Mineshaft Magazine

“March 20, 2021 UPDATE:   Mineshaft #40, with beautiful Front & Back Cover art & design by R. Crumb, is at the printer & coming this Spring, 2021!!! PLUS new work by Robert Crumb, Sophie Crumb, Drew Friedman, Laure Boin, Bill Griffith, Christoph Mueller, Mary Fleener, Max Clotfelter, Robert Armstrong, Denis Kitchen, Rika Deryckere, Aleksandar Zograf, John Porcellino, a GIANT Letters section, Mineshaft Index (#31-40) & More!   Mineshaft #39 is HERE! Featuring out-of-this-world front cover art by Christoph Mueller & back cover art by Robert Crumb!   Many MINESHAFT back issues will be sold out soon…

Mineshaft Magazine is the closest thing I’ve seen to a 1960s style underground comics magazine that is still being published.

A New Samizdat

“What if now were the time for a new self-publishing here at home — a new samizdat? The time to create a new, parallel communications network and a fresh system for information sharing? A parallel network and a fresh system owned not by commercial interests — so Twitter, Facebook, Medium, and other seemingly “self-publishing” platforms can’t factor in here — nor by the state or the government, but by the very people who create and maintain them, part of a widening nonprofit, non-commercial ecosystem. Václav Havel spoke of the battle of first and second cultures as an epic contest between “an anonymous, soulless, immobilizing (‘entropic’) power,” on the one hand, and “life, humanity, being, and its mystery,” on the other. [5] Fellow dissidents spoke of samizdat’s second culture as “the only meaningful construction” people could create if they did not want “to remain passive appendices of the political and social structures created by the ruling power.” [6] They signaled each other as they wrote, distributed, and published — from the smallest codes, of the kinds that the Encyclopédistes used, to the largest and, also like the Encyclopédie, most earth-shattering. [7] Solzhenitsyn spoke of the mystical wisdom of a process in which information that is urgent somehow rises to the top. Samizdat, Solzhenitsyn wrote, “knows what is what.” [8]

-Peter B. Kaufman, “Freethinkers Versus the Monsterverse: An Excerpt from ‘The New Enlightenment.'” Los Angeles Review of Books. February 23, 2021

This is one of the motivations behind my use of a blog and stripping out advertising. But, this points to a much fuller conception. Should I be making ‘zines, podcasts, create a video channel? It all sounds very exhausting. But, at minimum, I’m not going to spend my time helping the feudal Internet hit their revenue targets with what passes as my commentary.

Processed World

“Are You Doing the Processing, or Being Processed?”

—Slogan of Processed World

Processed World was part zine, part street theater, part forum for college educated temp workers serving as grist for the machines of capitalism. The first issue was published in April 1981, at the dawn of the “information age” and explored its underside. The early 1980s were its hay day, but there were occasional “special issues”, like this on-point question from the 2001 issue, which is just as relevant now as it was then:

“What happens when pressure to work longer and harder constrains non-work life? When lunch breaks are shorter, less convivial, or simply an excuse to slip in more work? When fast food isn’t deemed fast enough, so we “drivethru,” take out, and dine alone, en route, as tens of millions of Americans now do everyday?

What becomes of imagination when we entertain, read, vacation, play, sleep (and, in consequence, dream)less? What happens to personal life when, as time-managment authors now advise, we schedule weekend “appointments” to garden, to have brunch or “romance,” or to meet with family to review the “domestic agenda”

What happens to work itself when, to get more done, we go at several tasks simultaneously?