Fold Press have published a long essay of mine, with a new accompanying essay by Steve Hanson.
“A brief history of sacrifice” fuses Bataille with Burial, austerity cuts with public executions, Mauss with Facebook, signing on with the politics of self-immolation. It brings together observations on mental health, debt, wage slavery and alcohol’s consolations into a sharp attack on contemporary culture. Think Walter Benjamin on a night bus in Croydon.
It’s an experimental and dark journey in thought, and given recent events, its publication now as a small book feels apt.
Steve’s accompanying essay is insightful and provocative, and at times mordantly funny. Consider this:
We have lost the old patterns of sacrifice, and tragedy is also a victim. The new tragedy is that when the young read Beckett they see only everyday observation. That, as Dan Latimer pointed out, when they stare into the Heart of Darkness, their hair does not turn grey overnight, they get on with trying to acquire a residence with a double garage. Failure to achieve this status is not tragedy either, but a flawed or less determined character. Tragedy is the return of eugenics in soap opera form. Apollo or Dionysus is no longer the point, when the spreadsheet and the writhing televised sex spectacles exist happily in the same domus. They are now joined at the hip.
This is the second in Fold Press’s Blazer series. The first, “Clocking Off” by Steve Hanson, uses a re-imagining of a post-Brexit utopia to critique the enforced positivity and ‘descriptive fatalism’ of the current moment.
He calls for a collective clocking off, a refusal to participate in an economy that robs our time and labour to service a depressed and unequal society. He imagines a freedom that is not individual but collective. Not a freedom ‘from’, but ‘within’ and ‘for’, defined by care for the environment and for each other, where all are equal in terms of their share of time.
Out of this seething chaos, by refusing ‘realism’ as a thin description of the status quo, we have revolutionised everything.
Visionary in places, caustic in others, it’s an extraordinary essay and one that deserves a wide readership.
You can order both “Clocking Off” and “A Brief History” together for £5 including postage. Otherwise “A Brief History” sells for £4.50 all in. Order information here.