Photos and video from the first Here Be Monsters event in London
So good to be there. Currently writing from my brother's S London breakfast table where I am at p39 of your book. Superb, clear, concise, funny compassionate - so far! Congrats on a great launch.
Sounds like a great trip - congrats!
I’m very curious about how your conversation with Gordon White will pan out.
So glad my foot made it into the video :). It was fabulous being there and meeting you in person, Rhyd, plus lovely husband and lovely sister. Hoping the trip to Bristol will work out.
Coincidentally, I just saw this linked on an email and it feels very relevant (good old JP).
Keep speaking out and encouraging and helping the rest of us to become more articulate too!
Hurrah! Congratulations on such a well-attended launch! And so glad you and Caro got to meet in the flesh at last.
If there's a positive version of FOMO - an overall sense of gladness that this event happened - then that's more or less what I feel on reading about it. Excellent stuff.
Get ready Baby, you're about to break big. This is so very much the necessary message for this moment! So happy and thrilled for you.
Identity seems to me to be one of the greatest straitjackets imaginable, even the concept of multiple identities. How could anyone want to self-limit in such a way? But I can see that focussing on Identity rather than Class and Capitalism might seem to offer certain groups more traction now that the "Working Classes" have become so entranced by the spectacles of Bread & Circuses there is no way they would freely give them up.
I finished the book last night and loved it. A lot of the ideas were already swirling around my head but with much less clarity so I thank you for that! That's funny, I was pointed to your work through Caroline Ross. Glad you are saying what needs to be said
Halfway through (reading slower than I normally do because reasons) and agreeing with all the observations so far (there are certain nuances specific to the Eastern European vantage point, but they’re not fundamental, nor do they refute any of the points made in the book). Really enjoying the way the theory and analysis are punctuated by vivid personal experience tableaux, too. Thanks!
Just bought the e-book -- if the cancel mobs are upset, it has to be good. Do you think literary cancel culture has hit bottom yet? I'm not sure how they could fall any further than the ruckus over Elizabeth Gilbert and Russia, which I wrote about this past summer, but you never know.
Do you always wear your headphones backwards?
Good work on the launch.
What's interesting to me about the social justice takeover of publishing is that it's far from being a problem only for self-identified leftist political outfits. It's virtually the whole publishing industry. Most publishers are apolitical, but staffed by university-educated upper middle class people who lean left-liberal just because that's what people in their class setting do. They will all be reflexively pro-BLM/trans/open borders/whatever without really thinking about it. In my experience this is more of a class/groupthink/safety-in-numbers thing than any sense of real commitment. Most people become publishers just because they like books.
But what that means is that when the online mobs began to rise, as soon as these people felt the pressure they caved. Nobody wanted to look right wing/racist/fascist/phobic/etc. So now they all have pronouns in their bios and statements on their websites about their white privilege, even if all they publish is cookbooks.
Something else I've noticed is the generation gap. The older people - my generation and above (Gen X and Boomers) - tend to be liberalish and broadly committed to pre-revolutionary values which are now Deeply Problematic, such as free speech and tolerance of opposing views. But those people are now pressured from below by 20-something performative communists busting their balls for being Nazis if they publish Jordan Peterson.
My experience of cancellation attempts (I'm collecting them) has been that a large part of the problem is the weakness of the liberals and the established organisations, as much as the fanaticism of the woke. If publishers, agents, people who run magazines, poetry foundations, writing academies and the rest of them were to take a stand for genuine diversity of viewpoints and freedom of expression, they could collectively tell the woke children where to get off. But that would take courage and most of them just want to keep their heads down and pay the mortgage. So they give in every time, like over-permissive parents.
Speaking of optimism though, there are more and more anti-woke, or just non-woke, publishers popping up now. I think that, in the end, true writing will come through. It could be that in a decade's time nobody will admit to ever having believed this nonsense, just as you can't find a white South African now who ever supported aprtheid. Here's hoping!