Keight MacLean, email@example.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)