Zine Review: Existential Bullshitery

Keight MacLean,ZINES_existential-p19lmc06jn1bcri7hlbb18a21vu9 keightmaclean@gmail.com, $4

Most people don’t have the privilege of reading any of the thousands of throw­away academic papers written by the undergrads of the world. By MacLean’s own admission, this zine is “an examina­tion of an average exercise in academic bullshittery [they’ve] undertaken all too often during [their] academic career.”

As it turns out, I have a sneaking sus­picion that this text is in fact not so much an examination of said bullshit­tery, but is rather the bullshittery itself in all of its raw unfiltered glory. As a supplement, there are also some pages of collage art that happily reminded me of early 2000s-era computer art.

MacLean uses about 500 words to ex­plain why rural living is “harmful to ex­istential growth,” “eliminates certain feelings of responsibility,” and is a place where “values and ethics are not chal­lenged.” I can hardly think of a more simplistic argument, and I have to as­sume that this can only come from a starry-eyed suburban transplant to the “big city,” not someone from the country. I could be wrong!

I’m only scratching the surface here in terms of taking down an essay full of ridiculous generalizations about both ur­ban and rural life. For the author, it’s as if the only thing standing in the way of both worldwide progressive politics, and universalized individual self-mastery, is the total abolition of rural living (the gi­ant, glaring colonial blind spot is in­tense).

Put simply, the author’s idea of a ho­moegeneous rural population couldn’t possibly include reserves, rural freaks of any kind (and there are many), and gen­erally all the rural people resisting capi­talism, homophobia, racism, and so on. Perhaps this essay could serve as a re­minder for all university students to re­search and/or reach out to new communities before writing about them. (Stéphane Doucet)

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