To those casually acquainted with the bad-boy bohemianism of Floyd Dell, the literary radical and “prose laureate of Greenwich Village” may seem an example of the idealist who is better at theory than at practice—like Thomas Jefferson on slavery. Or, in feminist terms, he seems an early example of a declared male ally who is a better friend of women’s equality than of women themselves.
Hey, it’s our play issue, in which David Graeber hopscotches over the robotic universe of contemporary science and winds up inventing a new law of reality. Barbara Ehrenreich calls for a science that can explain why fun is fun. John Summers reports from “The People’s Republic of Zuckerstan”—once known as the liberal community of Cambridge, Massachusetts, now a playground for startup science and tech professionals. Gene Seymour rescues science fiction from the warped real-world utopias of certain plutocratic cybervisionaries. Andrew Bacevich dances on the grave of Tom Clancy, the recently departed hack thriller writer. Ian Bogost analyzes the addiction economy lurking behind cutting-edge free-to-play videogames, while Rhonda Lieberman walks us through the trophy rooms of leisure-class art hoarders.
And that’s only the half of it. Look here for head-spinning salvos by Chris Lehmann, Susan Faludi, William T. Vollmann, George Scialabba, and Heather Havrilesky on history, politics, feminism, and literature. Anne Elizabeth Moore makes sport of Vice magazine. Alex Pareene practices journalism on the New York Times’ DealBook. Fiction by Paul Maliszewski and J. Wagner; short prose by Jaron Lanier, Gabriel Zaid, and Erik Simon; poetry by Thomas Sayers Ellis; and hilarious graphic art by Brad Holland, Mark Dancey, and David McLimans, who gave us the cover. Not to win or lose the game, but to be free of the system of winners and losers—that’s the spirit.
Feminism is going to make it possible for the first time for men to be free. At present the ordinary man has the choice between being a slave and a scoundrel. That’s about the way it stands. For the ordinary man is prone to fall in love and marry and have children. Also the ordinary man frequently has a mother. He wants to see them all taken care of, since they are unable to take care of themselves. Only if he has them to think about, he is not free.