Zine, A. R. Arvelo McQuaig and C. N. Hubbard, 28 pgs, Deep Madder Press, email@example.com, by donation
It took me a little while to understand what Deep Madder was all about. The title is perhaps intentionally ambiguous, carrying many possible meanings. What I eventually came to understand was that this zine started as something of a coping mechanism to deal with social anxiety, feelings of exclusion, rejection, and alienation. Gradually this evolved into an aesthetic which took on a life of its own, despite changes in the lives of its founders. The amount of care that went into putting together this collection is tremendous, and the editors might joke that this is inversely proportionate to the amount of care that the public gives back. In fact, self-deprecation is perhaps one of the main currencies in this volume.
The results are difficult to describe in so few words. But let me say this: I found the tone towards women to be alarming to say the least, and looked very much forward to the writing later on in the anthology which promised to respond to this (I had peeked forward to articles titled “On Deep Madderian Sexism”, or “The Sequestered Male Gaze” and more).
The editors had to grant that their attitudes towards women included a “subtext of entitlement to female attention, and a pervasive sense of us ‘having been wronged’ by some nebulous conglomeration (or conspiracy) of women” among other things. I shouldn’t fall into the trap of trying to decide on the worthiness or righteousness of their apologies and explanations as a whole. However, I can’t say that I felt satisfied by them, and find this to be neither cause for celebration nor condemnation.
Howver the commitment to self-criticism and introspection in these pages is impressive, and maybe this is their biggest accomplishment – despite the results of this search being sometimes disturbing. (Stéphane Doucet)