Reads
How to Create Consensus

How to Create Consensus

On August 29th, The Jerusalem Post terminated one of its top columnists, Larry Derfner. The long-serving pundit lost his job by falling into a language trap that’s been a bane of peace activists for decades. Some will contend that Derfner’s dismissal is a positive for progressive forces. The newspaper’s political orientation is alleged to be centrist, but is highly conservative. Nevertheless, its diversity of views is said to span from Derfner on the left, to Caroline Glick on the right. More»

Common Protests

Common Protests

What do the different forms of unrest that have proliferated in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America have in common? Recently, Judith Revel and Toni Negri published The Common in Revolt, one of the more lucid and penetrating essays analyzing recent and current social protests, revolts, riots, and street politics. A characteristic of such provocative essays is that they demand responses and help shape public debate. 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»

Post-Capitalist Priorities

Post-Capitalist Priorities

At eighty pages, Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism: Is There No Alternative? is a brief but fascinating polemic about the insidious ways in which neoliberal ideology insinuates itself into our lives. Riffing on key ideas from theorists such as Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Zizek and Fredric Jameson, Fisher interrogates his own experiences as a UK-based lecturer and culture critic, creating resonant new concepts with which to engage late capitalism. More»

Why I Spit on News of the World's Grave

Why I Spit on News of the World’s Grave

In the 1986 Wapping dispute that inaugurated the News of the World as the beast it would become, I have one outstanding memory. I am drinking sherry with friends at 2AM, on a highway we are convinced we have taken – only for TNT vans heavy with bundled copies of News of the World to exit from spidery side streets half a mile away.

In a year of picketing, we never once stopped the labyrinthine plant. More»

Business Class

Business Class

When I first noticed Monocle on prominent display near the cashiers at my local Barnes & Noble, I was excited. I’d heard a great deal about the magazine and been to its website. But I had yet to hold a copy in my hands. Sure, I could have subscribed to it, but spending upwards of $100 per year on a publication I’d never seen seemed excessive. And, to be frank, I’m more likely to make that sort of financial outlay for music or films than I am for reading material. More»

Rupert Murdoch Was Here

Rupert Murdoch Was Here

News of the World was always its own story. A paper that specialized in decrying the rot in British society, it turned out to be every bit as corrupt as what it covered. Falling on its own sword, after 168 years of publishing, was hardly surprising. The question is what took it so long. More»

Home Electronica

Home Electronica

Tinkering culture has slowly entered the mainstream. Once the province of Popular Mechanics and Wired, coverage of the making and hacking trend has been appearing regularly in such unlikely periodicals as the New York Times. It’s hard getting adjusted to big media gushing about geek wads tweaking bits and bytes and building fire breathing robots in the back yard. More»

The Gathering Darkness

The Gathering Darkness

Bruno Schulz was a genius. He invented his own language and sensibility.  His narrative style and its fantastic voice create a complex reality, much like the piled-high small shops he describes.  Schulz has been mislabeled ‘the Polish Kafka,’ a mistake because Franz Kafka had a far more specific social vision that addressed relations between citizen and state.  For Schulz, the subjects were self, family, neighbors and the cityscape surrounding them all. His best-known work, The Street of Crocodiles, repeatedly articulates a sense of foreboding. More»

Speakers, Cornered

Speakers, Cornered

My wife and I were at a burger joint the other day, waiting for our order. A garrulous fellow with an English accent, upon seeing my San Francisco Giants cap, began regaling me with tales of his life as a fan of the English football club Chelsea. Actually, he said “I love football, and I love Chelsea,” and proceeded to explain why he put the sport first and the favored club second. I understood his argument in the abstract, but for me, when we are talking Giants, baseball comes second. There is nothing abstract about it. More»

United States of Invisibility

United States of Invisibility

Has any conflict in history had more ‘solutions’ than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? From Tel Aviv, to Ramallah, to the ends of the earth – everyone has an opinion as to who should do what to bring peace to all or victory to some.

At the same time, despite the cacophony of voices, the range of ‘final status’ visions is rather limited. The essential issue is that two self-defined peoples claim sovereignty within one small patch of land. More»

The Impure Left

The Impure Left

April 18-24, 2011 was Digital Detox Week, conceived and encouraged by Adbusters, along with other campaigns (i.e. Buy Nothing Day, Blackspot shoes) to “reclaim our mental and physical environments.” I’ve always been impressed by the magazine’s design-savvy ads, whose sleek look share in the aesthetics of their corporate equivalent, the presumed enemy. More»