I’ve just discovered a new imprint: Zero Books. Here is how they describe their philosophy: ‘Contemporary culture has eliminated the concept and public figure of the intellectual. A cretinous anti-intellectualism presides, cheerled by hacks in the pay of multinational corporations who reassure their bored readers that there is no need to rouse themselves from their stupor. Zer0 Books knows that another kind of discourse – intellectual without being academic, popular without being populist – is not only possible: it is already flourishing. Zer0 is convinced that in the unthinking, blandly consensual culture in which we live, critical and engaged theoretical reflection is more important than ever before.’
How interesting! Here is one of their latest titles: One Dimensional Woman by Nina Power. Its description: ‘Where have all the interesting women gone? If the contemporary portrayal of womankind were to be believed, contemporary female achievement would culminate in the ownership of expensive handbags, a vibrator, a job, a flat and a man. Of course, no one has to believe the TV shows, the magazines and adverts, and many don’t. But how has it come to this? Did the desires of twentieth-century women’s liberation achieve their fulfilment in the shopper’s paradise of ‘naughty’ self-pampering, playboy bunny pendants and bikini waxes? That the height of supposed female emancipation coincides so perfectly with consumerism is a miserable index of a politically desolate time. Much contemporary feminism, particularly in its American formulation, doesn’t seem too concerned about this coincidence.
This short book is partly an attack on the apparent abdication of any systematic political thought on the part of today’s positive, up-beat feminists. It suggests alternative ways of thinking about transformations in work, sexuality and culture that, while seemingly far-fetched in the current ideological climate, may provide more serious material for future feminism.’