This is a very smart zine in a self-conscious and humble package. It is a series of letters to an editor of a publication that seems to be called Letters to the Letter Editor. It opens by addressing itself as an anachronism — why would anyone write a letter to a newspaper editor and wait for it to be published when they could write an online comment instead and see it posted instantaneously?
The booklet has the feel of a classic zine. There is so much black ink used, including some pages of straight opaque blackness, that I have to think that the production of this work pissed off some owner of a copy shop somewhere. The letters are cut and pasted line by line over backdrops of black and white doodles. The look and style is perfectly suited to the content: the issue of the online/offline divide is addressed in almost every letter. Often, this is a stressful idea. No one wants to feel obsolete and analogue in the digital world. But being an avatar on the internet is depersonalizing and potentially alienating.
One letter reads, “I have a fear about the nature of engagement online. I mean this in the sense that these engagements are more disposable and throwaway than what we discuss face to face. I dislike that there is reference to posts and memes in conversation. The ownership of these images and posts feels like it is credited to an online zeitgeist rather than a person or source.” Anxiety about authenticity and anonymity fill the pages of LTLE, making it very contemporary.
I would recommend this deceptively lighthearted yet very serious zine to anyone wondering how zines and photocopies fit in to our increasingly screen-based and at-a-distance existence. (Neal Armstrong)