On the Death of Stuart Hall

Stuart Hall is gone.

There isn’t much for me to say. It is hard to speak of an absence felt so clearly that it becomes present — Stuart Hall’s death is less the loss of a person and more the solidification of a legacy being written in the firmament that is the study of people and their culture. It has always been rare to be remembered as greater than you were, but what else can we do in the case of Hall? He took abstracted capital-T Theory, reduced it, clarified it, and made it both accessible and absolutely necessary for innumerable fields. Who has had a further reaching effect across space, in material and minds, throughout their life? He did what every single critical academic dreams of doing — he made his ideas appear so correct and irresistible that they changed the space of what could be thought, to what end, and for whom. He gave every one of us tools for reading and writing that could be turned around and used as weapons, a great revolt of the masses that assaulted High Modernism with cereal boxes, television, and portable CD players as no-longer-bad objects.

If this doesn’t cohere, it is precisely because I cannot cohere in the face of knowing that things are different now, that there’s been a tear in the fabric of the world as I know it, that things will be ragged and strange for a while.

To take from Malick — “let me feel the lack.”

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