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Learning From Stranger Things

Learning From Stranger Things

When the second season of Netflix’s Stranger Things went live on October 27th, millions of people rushed to finish the whole season. Some just wanted to avoid spoilers. But for others, this mode of consumption was necessitated by their desire to participate fully in conversations about the show. More»

Handcuffed to Memory

Handcuffed to Memory

We live in confining times. Prison narratives proliferate and disappear quickly. Yet only the occasional narrative, such as Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantánamo Diary (2015), receives sustained attention and then due to its obvious political import. Prison writing is difficult because it forces a double confrontation, both with state and self. More»

Namaste Y'All

Namaste Y’All

When you pay close attention to the way people use bumper stickers in the United States right now, it becomes apparent that they usually serve a countercultural purpose. Because the perception of which culture needs to be countered varies widely, however, it is emphatically not the case that a coherent counterculture, whether left or right-wing, can be discerned from them. More»

The Big Nothing

The Big Nothing

We seem to be living through a renaissance of American TV shows, from Twin Peaks to House of Cards. Some of us spend dozens of hours a week just sitting in front of our laptops working our way through episode after episode, season after season. This is the other side to the work day for a lot of people. More»

The Trouble With It

The Trouble With It

I was ecstatic when I got the opportunity to view an advanced screening for the new film adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Although I’m aware of the novel’s faults — for one thing, the ending drags on too long, full of overwrought imagery — I still love the whole thing, even the “bad” bits. My love doesn’t center on the scares King is famous for, but the coming-of-age story that frames the horror. More»

Survival is Victory

Survival is Victory

After watching Dunkirk, you’ll likely spend some time silently processing the film. The interwoven timelines, the high pressure soundtrack and the constant threat of death can easily captivate the viewer. More»

Superhero Adventures and the Media Landscape

Superhero Adventures and the Media Landscape

It all started so innocently. On a Saturday afternoon at Comic-con, the cast of the popular CW Network show Supergirl was putting on a pretty standard session to recap their previous season and preview the upcoming one. More»

No Exceptions

No Exceptions

Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake is a searing indictment of the 21st UK, which has been subcontracting many traditional functions of the state to private corporations. But the film also asks probing questions about the direction in which every society in the developed world is headed. What will happen to our humanity as more and more decisions are made by computers or people who act like them? More»

Making Slavery's Impact Visceral

Making Slavery’s Impact Visceral

Since its publication in 1979, Octavia Butler’s Kindred has become a work of extraordinary popularity. It is a common item on high school reading lists and university syllabi throughout the United States, as well as having appeared globally in dozens of translations. More»

The Israelis-in-Berlin Story

The Israelis-in-Berlin Story

At least once a year, without fail, Middle Eastern news media run features on Israelis in Berlin. Whether the outlets are Arab or Israeli is immaterial. They both do it. There’s just something about the topic that won’t quit. More»

Back to Twin Peaks

Back to Twin Peaks

How do you register the passage of time? It’s a question that dominates the new season of Twin Peaks. This was probably inevitable, once Mark Frost and David Lynch decided to bring back members of the original cast over twenty-five years later. But their decision to confront the strangeness of this return head-on has made it resonate with a bracing profundity. More»

Amal in Berlin

Amal in Berlin

Prior to the arrival of Syrians in Berlin, the city’s most overrepresented Arab passport was Lebanese. Many, of course, are held by Palestinians, for whom the ID was a convenient ticket out of the country. But, all the same, a significant number of natives have followed them, for many of the same reasons: escaping the sectarian violence that has plagued the country for the better part of four decades. More»