Hail Atlantis: A Sandy Survivor's Tale
By Donna Gaines
On the morning of October 29, 2012, I get a phone call from Surfer Laura. She’s adamant, “Donna, Don’t leave!!” Like all my neighbors, she urges me to stick it out. The overly-hyped Hurricane Irene of the previous season had left Long Beach residents somewhat skeptical. Lots of drama and then…nothing. “Stay put, they won’t let you back in, they’ll close the parkways, there could be looting, you won’t be able to get home.” Laura’s warning is echoed across town. Civitas Ad Mare, situated between the mighty Atlantic and Reynold’s Channel, our precious City by the Sea is under siege. Who else but us, the water people of the Earth will stand strong to defend it? No sweat, I remind Laura, “I’m a Rockaway girl. We don’t back down.” Continue reading "Hail Atlantis: A Sandy Survivor's Tale"
Anti-Fascist Art Class
By Greil Marcus
I’m not here today to offer advice or even encouragement. I’m here to talk about art and audience, about art and the people it reaches—and what happens when it does...I’ve always believed that the divisions between high art and low art—between high culture, which really ought to be called sanctified culture, and what’s sometimes called popular culture, but ought to be called everyday culture—the culture of anyone’s everyday life, the music I listen to, the movies you see, the advertisements that infuriate us and that sometimes we find so thrilling, so moving—I’ve always believed these divisions are false. Continue reading "Anti-Fascist Art Class"
Fa La La
By Alison Stone
I want to celebrate Christmas,/my daughter announces. I want/blow-up things on the lawn./She’s wonderstruck by our neighbor’s/ inflatable Mickey Mouse elves. Continue reading "Fa La La"
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Going Pop: From Hirschhorn's Folly to Macklemore's Heist
By Benj DeMott
Thomas Hirschhorn's take on his own role as the wiz behind the Gramsci Monument had a “‘shut up,’ he explained” quality that risked derision: “I propose a new kind of authorship… Unshared Authorship…allows me to take responsibility for what I’m not responsible for. Furthermore—unshared authorship allows me to be author even when I’m not the author…” For a hot second in the middle of another one of his musings—“I can’t understand the skeptical, the disappointed, the resigned, the cynical, the critical..."—it seemed time for Bobby Bonilla to show the artist the Bronx. But—on the real side—Hirschhorn ended strong: “—nothing can be done without a belief in equality. Belief in equality is a strength…” Continue reading "Going Pop: From Hirschhorn's Folly to Macklemore's Heist"
New Power Generation: Three Popcult Tableaux
By Ben Kessler
Writer Touré is more an agent of entropy than a journalist or critic, so it’s fitting that the best, really the only non-risible, section of his recent book I Would Die 4 U: How Prince Became an Icon describes a scene of cultural decline, staged by the author and his former bosses at now-defunct Icon magazine. Continue reading "New Power Generation: Three Popcult Tableaux"
Bad Writing & Good Writing
By Michael Lydon
In a New York Times Book Review earlier this year I read two pieces printed on following pages, the first, in my opinion, such bad writing, and the second such good writing, that I thought the contrast between them might demonstrate how to distinguish good writing from bad whenever and wherever found. Continue reading "Bad Writing & Good Writing"
"The program is for
students who already have
a lot on their minds,
who mean to have much,
much more on their minds."
-Robert Hullot-Kentor, Chair
Confessions of a Spiritual Pornographer
By Bob Levin
You write. Your friends say, “I liked it.” They say, “You’re really a good writer,” like it still comes as a surprise. You don’t blame them. If everyone could say something memorable, everyone would be Oscar Wilde. Continue reading "Confessions of a Spiritual Pornographer"
A Season in the Congo: Remembering Lumumba (and Cesaire)
By Anita Franklin
Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Patrice Lumumba, A Season in the Congo is a master-class in political theatre. It is epic, global in scope and uncannily prescient. It is not just Ejiofor’s magnificently in-the-moment performance as the brilliant and naïve Lumumba which makes this work seem undeniably of our time; it is the entire production... Continue reading "A Season in the Congo: Remembering Lumumba (and Cesaire)"
The Syrian Civil War: What Is To Be Done?
By Eugene Goodheart
From the very beginning, Obama has not wanted to intervene in Syria for obvious reasons. He did not want to repeat the disaster of our invasion of Iraq. An outsider’s intervention in what was increasingly becoming a civil war would only worsen matters. Yet it was becoming harder and harder to simply stand by while a regime was slaughtering its own citizens. Continue reading "The Syrian Civil War: What Is To Be Done?"
A Democrat for the Ages
By Benj DeMott
Lawrence Goodwyn—great American historian of democratic social movements (and First friend)—has died...The Times respectful obituary covered Larry’s “authoritative” work on American populism, Democratic Promise: The Populist Moment in America, his role in the Civil Rights movement and Texas politics (where he once served as an advance man for Senator Ralph—“Put the jam on the lower shelf where the little man can reach it”—Yarborough) as well as his career in the Academy, where he mentored a generation of young historians who have deepened our understanding of the American experience, from the republic’s founding to the 60s. I was struck, though, by the obit’s next to last graph, which invoked Breaking the Barrier—Larry’s gripping study of the rise of Solidarity in Poland—and then left readers hanging. Continue reading "A Democrat for the Ages"
- A Democrat for the Ages by Benj DeMott, from October, 2013
- A Season in the Congo: Remembering Lumumba (and Cesaire) by Anita Franklin, from October, 2013
- The Syrian Civil War: What Is To Be Done? by Eugene Goodheart, from October, 2013
- Fa La La by Alison Stone, from October, 2013