Non-Fiction
To the Crematorium

To the Crematorium

He was running across our rows for the first time. He was creating a new block out of us, the “zugangs” (new arrivals.) He was seeking, among unknown people, some men to keep order in the block. Fate willed it that he chose me, he choose Karol Swietorzecki (a reserve officer of 13th cavalry regiment,) Witold Rozycki (a good fellow from Warsaw,) and several others. More»

Camping in Poland

Camping in Poland

We were terribly thirsty. Pots with some beverage were just delivered. The same people, who had been killing us, were distributing round mugs of that beverage along our ranks, while asking: “Was bist du von zivil?”We got what desired, that is (a) beverage, and replied some trade, a worker or a craftsmen. And those pseudo-people, while beating and kicking us, shouted:… “Hier ist Auschwitz – mein lieber Mann!” More»

Going to Auschwitz

Going to Auschwitz

War is hell, or so the adage goes. Especially when we think back to the twentieth century, to events like Dresden, and Hiroshima. 2014 was an especially poignant year in this regard, as Europe observed the 100th anniversary of WWI, and Russia went to war again, in the Ukraine. 100 years didn’t seem like a long time, in the grand scheme of things. The world remained stuck on the cusp of the 19th century. More»

Know Your Culture

Know Your Culture

We live in the age of lists. The range of culture available to us is staggering, the cost of consuming it less than ever before. Confronted with such overwhelming abundance, we long for the means to impose order upon it. And that’s why we scour the Best-Ofs compiled by anyone with a trace of expertise for guidance. More»

Nietzsche for Anti-Capitalists

Nietzsche for Anti-Capitalists

It took Michel Foucault to reinsert Nietzsche into leftist analyses of power. Although the German philosopher’s influence has been felt among Marxist, anarchist, and anti-market thinkers, his influence is rarely accorded its due. Like pornography, Nietzsche is often hustled in through the backdoor, and with a vague sense of shame. More»

Surviving Nature's Ruin

Surviving Nature’s Ruin

Rats, crocodiles and Wile E. Coyote have been much on my mind lately.

I’m going to Kenya tomorrow. The guidebook warns against swimming in inland waters, infested as they are with crocs and bilharzia. But that’s not what brings these thoughts to mind. While on the subject, my daughter’s too young to appreciate Chuck Jones. And rodents have left my larder alone for a few years now. More»

The Age of Restraint

The Age of Restraint

We live in the Age of Restraint. Oh, it may not seem that way. Humans still reproduce at bacterial, rather than primate, rates. And as this weird new kind of “bacterium” grows, unlike any bacterial species, each member consumes more: humans are getting richer all the time (and I don’t just mean the 1%.) More»

The Whiteness of Punk

The Whiteness of Punk

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»

Deserving an Audience

Deserving an Audience

Two weeks ago, my life took a slightly strange turn. My past and future collided in a clash between old media and new media. Let me explain.

Although I’ve never had a secure, long-term post, I’ve been working in academia since completing my PhD in 2001. Over this time, I’ve amassed a number of publications, including two monographs (one of which was co-authored,) a co-edited book, three journal articles and a number of book chapters. More»

Sneezing Into History’s Dustbin

Sneezing Into History’s Dustbin

Here are two profound moments of  ’00s retro culture.

Listen:

Carlos Santana stares directly into the camera in front of a black background. “I love making people cry, laugh, and dance at the same time – giving and receiving a crucial orgasm,” he says. “I never wanted to be anything else since I was a child.”

His choice words are then brought to life. More»

Amongst the Thugs

Amongst the Thugs

Arizona’s extreme right deludes itself that it occupies a central place in American politics. However, there is a difference between being influential, and throwing legislative temper tantrums that gain global notice.  Its leading political figures have become internationally scorned, which doesn’t trouble them, and does not harm their electability either.  The disjunction between local and external opinion is a matter of local pride, an insularity characteristic of oppressive governments in many areas beyond the American Southwest. More»

Touring the Punk Diaspora

Touring the Punk Diaspora

For an astonishing three decades, since he was only thirteen years old, Berkeley native Aaron Cometbus has been publishing the eponymous zine that, more than any other, testifies to the power of low-fi print. With personal touches like his distinctive block-capital hand lettering and bracingly honest assessment of his travels and travails, Cometbus remains a crucial bulwark in the battle against inauthentic living. Reading even a few pages is enough to put the feed-me-now mentality of our technologically oversaturated age in perspective.
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