It was with great sadness that the international literary community learned of the passing of the British critic Mark Fisher over the weekend. (See the thoughtful note here). Fisher was best known for his 2009 book Capitalist Realism, an instant classic that sought to diagnose the new affective maladies of financialized market society.
I did not know Fisher, but due to some accidents of history, I did a lot of my early education in critical theory while participating in unusual musical projects that looked to Great Britain as a spiritual homeland. Reading The Wire, a magazine that was the bible of this aesthetic sub-world, I became a big fan of Fisher’s writing. Fisher continued his hybrid research projects at a great blog called K-Punk, which I also followed avidly. I wish I had sent a fan letter at some point, and will try to remember to tell the strangers whose writing I love that I love their writing.
I felt a special affinity with Fisher, too, because he was a left intellectual who wrestled publicly with depression, and I, too, struggle with that. Honest writers who share their reflections on mental illness are, to my mind, a special class of heroes and heroines. For those of us who negotiate with these conditions, it may be especially important to fight the impulse to secrecy and try to be public with our difficulties, standing, as we are, on the precipice of what promises to be a moment of despair and stigmatization. If there is a way for that discussion to happen here, I would like to facilitate it. In a small way, maybe, that would be a way to honour Fisher’s memory.
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