paper trail

Michelle Goldberg on culture, status, and boredom; Robin D. G. Kelley on Black anti-work politics

Michelle Goldberg

In the latest issue of Lux magazine, an interview with Robin D. G. Kelley about Black anti-work politics. Asked about his definition of anti-work, Kelley says, “I don’t mean resistance to work or labor per se. I mean resistance to wage labor alienation, proletarianization, and misery. Fighting the routinization of work means fighting a division of labor that isn’t our own.”  

For Alta magazine, Jim Ruland considers Thomas Pynchon’s novel Inherent Vice. Ruland writes that while the book has often been panned by critics, it offers a “skeleton key” to the elusive author’s work. He travels to the International Pynchon Week conference in Vancouver to find out more.  

In Astra, Madelaine Lucas reviews Rosemary Tonks’s novel The Bloater. Lucas points out that one of the book’s central questions is, “Might the visceral provocations of desire and disgust . . . have something in common?”

Michelle Goldberg writes a New York Times op-ed about why culture has become boring. She meditates on a forthcoming book, David Marx’s Status and Culture, that ties cultural creation to a desire for social status and explains how the internet has changed that dynamic, writing, “People are, obviously, no less obsessed with their own status today than they were during times of fecund cultural production. It’s just that the markers of high social rank have become more philistine.”   

The New York Times has announced the first class of New York Times Corps, a program for college students to learn from advisers at the publication.