“Rachel Cusk and Zadie Smith have become, in effect, literary brands — once their names are removed from the context of a book’s cover and placed on a hat or a tote bag.” Terry Nguyen, New York Times.
The merch machine refuses to die. In fact, I would argue it’s only just getting started. The New York Times recently published this article on literary merch, explaining the relatively new popularity of #litcore caps (and totes and tees) that show allegiance to revered writers while telegraphing the wearer’s (perceived) intellectual superiority. The Guardian calls this “consuming culture as a performative act”, while comedian Dan Rosen simply calls it “liberal cringe” (ouch #guilty).
It’s also rampant in media, with mainstream and niche publications going all out on taste signallers. (more…)