I have my doubts about whether we should call regular acts of civic duty “resistance,” rather than Constitutionally-protected democratic freedoms. Yesterday we remembered Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 49th anniversary of his assassination (and the 50th anniversary of his speech opposing the Vietnam War).[...]
In 1979, French theorist Jean-François Lyotard declared the end of all “grand narratives”—every “theory or intellectual system,” as Blackwell’s dictionary defines the term, “which attempts to provide a comprehensive explanation of human experience and knowledge.[...]
For a few years, many people—those who might these days be called a “self-satisfied liberal elite” (or something like that)—believed that the arguments in Edward Said’s 1978 book Orientalism were becoming generally accepted.[...]
Like many American children of the 70s and 80s, my understanding of how our government is supposed to function was shaped by Schoolhouse Rock.[...]
“We live in a nightmare that David Foster Wallace had in 1994,” said a tweet that put me in stitches last summer, but I have a sense that we’ve only sunk deeper into that hyperverbal, media-obsessed, and deeply fearful novelist’s bad dreams since then.[...]
Some moments in history strike us as dramatic ruptures. Certainties are superseded, thrown into chaos by a seismic event, and we find ourselves adrift and anxious. What are artists to do? Gripped by the same fears as everyone else, the same sense of urgency, writers, musicians, filmmakers, painters, etc.[...]
Two professors at the University of Washington, Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West, have created a website meant to accompany a potential college seminar entitled “Calling Bullshit.” Here’s how Bergstrom and West explain the premise of their course. It’s worth quoting them at length.
The world is awash in bullshit.
Lena Dunham drafted a host of well known friends for The History Of 100 Years Of Women’s Health Care At Planned Parenthood, the short film (above) she co-directed with animator Kirsten Lepore.[...]
The late Leonard Cohen’s 1992 anthem “Democracy” feels not just fresh, but painfully relevant these days.
Cohen, a Canadian who spent much of his adult life in the States, avowed that the song was neither sarcastic nor ironic, but rather hopeful, an “affirmation of the experiment of democracy in this country.
We’re well into the backlash cycle of the post-election outrage over “fake news,” as commentator after commentator calls this phrase into question and celebrates the fall of the gatekeeper media.[...]