“If you want a picture of the future,” George Orwell famously said, “imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever.” Since his ominous warning of coming tyranny, and the publication of his dystopian novel 1984, Orwell’s grim vision has been put to various partisan uses.[...]
Regularly in these pressure cooker days we hear plausible arguments from liberals and conservatives about how democratic institutions have recently failed us, and how uniquely polarized we have become as a people. We also hear often highly implausible claims about how current contenders intend to restore some kind of justice or fairness.[...]
Doonesbury; November 14, 1999
Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History, just ended its first season with an episode (stream it below) dedicated to how satire can speak truth to power. “Satire lets you say almost anything,” muses Gladwell, “When you sugarcoat a bitter truth with humor, it makes the medicine go down.
For an anarchist like Noam Chomsky, libertarianism as it’s understood in the U.S. is a corruption of the term.[...]
Americans have often found themselves caught up in panics about immigration, like that now driving the campaign to build a wall between us and our third largest trading partner—when more Mexicans are leaving the U.S. than arriving.[...]
Image via Elisa Dorman, Wikimedia Commons
Whatever other criteria we use to lump them together—shared aims of psychedelic consciousness-expanding through drugs and Eastern religion, frank explorations of alternative sexualities, anti-establishment cred—the Beats were each in their own way true to the name in one very simple way: they all colla
Image by Nikolas Coukouma, via Wikimedia Commons
The Internet has been abuzz and atwitter these past few months with stories about prophetic predictions of the rise of Trump, buried in ancient texts like Back to the Future II, and an episode of The Simpsons from 2000. Then there’s Mike Judge’s now ten-year-old satire Idiocracy.
Drawing of William S. Burroughs by Nathan Gelgud/The Paris Review
America’s political circus will soon roll through Cleveland and then Philadelphia–the sites of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions.
Noam Chomsky is optimistic. Yes, the world seems to teeter on the brink of… well, name your dystopian scenario, but Noam Chomsky is optimistic.[...]