes, in its way, a revenge. In the midst of a productivity boost of the sort that comes along once in a century, workers are indulging, in record numbers, in the least productive human activity of all. More…

Was theory a gigantic hoax? On the contrary. It was the only salvation, for a twenty year period, from two colossal abdications by American thinkers and writers. From about 1975 to 1995, through a historical accident, a lot of American thinking and mental living got done by people who were French, and by young Americans who followed the French. More…

Originally published in Issue 2: Happiness

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14 February 2005

A reading is like a bedside visit. The audience extends a giant moist hand and strokes the poor reader’s hair. Up at the podium is someone who means to believe in his or her work, and instead he’s betrayed by his twitchy body and nervous laughter. The writer looks like his mother dresses him, he has razor burn on his neck, his hands may be shaking. More…

Originally published in Issue 2: Happiness

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14 February 2005

How absurd was the effort of Robbe-Grillet to make writing into a kind of film! How silly of Tom Wolfe to think the novel should compete with journalism on the one ground—information-gathering—where it can’t! Someone should tell the novel that it is not dying; those death throes were just the shortness of breath that comes with loss of market share. More…

Originally published in Issue 2: Happiness

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14 February 2005

Cher Ami, I am depressed. Things are worse here than I thought. It’s a mess and what’s more it’s a provincial mess. But let me go back. A brief history of 20th-century French fiction. More…

Originally published in Issue 2: Happiness

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14 February 2005

The novel didn’t make any promises. Quite the opposite: it could have scared you off of life. But somehow its congenital unhappiness actually made you want to live. More…

Originally published in Issue 2: Happiness

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13 February 2005

Was theory a gigantic hoax? On the contrary. It was the only salvation, for a twenty year period, from two colossal abdications by American thinkers and writers. From about 1975 to 1995, through a historical accident, a lot of American thinking and mental living got done by people who were French, and by young Americans who followed the French. More…

Originally published in Issue 2: Happiness

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Perhaps it’s like this: You can go through the defense of taste and come out the other side, as if you jumped out the kitchen window into the alley dumpster. There is a kind of fake refinement that turns into a vulgarity baser than any other. It doesn’t come from saying the worst, it comes from deciding what other people can’t say. More…

Originally published in Issue 1: Negation

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The first regression was ethical. Eggersards returned to the claims of childhood. Transcendence would not figure in their thought. Intellect did not interest them, but kids did. Childhood is still their leitmotif. The second regression was technical and stylistic. In typography and tone the Eggersards adopted old innovations, consciously obsolete maneuvers. More…

Originally published in Issue 1: Negation

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