Arnon Grunberg



Ivan Kreilkamp in The New Yorker about the against-essay:

‘We probably cannot do without “Against [X],” however. Self-promoting and self-congratulatory as the form can be, it does offer a bracing dose of rhetorical vigor. In a contemporary intellectual culture that is often pusillanimous in its evenhandedness, a dash of unreasonable invective is sometimes just what the doctor ordered. “Against [X]” is most satisfying when it is most true to its origins in the denunciations of antiquity: when it issues its condemnatory ban on an offending concept with no namby-pamby qualifications. The 2012 Jacobin essay “Against Chairs” may mark the point at which the formula began to enter its self-parodying later phase, but, even so, one must admire the stringency of its author’s condemnation: “Chairs suck. All of them. No designer has ever made a good chair, because it is impossible. Some are better than others, but all are bad.”’

When I was 11 I started a secret society against west wind, but a secret society against chairs may be valuable as well.

There are two against-essays I’m missing in Kreilkamp's essay: Against me. (Memoirs of a self-hating man, with a preface of his wife.)

Against human beings. (A general physician's secret diary.)

(Read Ivan Kreilkamp’s essay here.)

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