Visual
Waiting for the Anarchists

Waiting for the Anarchists

Whenever foreign leftists think about Italy, one of the first things that comes to mind are violent demonstrations, in big cities, like Rome, and Milan. Rarely do they imagine politics taking place outside of the major tourist hubs. It’s not surprising. One plays host to the federal government. The other, the business sector. More»

How Not to Defend Spoilers

How Not to Defend Spoilers

A seemingly endless pattern has developed. Somebody on my Facebook feed gives away a development from a television program, and another person complains. Then, the discussion starts. It’s always the same thing, the same arguments, and the same discourses that prevent any meaningful exploration from taking place. More»

Facing Multicultural Europe

Facing Multicultural Europe

When you see them all lined up in a row, staring out at you with faces of cheer and goodwill, the pressure to identify with them is strong. To identify with them as Europeans. To identify with Europe. And that’s surely the point behind this ad campaign, because the bureaucrats in Brussels and Strasbourg who signed off on it need to cultivate a sense of continental belonging. More»

Sustain This

Sustain This

Despite what the longbeards growing arugula on their rooftops in Brooklyn — or Berlin — would have you believe, there may be nothing less sexy than sustainability. That’s no dis. We are programmed, whether biologically or culturally, to seek out the sort of bliss that is, by definition, gone right after it comes. And that’s a problem for any politics that wishes to depose the prevailing social order. More»

Trafalgar Square in Pakistan

Trafalgar Square in Pakistan

Bahria Town in Lahore is the tackiest place I’ve been to in Pakistan, with the possible exception of the resort town in Murree. It wasn’t necessarily bad for it, especially since the infrastructure clearly made Bahria Town a great place to live. However, it was irritating, as the child of formerly working-class parents, to see the absurd machinations of people with no idea how to spend their money.  More»

It's a Small, Strange World

It’s a Small, Strange World

Wes Anderson’s latest picture Grand Budapest Hotel has been widely praised by critics for exposing more of the melancholy that has lined all of his ventures. With its allusions to the rise of fascism in the 1930s and the fate of Eastern Europe’s smaller nations after both world wars, the film definitely comes closer to delivering the sort of message many found lacking More»

Burning Down the House

Burning Down the House

In a world where the reality principle has largely been conflated with the totalizing logic of capital, the most powerful messages may be those that repudiate common sense. Consider this provocative sticker from Brussels, one of a series popping up around the city: “If you are really cold, set fire to your house.” Like the Zen koans it resembles, this counter-intuitive advice has the potential to turn one’s thinking inside out. More»

Labour Tourism

Labour Tourism

“We can’t fire them.” For anyone who has ever worked in Italy, the complaint is a familiar one. Often proffered to British and American employees, who are used to working with at-will type contracts, where staff can be let go on a whim, there’s an air of “Why can’t we be more like you?” to the declaration, as though a lack of job security is a more natural, albeit desirable state of affairs. More»

The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards

In the comments section, there is nothing worse than the person who confesses to neither reading the piece, nor viewing/reading/listening to its subject before levying an opinion. And yet, that is what I am about to do. Because I did not watch the Academy Awards, and yet I have an opinion about them. More»

Berlin Graffiti Gaze

Berlin Graffiti Gaze

Most Americans who walk around Berlin unprepared are shocked. Graffiti is everywhere: storefronts, walls, and even the sides of entire buildings. It remains surprising, because this is the type of thing that was crushed by aggressive policing in cities like New York during the 1980s and 1990s. More»

The Weakest Strongman

The Weakest Strongman

As the situation in the Ukraine worsened last month, the usual right-wing suspects started to circle the White House. A strong President, they declared, would never have let things get so far out of hand. And now that Russian troops have moved into the Crimea, their attacks on the Obama Administration are becoming more forceful each day. In their eyes, he has become “Putin’s bitch”, More»

Bored in Berlin

Bored in Berlin

At first, you don’t even notice the pattern. You wander the streets of this city, looking for subjects to photograph: a political poster here, a billboard there, and, down the block, an impressively tagged stretch of wall. But then you notice, like Oedipa Maas in Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, when she starts seeing muted post horns everywhere, that one message cries out, over and over: “Bored.” More»