Author: Charlie Bertsch
Charlie Bertsch lives in Tucson, Arizona. A founding editor and regular contributor to one of the world's first online magazines, Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life, his work has appeared in numerous publications since including The Oxford American, Punk Planet, Phoenix New Times, Cleveland Scene, Tucson Sentinel, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

It makes sense, I suppose, that the same company that files away paperwork for safekeeping would also be in the business of destroying it safely. But when I found myself in traffic behind a truck touting the firm Recall‘s “Secure Sustainable Destruction,” I was struck by the paradoxical nature of this charge. (More…)

It was finally dark. The days were still hot here in the desert. But once the mountain became a silhouette, the temperature dropped quickly. My daughter and I were delighted by this first hint of winter, the reward that seemed impossibly remote in the middle of another too-hot October. (More…)

The flag should have been the give-away. For the past eleven years, the Stars and Stripes had been flying over the house across the street from dawn till dusk. Sometimes I’d see my neighbor putting it to bed, carefully folding it into the triangular shape they taught us to use in the Cub Scouts. (More…)

When I look back on the material Souciant has published since its March debut, I am awed by its diversity. Considering that we generally restrict ourselves to five pieces per week, it’s remarkable to be doing so many things well. Pride doesn’t come easy for me. But I am deeply honored to be part of a project that values freedom — of subject matter, of style, of sensibility — above policy. (More…)

“Epic Salutations,” the seductive opening track on Murs’ new album Love and Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation ends with what sounds like a mission statement: “Hard core rap about nothing at all.” But the reality of this fine hip-hop record is far more complex. (More…)

When word began to circulate that Fox Business Network host Eric Bolling had criticized The Muppets for promoting anti-capitalist values, many people were incredulous. Social media sites were soon awash with the type of satire popularized by The Daily Show. But this dismissive response obscured the fact that he was being mocked for doing what many progressives have advocated for decades: taking popular culture seriously. (More…)

When The Coming Insurrection was first made public, it read to me like wishful thinking. Although rooted in Europe’s struggle to cope with the realities of multiculturalism, the uprisings that inspired the book seemed uniquely French. How could they be the model for an international movement? (More…)

Given the number of intellectual heavyweights who have been featured on Charlie Rose over the years, maybe Slavoj Žižek’s October 26th appearance shouldn’t have been a surprise. Yet the timing of his visit made it feel urgent, somehow, as if we were witnessing the repudiation of business as usual. (More…)

When the peripatetic Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek spoke to an appreciative audience at Occupy Wall Street on October 9th, it confirmed what many had already suspected: the protesters are surprisingly open to what graduate students used to call “theory, but with a capital T.” (More…)

Neal Stephenson’s latest book REAMDE is an impressive achievement. He manages to fill it with a wealth of detail without stalling the story’s momentum. And though it is hardly a traditional novel of ideas, it provides the raw material for searching reflections on the role fiction plays in our lives. The fantasies it mobilizes are so artfully presented that they are able to seduce readers deeply troubled by their implications. (More…)

Given the recent glut of books about punk, it’s hard for a new one to stand out. But White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Rage does so with ease. Co-editors Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay have put together a provocative collection that strikes a delicate balance, equally compelling as a classroom text and a call to action. (More…)

As word of Steve Jobs’ death spread, it was apparent that he had entered the pantheon of the Think Different campaign he promoted upon his return to Apple Computer in the late 1990s. Unlike the vast majority of corporate executives, he had become a celebrity that millions of people recognized on sight, someone who had transcended the need for a caption. (More…)