Feelings. We’ve all had them. Lincoln Mitchell’s A Feeling Artist does something to skewer the (often) skewered humanities in a way that we can all enjoy. Pitching a world where feelings are art and that there are people who perform emotions for crowds to react to. It’s an argument for theatrical catharsis on the scale of stand-up comedians. The story does well to highlight something though in that we (me, here, every Friday) spend our time doing: finding the subtext to fiction (and media) that is meant to illuminate the world within. And how it can be lost amongst the theorising.
Ultimately, making a dent in others lives with the emotions you feel and then put on paper, can often be one of the least effective vehicles. Instead, in this story, the boyfriend of our protagonist find his university love — feelings — and takes it online, doing historical feelings for his audience on Twitch.
Here’s the opening:
There is the expected argument between highbrow and lowbrow, and how this means nothing — really — other than each demands the body in different ways. One in the form of the aesthetic performance of social media, and the other in the form of commitment from the body to be the art. Like CA Conrad sometimes says, the ritual must include the whole body — although I am not sure they would differentiate between the two.
Interestingly, this was in the Paris Review. In some way I suppose the knowing self-referential culture of the internet is built from that of academia and universities, and by extension the typically monied reader of the Paris Review. It is funny to read clickbait Buzzfeed titles in such a magazine, parodying the mainstream culture they are outside of.
Thanks for reading Etch to their own. It was written by Christopher John Eggett, a man with fingers who occasionally leans on a keyboard in really lucky way. Sorry this one was short, but I have been awake for far too many hours this week, I owe you a word each. Please feel free to reply to this with the world you would like me to include in the next issue. ❤