"We were on a break!"

not just a Ross line on Friends

Me and this Substack were on a break, too.

It’s still true that the arts need a labor movement, which is the central theme of this thing, and that the professional managerial class running our industries belongs in Hell.

Also true that we should all more often ask ourselves:

“Why are so many of my artist friends immiserated while their agencies get richer by the year?”

“Why is liberalism, as we know it, harder on artists and writers than on corrupt ghouls who buy their way out of professional consequences by hiring consultants?”

There is no leftism, no social justice of any kind, without socialism.

On the other hand, the older I get (I mean in a hot way, I’m still hot), the less I want to talk about My Ideas, and the less I want anyone to know about my inner life. Or outer life. I’d write exclusively in punchlines if I could.

And no one who laugh-cries her balls off at the Friends reunion should be writing seriously on socialism.

So from now on this is a newsletter of recommendations. It was always kind of headed that way. In that spirit, if you read, see or hear something important about political economy and culture, or if you want to write something yourself, hit me up. Help me reach my goal of becoming as disembodied as possible.

Forthcoming is an essay on theatre and mutual aid by Molly Hagan. It’s so easy to get brainwashed by institutions when you work in theatre, because plays are such a collaborative and expensive enterprise. You become dependent on certain structures to put your work up, and you convince yourself those structures make practical and moral sense. It’s a deadening cycle of rationalization and compromise, and there’s every existential incentive, it would seem, to stay stuck. Molly argues brilliantly for shocking ourselves out of that sense of dependence and imagining a way forward.

Til then, here’s a smattering of cool things I came across in the first half of 2021.

  1. Thunder Bay podcast, and a good interview with its creators, John Thompson and Ryan McMahon, about telling indigenous stories and taking on massive power structures

  2. Novelist Brontez Burnell on writing after rage, and his new novel 100 Boyfriends

  3. Briahna Joy Gray and Virgil Texas interviewing Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant

  4. Artist/journalist Molly Crabapple on witnessing Guantanamo

  5. Azealia Banks on big tech and consumer capitalism. “What are you trying to do, get rid of all the souls?”

The Friends reunion is as garish as it sounds but in spite of itself will plunge you back into the raptures of girlhood with a brutality that blurs all distinctions between the spiritual and the erotic.