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.

What makes Donald Trump special? This is a question the man himself would presumably have little trouble answering. But for those of us interested in projecting his political future, trying to determine whether he represents an outlier or something far more significant, it is proving considerably more tricky. (More…)

Walking out of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster the other night, I felt like I’d been holding my breath for two-plus hours. Rarely has my intellectual judgment of a film differed more sharply from my immediate emotional response to it. I never doubted that it was “good”, but I also wondered if it was good for me. (More…)

Many believe that Donald Trump’s apparent victory in the Republican primaries will ultimately lead to the party’s downfall. Others have countered that Hillary Clinton’s unpopularity with independent voters and the young people who support Bernie Sanders means the GOP might yet have the last laugh in November. (More…)

It was easily the most beaten-up car in the parking lot. And that alone says a lot about how the United States is trending, since insurance companies and government regulations have made it harder and harder to keep older vehicles on the road. But what made it disturbingly poignant were the words scrawled on its windows, like the messages people write on newlyweds’ rides. (More…)

If you have a lot of friends who teach university courses, as I do, your social media feed at this time of year is probably filled with complaints. Instructors keep being asked to do more for less pay. The higher-ups who shape their conditions of employment treat them with blatant disrespect. Most of their students show little interest in working hard. And they’re getting worse, too. (More…)

“I can’t believe he’s our president!” It was the sort of declaration that millions of people understandably made after Obama’s inauguration back in January, 2009. But that my daughter still felt the need to make it last night, May 4th 2016, speaks volumes about the strangeness of his two terms in the White House. Even now, many of his enemies on the Right still refuse to acknowledge his legitimacy. (More…)

When the surprising news of Prince’s death was announced last week, I reflexively moved to post something to social media. And so did a great many of my friends. But we were immediately reminded of just how little material was available for free online. His insistence on being properly compensated for his work had made it hard to mourn him collectively through social media. (More…)

One of the most persistent domestic critiques of Donald Trump is that his proposals are not truly American. From the White House to the protests at his rallies, he has been savaged for promoting the sort of extremism the United States has long ascribed to its enemies, thereby calling into question the self-righteous presumptions that undergird the nation’s foreign policy. (More…)

The last day of the NBA regular season made for remarkable television. While Kobe Bryant, the first superstar to make his mark in the wake of basketball’s massive global expansion, was playing the final game of his illustrious twenty-year career in Los Angeles, the Golden State Warriors, the league’s best team and defending champions, were winning their record-breaking 73rd game. (More…)

It felt like a rock concert. Security was tight. Fans were so desperate to attend that the ones who had failed to get tickets before they sold out were streaming into one of the biggest rooms at the University of Arizona to watch a live feed of the event with each other, even though it was being simulcast over the Internet. (More…)

“It’s a way to pass the time while I’m waiting.” That’s what I had told a friend in his seventies recently, when he asked me how I managed to keep up with social media. And that’s what I was doing recently during the ten-minute break between my first and second classes, scrolling distractedly through my Facebook feed, when I was suddenly brought up short. (More…)

Even now, long after Donald Trump has ascended to Republican frontrunner for the presidency, people are still talking about him the way they did a year ago, when his candidacy seemed more of a sideshow than a serious threat to politics-as-usual. It’s a state of affairs the man himself seems eager to perpetuate, promoting his brand at the expense of traditional propriety. (More…)