Reads
The Limits of Freedom

The Limits of Freedom

Irony can be a difficult tone to manage well. It can be even more difficult to visualize effectively. Jillian Tamaki is a skilled ironist whose new graphic story collection Boundless (Drawn & Quarterly) can absorb and reward repeated readings. More»

Utopia Banished

Utopia Banished

It is hard to get away from the impression that we are epigones. This is not, or not merely, the case due to the carnage wrought by Mr. Trump and his various protégés on the none too august institutions of American liberal democracy. More»

Refugee Lives

Refugee Lives

Simply writing a personal or family memoir would be an easier task than producing an illustrated graphic memoir. It is not only that the work is more difficult technically, but so much more is at risk in the visualization of the narrative. Emotions about family members and their lives emerge in the pictures. Visual storytelling commits where words can remain ambiguous. More»

Handcuffed World

Handcuffed World

I loathe seeing people in handcuffs. It is a common enough experience, yet not one that I witnessed until mature adulthood. There is a deep offense to the sight of people in handcuffs or leg-chains, worse than imprisonment. More»

Prison Knowledge

Prison Knowledge

Prisons are holistic and extended social systems, a point that remains too little recognized in public discussions of prisons and imprisonment. That system includes prison staff and their families, people equally capable of social expression as prisoners and their own families. While prisoners often write of their experiences, prison wardens and guards are far more reticent. More»

Ghetto People

Ghetto People

People who have been living in a ghetto for a couple of centuries, are not able to step outside merely because the gates are thrown down, nor to efface the brands on their souls by putting off the yellow badges. The isolation imposed from without will have come to seem the law of their being. But a minority will pass, by units, into the larger, freer, stranger life amid the execrations of an ever-dwindling majority. More»

Fascism, Folk-Woke Activists & The Question of #noplatforming and Leftist Disunity

Fascism, Folk-Woke Activists & The Question of #noplatforming and Leftist Disunity

The leftist protest against LD50 Gallery in the early days of 2017 was immediately followed by provocations from anonymous right-wing trolls.[1] Posing as anti-fascists on Tumblr, they directed their synthetic anger against certain leftist intellectuals and institutions More»

Literature for the Working-Class

Literature for the Working-Class

The new publication of A History of American Working-Class Literature from Cambridge University Press provides a moment to ask some questions: Is it dead? And who reads it, especially when so few people in the contemporary United States want to understand themselves as working-class? More»

Spy vs. Spy

Spy vs. Spy

We had several good agents at Radio Liberty, whose staff included many emigres from the USSR. But by far our best agent there was a man named Oleg Tumanov, who had a twisted history of involvement with the KGB that continued into the 1990s. More»

Josephine Baker Superstar

Josephine Baker Superstar

Josephine Baker was black America’s first international stage and film star. She was a woman who, tired and angry over Jim Crow racism in the United States, was early among African American artists and intellectuals in relocating to France. Baker’s career opposed and repudiated the narrow provincialism endemic to US racism. More»

Circular Firing Squads

Circular Firing Squads

The Internet can be a cruel place sometimes. If you’re not careful, it can be all the more brutal. The online morality police are watching your every move. And even when you are careful, it can still be pretty nasty. You enter at your own peril. More»

German-Americans Against Fascism

German-Americans Against Fascism

This is a portrayal of the face of Germany. It is an answer to the question: Is this Second World War a war of the “Have-nots” against the “Haves,” as Hitler asserts, of the poor peoples against the rich peoples, of the socialist nations against the plutocratic nations? More»