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Like This or Die


What gets lost in the age of the algorithm

Though we live in a politically factious era, our cultural landscape is dominated by consensus, where even the New York Times publishes top-books lists and must-see-TV listicles in place of measured criticism. What do we lose by squaring art away into tidy monoculture? In his cover story for the April issue, Christian Lorentzen calls upon anyone who enjoys serious literature to push back against feed-based culture: “The edifice of ‘books coverage’ that has been constructed around the work of critics looks a lot like the coverage of television—a tissue of lists, recommendations, profiles, Q&As, online book clubs, lifestyle features, and self-promotional essays by authors of new books—an edifice so slapdash it could be blown away in a week.”

In this week’s episode, Lorentzen talks with web editor Violet Lucca about how digital culture has fallen short of its cultural promise, why fans are drowning out the critics, and the false allure of imposing order upon the infinite world of literature.

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