Perhaps we are in a revolution and perhaps we are not. It is sometimes hard to tell. Of course, that can’t always be the case, especially in revolutions that are full of violence or bloodshed, but there must be revolutions that we don’t see or don’t notice or don’t totally acknowledge. Or on the flip side, there are events that we are too quick to call by that name, when actually they aren’t really anything at all, except steps in a long and drawn out series of accidents.
You will find in this issue of the LA Review of Books Quarterly Journal, writers who define revolution in many different ways. In some cases, the revolution is banal — it is people walking back and forth in an office building; the unchanging nature of bureaucracy stays as strong as ever. In others, it is a matter of violence, death, and a forcible redefinition of the self. In others, it is hopeful, long overdue, a sign of better things to come, and a reassuring move in the teleological progress of the world. I find this diversity of definition heartening in itself. What are we if not adaptive creatures? Thank god we don’t get sick from the interminable spinning of the world. In fact, we depend on it. Revolution should not be the part that is frightening or unfamiliar; it should be all we know. We should be afraid instead of stagnation and stillness. Standing water festers. You wouldn’t drink it, why let it cover your face and your head, and why let yourself sink?
Editor in Chief, Quarterly Journal