That summer seems long ago now. At the time I couldn’t write it down. I read accounts by people who experienced the fires and those in cities affected by poor air quality and had a writer’s guilt that I should be part of the conversation.
On Being A Precedent
Every time I hear the words new normal I feel a recoil, swift and small and deep within my belly. I hate how normal we find the idea of normal, how many other narratives and experiences and people it excludes and elides and diminishes. I hate how often it’s assumed that normal is something we only ever choose not to be, rather than something that rejects us regardless of whether or not (and consciously or not) we try to mould ourselves to fit. And I hated, at the beginning of the pandemic, how each time I heard the phrase the only thing that I could think was this:
For me, new normal is old news.
The Ten Thousand Things
I am supposed to be writing this essay, ostensibly on technology, but the rooms of the house become a labyrinth, a game of snakes and ladders, a ten thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle in which I am apt to forget my task or purpose.
A Brief History of Outdoor Knowledge Work
It might strike today’s readers as curious that for a period in the twenty-first century some people could work on their computers in any location they happened to choose, using a global computer network called ‘the internet’.
The day Jack was born, the hospital had begun to disallow visitors to the maternity wards and, in the following week, all face-to-face postnatal health visits and healthcare checks would be cancelled or transferred to online consultations. Covid-19 had been seeding in the UK for weeks already, and by mid-March, the models suggested that infections were doubling every two to four days. Contact tracing and community testing had been abandoned the week that Jack was born because of ‘widespread community transmission.’ Tens of thousands of people were being infected every single day.
Capital Is Dead: Is This Something Worse?
by McKenzie Wark
Published October, 2019
Capital Is Not Dead
To insist upon the death of the old and the arrival of the new is to enact a kind of modernist shock tactic. For Wark, this kind of catalytic move is necessary because our ways of describing capitalism as capitalism have become their own kind of ideological mechanism, a substitute for thought and a preventative against action.
Fascists Among Us: Online Hate and the Christchurch Massacre
by Jeff Sparrow
Jeff Sparrow’s book was written and published within nine months of the shootings, and so provides a contemporaneous picture of the extreme right in 2019 in a world where things are rapidly changing. The immediacy of the book means that it is a journalistic investigation of why the shootings occurred – but is also a call to arms for anti-racists and anti-fascists in the face of the threat of right-wing violence, both in Australia and overseas. With the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement across the globe and right-wing concern about ‘antifa’, Sparrow’s book, alongside works like Mark Bray’s Antifa, is a useful guide to the problems that anti-fascists and anti-racists are up against, as well as how they are to be confronted.
A Measure of Distance
As public awareness of the virus grows, the media dictates new territories of knowledge, airing the collective voices of isolation and helplessness in the face of rising human losses. In the charting of statistics and updates, a new hyper-present emerges in which the writer’s task of imagining new worlds feels awkward, subject to a field of speculation shaped by cycles of news, all vying for the best truth, the most profitable predictions. I come to rely less on reading and believing, and more on observing metaphors and making notes on transmission and contagion like a scientist whose detachment still allows for curiosity and the possibility of change.