Author: John Foster
John Foster is a librarian, writer, and musician based in Cleveland, Ohio. When not writing or attending shows, he can usually be found cursing at his television during Arsenal matches.

Donald Trump does not exist. This is not to say that there isn’t a guy with the initials DT sitting around the White House in a Trump Tower bathrobe live tweeting Fox and Friends. But Donald Trump the individual human being is trivial, merely the avatar of the spectacular complex bearing the designation “Donald Trump, successful businessman.” (More…)

Fascism is a state that capitalism sometimes occupies, but it is also a system of ideas. It is important to remember this because this ideological dimension generates dynamics in a turbulent landscape that cannot be unproblematically reduced to (or mapped onto) the underlying economic formation. (More…)

The confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh for a seat on the highest court in the land is, in the current circumstances, roughly on par in terms of certainty with death and taxes. There is not that much to add at this point. It was a foregone conclusion as soon as Anthony Kennedy was convinced to retire. (More…)

America is once again deploying that odd pantomime which arises when it becomes necessary to simultaneously affirm and negate the humanity of women. Brett Kavanaugh’s path to a lifetime tenure on the highest court in the land seemed straight and free of obstacles only two weeks ago. (More…)

The late historian Detlev Peukert once wrote of the literature on Max Weber that the annual volume of new publications was such that not even specialists could keep fully current. This statement could equally apply to the literature on Marx and Marxism which, even without “actually existing socialism” to act as motivator or bête noire, continues to appear in its accustomed profusion. (More…)

The eminent jurist Learned Hand once wrote that “the spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure it is right”. This particular shade, always a rather anaemic presence in American public life is now well and truly dead. The question that one is tempted to ask in our current circumstances is how long will it be until the republic joins it in the grave. (More…)

On July 23-24, 1968, African American radicals engaged in a wild shootout with police in the Glenville section of Cleveland. When it was over, six people were dead and the raw racial tension that had simmered below the surface in the city since the Hough Riots two years earlier again flashed into the open. (More…)

Baudrillard says somewhere that the (or one) reason that schizophrenics are persistently agitated is that they lack a capacity for differentiation, such that all the dangers of the universe seem proximate and threatening. Perhaps this does not comport with modern psychology’s understanding of schizophrenia, but as a back-of-the-envelope diagnosis of our current circumstance, one could really do a lot worse. The entire American political spectrum is saturated with suspicions, some more valid and some less, that the centre cannot hold and the blood-dimmed tide is fast approaching. (More…)

Umberto Eco, who spent his early years in fascist Italy, once wrote, “Mussolini did not have any philosophy: he had only rhetoric.” This is, perhaps, the most fundamentally apposite statement of the politics of Donald Trump. He has no philosophy beyond the grumpy natterings common to superannuated white men: raging against the dying of the light with the noontide of white privilege only barely receding. He has only bluster and threats and the lugubrious schmooze of the inveterate speculator. (More…)

The SCOTUS has now affirmed the legality of Mr. Trump’s travel ban.  The ban itself is odious. It is unapologetically racist and erodes the standing of the United States in the world without, it must be said, standing the slightest chance of preventing actual acts of terrorism. (More…)

It is a sad fact of our current situation that great literature no longer carries the weight that it used to. This is no simply a matter of postmodernism knocking the wind out of linear novelistic narratives. In some cases, it is a matter of what was barely thinkable becoming commonplace. (More…)

We have reached such a pass in the modern world that political truths can only be spoken by comedians. The attacks by the political right on fact-oriented journalism, and on the reality-based community more generally, have created a situation in which political truths can only be spoken with kidding (not kidding) appended to them. (More…)