paper trail

Carmen Maria Machado on creating a new canon; Alex Pareene on the decline of "rude media"

Carmen Maria Machado. Photo: Art Streiber / AUGUST

Hope Reese talks to Carmen Maria Machado about domestic violence in queer relationships, using fiction in memoir, and her new book, In the Dream House. “As a writer, both books that I have written are books that I wanted that didn’t exist, so I decided to fill that space myself,” she said. “I want 50 more books like this. I want people to write a book and say, ‘In the Dream House was insufficient, and I’m going to rewrite it in my own way.’ I want mine to be a tiny piece of a canon; I want people to feel free to tell their own stories.”

Oprah has chosen Elizabeth Strout’s Olive, Again as her next book club title.

At Literary Hub, Emma Sloley and Emily Raboteau discuss “eco-anxiety, resource hoarding, and the importance of finding the small stories with which to illuminate this moment in time.”

For the New York Times Book Review, Leslie Jamison details her changing perspective on the work of “literary sad women.” “Just as it’s liberating to watch female sadness granted the dignity of complexity on the page — to watch it get angry, get petty, get public — it’s thrilling to witness a surge of books portraying other states of feeling entirely,” she writes. “If sadness once struck me as terminally hip, then I’ve arrived on the far side of 35 with a deepening appreciation for the ways pleasure and satisfaction can become structuring forces of identity as well.”

At the New Republic, Alex Pareene reflects on the decline of “rude media” like Deadspin, Splinter, and Gawker. Pareene traces the roots of “rude” publications from websites like Deadspin, Splinter, and Gawker back to the Village Voice and the early years of Rolling Stone, arguing that their work is an important balance to mainstream outlets that focus on politeness over truth. “The defining quality of rude media is skepticism about power, and a refusal to respect the niceties that power depends on to disguise itself and maintain its dominance,” he writes. “You may not miss the vulgarity itself, but the vulgarity was a stand-in for an entire perspective you will find less and less of in the for-profit press. In the elite press—on cable news, in newspaper opinion sections—you can say the most monstrous things imaginable, as long your language is polite. What you can’t do is rudely express a desire for a more just world.”