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Certainty and Schizophrenia

Certainty and Schizophrenia

Demonstrators filled the Kurfürstendamm for miles, or so it seemed. From block to block, all one could see were hijab-clad Arab women, holding aloft yellow and green Hezbollah banners, punctuated by the furry hats of Neturei Karta ultra-orthodox.  For tourists, the sight was confounding. Terrorist sympathizers, walking arm-in-arm with religious Jews? In Germany’s capital? More»

For the Syrian Revolution

For the Syrian Revolution

Should the West intervene in Syria? The answer is more than simply “yes” or “no.” The complex power struggles and aspirations that define the Syrian civil war almost mock those who think there is an easy solution.  More»

The Death of Print

The Death of Print

You’ve heard it all before. Print is dead. So commonplace is the refrain, it’s practically meaningless. Particularly given the fact that it’s been continuously restated for nearly two decades, now. Print lives, albeit as one of two mediums, to deliver news. More»

Anti-Colonial Germany

Anti-Colonial Germany

What makes graffiti endlessly fascinating is the way its implications can broaden and shift over time. Taggers actively comment on the work of those who have gone before them, collectively fashioning a palimpsest that turns the passage of time into spatial relationships. And sometimes world events conspire to commenton this commentary, imparting new layers of significance. More»

Weakness is a Virtue

Weakness is a Virtue

Vulnerability is their middle name. Whether they’re washing dishes, or sweeping floors, everything they do communicates helplessness. Blow in their direction, and they’ll fall over. They’re that fragile. Such is the situation of Europe’s migrants. Whether from Afghanistan or Romania, their situation is consistently the same. They come from one crisis, only to be greeted by another. More»

Police Story

Police Story

Sadly, it’s not surprising that my social media feed this week has been dominated by commentary on a video that documents a troubling encounter between a black American and a white police officer. Whatever progress has been made towards a more tolerant United States, the nation still simmers with the legacy of racially charged conflict. Yet since this particular incident involved a professor, More»

Money and the Left

Money and the Left

Socially responsible investment. For a certain kind of leftist, the notion is a bit much. How can the root of all evil be used to further good? Money is Mammon, after all. As adolescent as this anxiety sounds, it’s still a good question to ask, because it opens the doors to all sorts of concerns fundamental to left-wing politics. More»

Europe for Internationalists

Europe for Internationalists

The recent European elections left those who benefit from a laissez-faire continent concerned that “populism” could rebuild the walls they spent decades disassembling. Though many of the anti-EU parties have little in common beyond their hostility to Brussels, this term is still being used to describe them all. It’s as if traditional ideological divisions had ceased to exist. More»

Armenian, Ukrainian, Soviet

Armenian, Ukrainian, Soviet

Given the current state of affairs in Ukraine, it’s hardly surprising that the Georgian-born Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov should yet again court controversy from beyond the grave. More»

Death of a Rapper

Death of a Rapper

Golden Dawn. For a Nazi party, the name is kind of funny. “The first time I heard it, I thought it meant taking a leak in the morning,” remarked a colleague. In English, it fails to connote power, the way the names of other more serious-sounding older European fascist groups do, like Romania’s Iron Guard and Hungary’s Arrow Cross. More»

The Problem With France

The Problem With France

Blame it on Bild. Throughout the crisis, the tabloid outdid itself in appealing to Germany’s most predictable prejudices. Lacking a work ethic, prone to corruption, living off of government handouts, profligate Greeks were the perfect foil for thrifty BMW workers from Bavaria. If Berlin was going to have to pay, what was a little reactionary grumbling amongst friends? More»

The State of Capitalism

The State of Capitalism

Animosities can linger after they make any sense. But sometimes their persistence is less perverse than it seems. Almost as soon as its existence was secured, the twentieth-century welfare state began showing signs of wear and tear. Business visionaries celebrated the laissez-faire possibilities that would emerge from its demise. Futurologists such as Alvin and Heidi Toffler joined writers of science fiction like Neal Stephenson in predicting what would replace it. More»