Unconsumable Culture

Billionaires of Time

Billionaires of Time

A life where your Main Thing is now your Only Thing

Lockdown has sharpened my awareness of something I barely noticed before: the many opportunities that my previous life provided for escape. More specifically, the almost gracious way that society was set up to allow me, and many others, to slip from one role into another and another as the day rolled by. This flow strikes me as distinctively modern. And it is gone now, temporarily. The heterogenous, compartmentalized life of before is replaced with a life where your Main Thing is now your Only Thing.

The Influence of Anxiety

The Influence of Anxiety

I, I, I, I, I, I: the eternal song of anxiety.

Sequestered with my family, surrounded by disease, embedded, clearly and undeniably, in History—in the shared consequences of politics, pathology, and plain old fate—I wish to see and feel my anxiety not as my own, not at all as my own, but as ours. The city’s. The country’s. The world’s. The time’s. One unmistakable sign that I want this is that now when I write about my own anxiety, I do feel shame. I feel shame like a warning, like a threat.

Remainder

Remainder

I have done this before, I will do this again

This morning the surgeon saws off her arm. No one stops him. No one comes to kiss her head. Perhaps she makes a joke of it before she falls asleep—but, of course she does—and they all laugh. Secretly, in her hospital bed, knees folded up, bleach-white sheets, palming a small mirror, she puts on a dab of lipstick before they wheel her in. That’s what she jokes about. All dolled up to go to the operating theater, darling! Don’t cut off the wrong one!

Law of Opposites

Law of Opposites

Instagram is crowded with skaters no one’s heard of pulling off tricks so hard they don’t even look cool

Verso offers no conscious political argument, although Suciu does follow Verso Books on Instagram. Still, the parallel is appealing. Is there an esoteric or intriguing association or parallel between aesthetic radicals and political radicals? They work in separate spheres, but both position themselves simultaneously as students of and dissenters to their respective traditions.

Working Through

Working Through

On Vigdis Hjorth and the incest novel

Why did this story in particular of loss and violation raise such a tumult in me? I’ve been no stranger to them. Bergljot keeps referring to some Danish film I’d never heard of, called Festen. For me, it was finding my mother’s copy of The God of Small Things when I was maybe twelve or thirteen, reading it over and over since, the similarities between my own family and the family in the novel becoming ever clearer. Some parts, even thinking about them as I write this, are seared into me, even now, they send currents thrilling through my electrified blood.

Bright Leaf

Bright Leaf

It was very odd. I felt that I was in a sensory-deprivation tank. Part of that was being in a nicotine-deprivation tank, but there was more to it. My day had no shape. None of my activities made any sense, because my life had become unstructured, as if it were one long, run-on sentence. I had no excuse for getting away from people, and I realized that much of my delight in smoking had to do with the ready escape it provided. Boring dinner party? Endless-seeming movie? Argument with the sweetheart? Cigarettes solved these problems.