Reads
Pimping Climate Action

Pimping Climate Action

I’ve never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000 on posters inviting Wall Street bankers to join a march to save the planet, according to one source. That claims you can change world history in an afternoon after walking the dog and eating brunch. More»

The Paranoid Style

The Paranoid Style

There’s something of a cottage industry in the US, devoted to tying contemporary politics to their intellectual forebears. In some cases, it’s a matter of pure character assassination, as in the assertions from the far right that Barack Obama is some sort of  socialist. From the leftward side of the spectrum come claims that this or that politician is a devotee of the thought of that great seducer of the adolescent male mind, Ayn Rand. More»

Black Kids Always Die

Black Kids Always Die

Make no mistake. Ferguson is the War on Terror exploding in a relatively unspectacular American town. The crackdown that immediately followed protests over Michael Brown’s shooting recalls, for many immigrant Muslims, the sort of violent excesses present in countries like Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan. More»

The Belgian Nazi

The Belgian Nazi

European intellectuals can be divided between those who embrace history, and those fleeing from it. Marx and his intellectual progeny (up to Louis Althusser) represent the first sort. Men make their own history, as Marx once averred, but they do not do so under conditions of their own choosing. For structuralists and post-structuralists, by contrast, the role of history is, at best, secondary for understanding human life. More»

Their Ideal Israel

Their Ideal Israel

Larry Gordon assured me that it was all a big misunderstanding. Sure, his Long Island newspaper, the 5 Towns Jewish Times, printed an article by his son and staffer, Yochanan, titled “When Genocide Is Permissible.” In considering how Israel can protect itself from rocket fire the author ponders the unthinkable, and while the paper officially apologized, Gordon insisted that the outraged public got it wrong. More»

Bild's Europe

Bild’s Europe

Germany’s biggest tabloid has been roundly criticized for publishing an op-ed decrying Islam as a barrier to integration. Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann has since apologized for the article, penned by Bild am Sonntag vice editor-in-chief Nicolaus Fest. But not before his polemic helped reinvigorate German Islamopobia, and renewing anxiety about diversity in Europe. More»

La Nakba Française

La Nakba Française

On a warm summer night several years ago I found myself in a busy internet café on the Karl Marx Strasse in the Neukölln section of Berlin. Neukölln has one of the largest Turkish populations in the city, and rather a bad name both in Berlin, and in Germany more generally. More»

The Sale of War

The Sale of War

Two months ago, I set up an email alert for “UK Ministry of Defense.” Just to keep an eye on what my old chums are up to. I was expecting to have blogs, articles and reports of military activities – drone strikes, deployments, the usual catalog of daily military fuck-ups and the like – appearing in my inbox every day. More»

Slavery in America

Slavery in America

This is a peculiar moment in American culture. Slavery doesn’t trouble the psyche of this country in normal times. Although it was a key element on which much of the wealth of the United States was once based, the history of slavery is typically viewed as the prehistory of the Emancipation Proclamation. But a spate of recent publications has pushed the issue to a new level of prominence. More»

The Schlub Problem

The Schlub Problem

It’s a shame Washington Post film critic Ann Hornaday expressed her ideas so inelegantly, because the relationship between entertainment and a culture of misogyny bear scrutiny. After all, the ghastly Isla Vista shootings have generated several public discussions about gun violence and regulation, mental illness, and in particular misogyny. More»

The Fourth Horseman

The Fourth Horseman

In a review of Emmanuel Faye’s 2004 book Heidegger: The Introduction of Nazism into Philosophy, Harvard historian Peter Gordon wrote of the tendency of philosophy to trouble the public sphere “only when some outrage calls the very legitimacy of philosophy into question.” This specter has once again arisen with the publication of notebooks kept by the Martin Heidegger (the so-called Schwarze Hefte) between 1931 and 1938. More»

Concentrated Wealth

Concentrated Wealth

The publication of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by French economist Thomas Piketty, has come at a crucial moment. In the US,  there have been suggestions from the White House that income inequality is a matter of concern. Europe today has become a sort of mad scientist’s laboratory in which defunct theories from the past (austerity, the gold standard, German hegemony) are redeployed in the hope that they’ll work better this time around. More»