Book Notes: Elizabeth Taylor’s Angel

Friends, rejoice at these good tidings: I have discovered a wonderful and unfairly forgotten author. I came across Elizabeth Taylor’s name (no relation to the actress) in Rafael Chirbes’s diaries. Chirbes speaks of Taylor with such admiration that I had to check her out. Of course, it turned out that Chirbes was absolutely right. Taylor’s writing is superb. Every word in her novel Angel is absolutely delicious.

Angel Deverell, the protagonist of the novel, is a writer of vulgar, verbose, yet very popular novels. Taylor’s own extremely restrained and tasteful writing style offers a hilarious contrast with Angel’s pompous scribblings. A lot more interesting than Angel’s books is her personality. She’s the most absurd, stubborn, and clueless person in existence. The novel traces Angel’s life from adolescence to old age, and in spite of the woman’s narcissism and absurdity, it’s hard not to get attached to her.

Taylor is a mid-twentieth-century British writer. It’s extraordinary that somebody this talented was mostly forgotten. If you have no time, I recommend reading at least a couple of random pages by her. Every word she uses is so precise, so needed that reading becomes pure joy.

Elon’s Academia

I don’t know why everybody is so aflutter regarding what Elon Musk is doing with Twitter. This is very typical neoliberal austerity. It’s exactly what’s happening at my university.

The way it always happens is that there’s a real or manufactured budget crisis, which is invariably blamed on the workers who are told they are guilty of existing. Workers are berated for being lazy, low-quality, racist/sexist/phobic and non-diverse. The strategy is to fire most of them and force the remaining few to do the work of the fired people.

Then things stop working, neoliberals pout, and go wreck something else.

What I find curious is that our far-left university administrator and the somewhat right-wingish Elon are acting in such an identical way. The only difference (which is no difference at all) is that one 🕐 them repeats the word “racism” every 3 seconds.