state of reviewing books

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Published on: August 11, 2021

An interesting article on the reviewing books and the profession of writers/book reviewers. Like many creative pursuits making a living or making a profession out of it is getting harder and harder. A creative writeup on this here.

A sobering conclusion from the article: “Despite all the odds, good reviews are being written in this wretched era, by staff critics and by freelancers. New, technocratic solutions are proposed every day: billionaire funding, paid newsletters, essays crowdfunded on the Ethereum blockchain, a new patronage system funded by NFTs of GIFs. How grim it all seems. We never really wanted to live in the future. Then again, the history of book reviewing is a history of frustration and disappointment. Why should our era be different? At the very least, we should put an end to the misery. Publications of means, adjust your rates for inflation and pay your writers on time. Publications without, we can do better: Just say no to CTRs (Contemporary Themed Reviews)”.


More from the article here: [The Link]

A good rebuttal from Gawker here: [The Link]

Puts out a clear call to action by reminding what critiscism is about: “If there is a problem with book reviewing the problem is that those of us who are good at it aren’t good enough, there aren’t enough of us, and we aren’t doing a good enough job of expanding the scope of literary discourse, to put it in touch with tradition and open it wide to new writing. I recoil at terms like “thought leader” and “gatekeeper,” but we do have at least the duty of helping to create the culture we want to live in, and that world should be full of infinitely various delights. The imperatives are to be stylish, to be thorough, to be funny, to be generous, and occasionally to be cruel. Boredom, envy, gray skies and gray sentences — these are the things we were born to kill.”


[The Atlantic] The creative class and current state of society

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Published on: August 3, 2021

The emergence of creative class (bobos) has broken the old structures of rich, middle and poor but has lead to a new map of class structure. Pretty good article from David Brooks in The Atlantic called “How the bobos broke America: The creative class was supposed to foster progressive values and economic growth. Instead we got resentment, alienation, and endless political dysfunction”.

The article also talks about failings of modern meritocracy.. Another topic in itself.

Read more of this article here: [The Link]


From the article, below is a summary of the current state of groups, more structured around political orientation.

Blue oligarchy: tech and media executives, university presidents, foundation heads, banking CEOs, highly successful doctors and lawyers.

One step down from the blue oligarchy is the creative class (bobos) itself, a broader leadership class of tenured faculty, established members of the mainstream media, urban and suburban lawyers, senior nonprofit and cultural-institution employees, and corporate managers, whose attitudes largely mirror the blue oligarchs above them, notwithstanding the petty resentments of the former toward the latter

One economic rung below are the younger versions of the educated elite, many of whom live in the newly gentrifying areas of urban America, such as Bedford-Stuyvesant in New York or Shaw in Washington, D.C. More diverse than the elites of earlier generations, they work in the lower rungs of media, education, technology, and the nonprofit sector. Disgusted with how their elders have screwed up the world, they are leading a revolution in moral sentiments.

On the lowest rung of the blue ladder is the caring class, the largest in America (nearly half of all workers, by some measures), and one that in most respects sits quite far from the three above it. It consists of low-paid members of the service sector: manicurists, home health-care workers, restaurant servers, sales clerks, hotel employees.

Red hierarchy is the GOP’s slice of the one-percenters. Some are corporate executives or entrepreneurs, but many are top-tier doctors, lawyers, and other professionals who aspire to low taxes and other libertarian ideals.

One step down are the large property-owning families, scattered among small cities and towns like Wichita, Kansas, and Grand Rapids, Michigan—what we might call the GOP gentry.

Below them is the proletarian aristocracy, the people of the populist regatta: contractors, plumbers, electricians, middle managers, and small-business owners.

A level below the people of the populist regatta, you find the rural working class. Members of this class have highly supervised jobs in manufacturing, transportation, construction. Their jobs tend to be repetitive and may involve some physical danger.

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