When blogs started becoming a thing my attitude towards them was the same as the high-school football coach warning his players off girls: don’t waste your energy, save it for the big game.
But in writing, in journalism, there is no big game anymore. No magazine dominates even a part of the cultural conversation, no steady print appearances guarantee a career. Writers who used to battle with editors over changes in their copy now find themselves engaged in a battle to get to write in the first place. Living under the tyranny of clicks, editors are eager for the hot take—which, leaving no time for reflection, is usually the wrong one—eager not to stir up readers with anything too controversial, reluctant to allow writers to tell readers about some forgotten artist or artifact they, the writer, has discovered and loved. And because the memory of digital culture is about as lasting as Margaret Dumont’s memory of the wisecrack Groucho just sprung on her, a writer who discovers meaning in some book or movie or record of the past is almost guaranteed not to be able to find a place to let him or her write on it. If it’s past, it’s dead, vanished from consciousness. And so a medium that was supposed to provide a new outlet has become a model of corporatization far beyond the print media it replaced. Yes, the internet has given space to dozens of new voices, the majority of which remind you of Fran Lebowitz’s remark that democracy is a great idea in society and a terrible one in culture.
Crackers in Bed is going to be my attempt to make my corner of the Internet work in the way we were told it was going to work. It will be my space to write on what intrigues me, delights me, angers me. To write about what I think isn’t being noticed—or noticed and got wrong—and to write about what I think instead of what I’m told I should think. I’m going to cover movies, books, music, politics, whatever bee has strayed pleasingly—or annoyingly—into my bonnet that week. It may occasionally be a home for an older piece that’s slipped into the ether and I think is worth saving. The plan is to give you, the reader—and, I hope, the subscriber—two pieces a month.
If you like what I do, please consider becoming a subscriber.
Charles’s Substack is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.