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Earthquake Weather

Earthquake Weather

When it comes to earthquakes, America takes the cake. At least as far as news coverage is concerned. Having weathered two of the most devastating quakes to strike a first world country – the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which ravaged the San Francisco Bay Area, followed by the 1994 Northridge earthquake, which severely impacted Los Angeles –  you can understand why. More»

Selling Newspapers in Italy

Selling Newspapers in Italy

I’d nearly crashed my car. Headed back to Milan, after a brief vacation in Rome, I was slowly making my way up the highway on-ramp, when I swerved to avoid a newspaper salesman. Walking through the traffic, holding up copies of La Repubblica, were several uncharacteristically dark-looking men. I made sure to pay attention to the next guy in line. He was South Asian. More»

When Every Flag Seems False

When Every Flag Seems False

If director Laura Poitras’s new film Citizenfour doesn’t make you paranoid, nothing will. By the time she has finished telling the story of Edward Snowden, how he meticulously plans to reveal the extremity of the post-9/11 surveillance state and then suffers the consequences once he sets the wheels in motion, you may be wondering whether privacy is even possible More»

The Whole World Is Watching

The Whole World Is Watching

After watching hours of CNN’s coverage of the unrest in Ferguson, I felt a desperate need to protest against the St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Mike Brown. But because there were no protests taking place nearby, I headed to a suburban theater to watch the latest installment in the Hunger Games franchise instead More»

Orientalism For Dummies

Orientalism For Dummies

Most of the time, the point of education is to help us to distinguish between things, figuring out what does and doesn’t belong together. But there are times when it pays to remember what ignorance once conflated and confused. Prejudice may derive from misunderstanding, but that doesn’t make it any less real. And prejudice, more often than not, comes from a failure to recognize and respect distinctions. More»

Berlin at War

Berlin at War

Kein mensch ist illegal. Refugees welcome here. Few cities can claim as much pro-asylum messaging as that found in Berlin. Spray-painted on the sides of buildings, stickered inside public restrooms. It’s absolutely everywhere. Considering the diverse character of the city, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The German capital is as much a global metropolis as it is a national one. More»

Hollaback Hysteria

Hollaback Hysteria

Over a week on, and hundreds of think pieces later, it would seem unnecessary to explain that the Hollaback video refers not to Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl, but to the video entitled 10 Hours of Walking in New York City as a Woman, produced by Rob Bliss Creative for Hollaback, an international organisation dedicated to ending street harassment against women. More»

Missing in Berlin

Missing in Berlin

Newsstands aren’t what they used to be. Onetime indicators of high circulation periodicals, today, their selection tends towards a combination of promoted titles [think advertising placement, pushing readers online] and community newspapers. Berlin’s newsstands oftentimes lean towards the latter, offering titles in multiple languages, ranging from Albanian to Turkish. More»

Cynicism and the Left

Cynicism and the Left

No clichés here. As far as leftist flyers go, they’re don’t exactly inspire you to speak truth to power.  Dispensing with images of marchers standing up to the man, and police beating up protestors, they relied more on sarcasm, and a pronounced sense of contempt, to make their point. Feeling flushed down the toilet? Sick of the bread, and the circuses, and promises of pussy? We relate. More»

Berlin as Jerusalem

Berlin as Jerusalem

Compared to other German cities or metropoles like Paris and London, Berlin has benefited from its lack of meaningful antiquity. Little more than a village prior to Prussia’s ascendancy in the 1700s and still not very impressive in Germany’s early years as a unified nation, it was free to develop as a fully modern city. Not only cartographically and architecturally, but ideologically. More»

Border Patrol

Border Patrol

Europe means diversity. Stroll down streets as far away from one another as Stuttgart’s Koenigstrasse, Milan’s Corso Buenos Aires, or London’s Oxford Circus, and the insight will be the same. Everyone is from somewhere else. Chinese, Arab, Nigerian, Indian, Roma. The mix tends to be relatively consistent, if not exactly the same. More»

Germany for Refugees

Germany for Refugees

Flags were flying everywhere. Kurdish, Turkish, Syrian, Palestinian. If you wanted to take inventory of where this neighborhood comes from, this would be the place to start. Police in riot gear milled through the crowd, taking stock of the situation, looking to be in place if things got out of hand. You could see the worry in their eyes. More»