Today We Are 2
Today — 31 March, 2019 — we celebrate the 2nd anniversary of YES & NO.
And the new edition of the magazine has begun rolling out across the world.
On the one hand it is undeniable that it feels so good to have another edition of the magazine out. On the other hand, however, it’s all a bit nerve-wracking. I still feel so new to this game that everything fills me with a sense of something akin to stage fright. I am plagued with questions, questions, questions.
Have I made the right choices? Have I remembered to credit everyone who worked with such devout commitment on the issue? Have I ensured that everything, every detail, was checked and double-checked? Have I done everything in my power to create a superlative magazine?
Then it’s the other side of doubt. Will people like it? Will people even understand it? What if it isn’t clever enough? Or, worse, too clever? What if it isn’t cool enough? Does it matter if it ain’t cool? I must add that I’m told this state of being — the state of questioning everything — is a sober sign of strength.
So then the magazine rolls out. Almost immediately I start receiving feedback from people across the world. And I start to understand how people are reacting and responding to YES & NO. The reactions are different in many subtle and nuanced ways.
YES & NO is a magazine that makes people feel like they’re in an intimate conversation with a friend, so people tell me. Already after just 2 weeks in release, this new issue seems to have made quite an impact. One person said that they had felt “understood”. Another person declared “it had made their brain and body feel calm”. Yet another describes it as “sublime, always a surprise with so much gravitas”. Still another wrote how every issue “speaks to her heart.”
This is fine and humbling praise indeed and I’ll continue to follow my gut instincts to produce a printed magazine that makes people feel a multitude of emotions. After all, because we happen to be living in a world that’s being turned upside down by the incumbents, the incumbents who are creating havoc with impunity, that doesn’t preclude us from being in touch with the finer things in life. This ‘in-touchness’ is needed just as much now as at any other time.
On the surface everything seems to shift and change. And yet when one scratches away the veneer of things, does anything ever really change?
I was watching a Q&A session with Orson Welles on YouTube. It was filmed (on 16mm film) in 1981. Welles had screened his 1962 film ‘The Trial’ (based on the book of the same name by Franz Kafka). For an hour and a half the great director, who would be dead within fives years, held court and bewitched the packed auditorium as he talked candidly (and in enormous detail) about how, some twenty years earlier, he had made this masterpiece. With very few interruptions, fascinated I watched the whole unedited documentary.
Welles spoke with that frank honesty that comes when, with age, you either have nothing to prove or, with resignation, have given up trying to prove anything altogether. Of many wise things, this is what he said:
“Oh, God, deliver us from the people who tell us what is right and what is wrong; what is moral and what is immoral; from a political point of view it’s just as inexcusable as from a sexual point of view, it seems to me. Of course we hate the real vices of the world; of course we hate racism and we hate oppression and all that kind of thing, that goes without saying… I’m talking about that majority who can read a book and can talk about something who are in general agreement about what you have to call the basics — rather than dogmas.”
Pictured below are the two Intervention Spreads from the new edition of the magazine. In every YES & NO these ‘interventions’ are positioned in the same spot; they form part of the essential structure of the magazine taken as a whole.
The intervention spreads work in a simple, straightforward way. I give Jez, the designer, a bunch of random phrases, which I select from the hundreds I collect in my notebooks. Jez chooses two and interprets them.
The Intervention Spreads depicted here are particularly poignant, but hardly surprising. Inherent in its name, YES & NO holds the collaborative spirit in high esteem. Its spirit of collaboration is manifested throughout the pages of the magazine; and it’s manifested in our approach to everything.
Forward-looking, YES & NO is in solidarity with the majority of people from all nationalities and backgrounds who come together in a shared human culture regardless of the few that try in vain to tear us apart.