There were a number of reasons to be skeptical when I arrived at a very expensive bar in Fort Greene to talk with Benjamin Kunkel about Utopia or Bust, his new collection of introductory essays about contemporary leftist theorists, ranging from the literary critic Fredric Jameson to the anthropologist and prominent Occupy personality David Graeber. The most obvious reason to be skeptical was that we were meeting at a very expensive bar in Fort Greene to talk about Marxism. “An important part of Marxism is blaming others,” Kunkel said—explaining that this bar was the suggestion of a friend. “At least, in good proletarian fashion, we’re just eating French fries.”[...]
Sometimes young people get in trouble for talking to the trashy media, or for writing first-person essays. Then everyone gets all upset and exercised. So it is, so it has been for some time. Ask May Marcy McClellan, who scandalized Europe by talking smack about the Italians—and became the launching-off point for a Henry James novel.