What Is This?
Everything Is Broken is a virtual home for some of the writings and thoughts on culture, politics, and life itself by author and cultural critic Seth Rogovoy.
Everything Is Broken (formerly Reflections & Illuminations) is a kind of open journal I’m keeping online, where I will discuss and explore a wide variety of topics, including the books I’m reading, the movies I’m watching, and the thoughts I’m thinking.
It’s where I will share random thoughts of a line or two or full-length essays and reviews, or something in between.
It’s where readers will find my original work that isn’t published elsewhere online or in print, although I will certainly post links to stories of mine published elsewhere — in The Forward or in Chronogram, to name just two publications to which I frequently contribute.
It’s where I may publish a rant after something I read in the news, or something I encounter in the public realm (or the private realm, for that matter), sets me off.
Everything Is Broken is where I hope you will meet me halfway and offer your thoughtful replies and responses to what I’ve written, in the hopes that we can explore more through discussion.
For starters, the Everything Is Broken newsletter will be published 1-2 times a week.
A basic subscription to Everything Is Broken is free. At some point in the near future I will be introducing a paid version that will include all the free content plus additional features available only to paid subscribers.
OK, but what will you be writing about?
The title of this publication is Everything Is Broken, which gives a hint at what I’ll be writing.
More specifically, I’m going to break it down into several sub-threads. These will include but not be limited to Reflections, Illuminations, Fragments, and Vessels.
Reflections will contain commentary inspired by politics and news of the world, from around the corner to around the globe.
Illuminations will be dedicated to reviews, critiques, and discussions of all things cultural: books, films, TV, music, art, dance, performance, and anything else that seems to fit this category. I plan to write about new works and old works alike.
Fragments will feature a basket of creative writings, including journal entries, manifestos, aphorisms, rants, lists, questions, answers, questions without answers, answers to questions never asked, plus a whole lot more.
Vessels will be home to discussion about Jewish topics: Judaism, synagogue life, mysticism (Kabbalah), history, prayer, anti-Semitism, and Israel, to name just a few.
There will be more threads to come, including The Power of Positive Pessimism, about which I will say more later.
For now, all of these threads will be free to all subscribers.
Eventually, some of these threads, or some new threads, will be available to paying subscribers only.
OK, but who the hell are you?
I am a freelance writer, book author, cultural critic, columnist, radio commentator, and producer.
My books include Bob Dylan: Prophet Mystic Poet (Scribner, 2009) and The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover’s Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul Music (Algonquin, 2000). My next book is Within You Without You: Listening to George Harrison, due from Oxford University Press in early 2024.
For more than three decades, my work has appeared in the English-language national Jewish newsweekly, the Forward, where I am a contributing editor.
I was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of Berkshire Living, a culture and lifestyle magazine, for its entire run from 2004 to 2011. For sixteen years before that, I served as the Berkshire Eagle’s popular music critic, writing about rock, jazz, folk, world music and other related topics.
For a more complete biography, please click here.
Is this yet another outlet for your music reviews or your writing about Bob Dylan?
Well, yes, I’m sure I will occasionally mention or discuss Bob Dylan (if you don’t already know, I wrote a book about the Nobel Prize-winning rock poet called BOB DYLAN: Prophet Mystic Poet, which is still available wherever books are sold — or ordered).
And, yes — this newsletter derives its name from a Bob Dylan song of the same title.
And I will always be writing about music, new and old.
But I am just as likely to reference Haruki Murakami or Patti Smith as I am Bob Dylan. Or Martin Amis and Zadie Smith, Paul Auster and Franz Kafka, Karl Ove Knausgaard and Edvard Munch, Richard Ford and Janis Joplin, the Beatles and the Clash, Georges Perec and Walter Benjamin, and on and on….
But I already subscribe to The Rogovoy Report. How is this different?
The Rogovoy Report weekly e-blast is primarily a curated aggregation of news, feature, and opinion stories from across the Internet that I did not write (although I typically link to my own columns when they are published elsewhere on the web). It’s the stuff by others I read that I think you’ll want to read, too. (You should subscribe!)
Everything Is Broken is a newsletter devoted in its entirety to my own writing, tailored to and for the Substack platform. (If you don’t know what that means you’re just as well off, and you really have no need to know.)
Sure, I will occasionally or even frequently comment on the news and link to stuff that got me thinking or that I think you’ll want to read. But that won’t be the emphasis of this newsletter.
To find out more about the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.