Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Penny Red – Notes from the New Age of Dissent
By Laurie Penny
Pbck. £12.99
Pluto Press

Since her blogs form the front line of the student demos in 2010 and her column in the New Statesman, Laurie Penny has becomes the unofficial voice of the recent youth rebellion. This is a selection of her published blogs and articles.

She writes with a visceral, often unrefined, but eloquent style, full of righteous indignation. She encapsulates the frustrations and anger of a generation abandoned by the political elite, those being forced to pay for the mess these and the bankers have created.

Her reporting from the thick of the student demos of 2010 is reporting at its very best, conveying the fear, exhilaration and blow-by-blow chronology of events, while also reflecting on their significance. It is not the refined and honed journalism as written from the comfort of a newsroom or TV studio; it is raw and clearly experienced first-hand. She provides an antidotal and revelatory narrative to the ‘mindless thugs’ put-down of the mainstream media.

Penny is foremost a feminist and a number of articles here confront the commodification of sex in our society. She demolishes the idea of phenomena like burlesque and lap-dancing as empowering women. They only serve to objectivise and define women as sexual objects. She demonstrates time and again how capitalism warps the values and ethical base of society. You may not agree with everything she says, but her commitment, her passion and anger, but also understanding of what is cancerous in our present society cannot be questioned. Her succinct take on the infatuation with princesses and the adulation of Kate Middleton is exemplary. ‘She is the perfect modern-day princess,’ she writes, ‘in that she appears essentially void of personality, a dress-up dolly for the age of austerity.’

This book is an invaluable commentary on our times. If Penny doesn’t get sucked into the circles of the comfortable commentariat, she promises to become one of the best journalists of this era.

No comments:

Post a Comment