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Cover for Garage Criticism

Garage Criticism: Cultural Missives in an Age of Distraction

By Peter Babiak

In Garage Criticism Peter Babiak gently eviscerates and deflates some of the cultural hot topics of our time. He deconstructs our fascination with Internet culture and its libertarian ideology, devolves the hallucinations of economics and marketing to rhetorical mystifications, and asserts and reasserts the supremacy of linguistic thinking in everyday cultural affairs no less than politics and philosophy. In “Hot for Teacher: What Fifty Shades of Grey Taught Me About Salacious Grammar, Sexy Women and the Scandalous Conflation of Popular and Literary Culture” he takes on the disturbing marketing of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and in “F You Professor: Tumblr, Triggers and the Allergies of Reading” he addresses the technologically driven disintegration of the slow, attentive “deep read.”

A teacher by profession, Babiak often targets the intellectual, literary, and even sexual peccadilloes of digital native and millennial cultures, and also unfolds the more person-to-person culture of pedagogy. In “Bianca and the Blackbirds: How Vladimir Nabokov Saved Me from Referential Mania” he examines student/professor relationships, inappropriate office visits, and a shared “voluptuous appetite for Nabokov.” A parent and regular guy by default, Babiak accents the writing with memoir-based essays and essayist in memoir, as he does in “Along the Brittle, Treacherous, Bright Streets of Memory” and “The Ellipsis and the World Suspended by Some Unique Tear.”

Babiak is a new and timely voice in the arena of cultural criticism and critical theory.


Garage Criticism, a finalist for the Montaigne Medal, an Eric Hoffer award, is a cohesive collection of essays rich in literary references and redolent of the classics of the form; it is equally – and profoundly – relevant to the twenty-first century. Incisive, fresh, witty, wry, philosophical, and dramatic, Babiak’s essays demand — and reward — deep reading. … Garage Criticism: Cultural Missives in an Age of Distraction should be a welcome addition to the libraries of those educators, parents, students, or just plain engaged citizens interested in our complex and enigmatic relationship with popular culture.”

“In essays that are variously insightful, funny, heart-rending and sometimes sleazy, Babiak analyzes the effects of popular culture on how we perceive reality.”

“In his Garage Criticism, Babiak does what smart people are supposed to do — question the real meaning and implications of elements of the larger culture that permeates our lives and to a large extent determines who we are, with or without our permission or connivance. … We need Garage Critic. He is a ruthless wrangler of sacred cows of contemporary culture, a destroyer of digital worlds, unconstrained by academic discipline or exclusive elitist jargon. Garage Critic is a man who calls an ergonomically-designed, artisan-crafted spade a frigging shovel.”
— John Moore, BC BookWorld

ISBN 978-1-77214-050-7
5.25 x 8 | 268 pp
$20 CAN / $20 US
Rights available:  World


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