This year sees the Golden Jubilee of Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Both are darkly pessimistic texts that speak to our times. They pinpoint the shortcomings of the 1960s generation as much as embody its utopian desires. They transmit a strange optimism, a backdoor sense of hope, and offer another take on what our lives might be.
In this essay Andy Merrifield, author of The Amateur, looks at the importance of these texts on their 50th Anniversary.
This piece originally appeared in Jacobin. Modernism in the Streets and all available books by Marshall Berman are 40% off until Saturday April 29th at midnight UTC. Click here to activate your 40% discount.
In the early 1990s, when I first met Marshall Berman, he told me he was working on a book called Living for the City — “after the Stevie Wonder song.”
Andy Merrifield pays tribute to John Berger, who passed away aged 90 on 2 January 2017.
John died yesterday. I’ll remember his voice, his laugh, his charm and generosity. His words. Stripped-down words, mystical and carefully chosen words, earthy words, fierce words. They’ll always grab us, make us think, feel and act, piss people off. To weep for John is to weep on the shoulder of life. Remember him, gazing up at Aesop, in front of Velázquez’s great canvas?
He’s intimidating, he has a kind of arrogance. A pause for thought. No, he’s not arrogant. But he doesn’t suffer fools gladly. The presence of Aesop refers to nothing except what he has felt and seen. Refers to no possessions, to no institutions, to no authority or protection. If you weep on his shoulder, you’ll weep on the shoulder of his life. If you caress his body, it will recall the tenderness it knew in childhood.
John didn’t suffer fools gladly, either.