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Welcome, With Reservations

Welcome, With Reservations

When Angel Merkel opened Germany’s borders last year, she performed an about face few could have predicted. Having just overseen the defeat of Syriza, in its quest to defy the Troika’s debt repayment demands, her policies were being heralded as a return to Germany’s dark past. Not quite Third Reich, but flirting with historical callousness. More»

Love Through a Net

Love Through a Net

If there’s a single word that captures relationships today, romantic or otherwise, it’s mediation. It’s not surprising that many of our interactions occur through various media; they have been doing so for a long time. But the way people meet and are able to construct and control— to an extent, anyway — the way their identities are presented in the digital world are relatively novel developments. More»

Consider The Lobster

Consider The Lobster

Walking out of Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster the other night, I felt like I’d been holding my breath for two-plus hours. Rarely has my intellectual judgment of a film differed more sharply from my immediate emotional response to it. I never doubted that it was “good”, but I also wondered if it was good for me. More»

Far Out, Man

Far Out, Man

On September 11th, the War on Terror will turn 15. Some would argue that it is in fact much older. Without a doubt, it has now outlasted WWII by a decade. Given how much that conflict transformed Europe, God forbid what this war has done to it. More»

The Promised Land

The Promised Land

The grass is always greener on the other side. As far as truisms go, there’s not much to argue with. The Promised Land was never promised to anyone, and there’s never enough milk or honey to go around once you get there. Yet, faith in the idea that the foreign is always better remains a constant. Just ask the million plus refugees from the Middle East that arrived in Germany last year. More»

Cops in Our Heads

Cops in Our Heads

The city is full of police. Armed police, bearing pistols, and a bewildering diversity of foreign machine guns. God forbid they get into a firefight and find they can’t exchange exchange ammunition with each other. Isn’t Belgium home to FN Herstal, one of the world’s biggest gun manufacturers? More»

Think Different

Think Different

It was the perfect slogan. Harkening back to the hippie era in personal computing, when PCs were synonymous with the ideals of peace and love, and rock music, Apple’s 1997 advertising campaign struck a distinctly generational chord. It was technology in opposition, the sort that promised revolution, but ended up more Whole Foods than Zapatista. More»

Neoliberal Berlin

Neoliberal Berlin

Cheap cities have their downsides. Aside from being, quite frequently, depressed, they’re gated communities in training. For every vintage building full of broke punks, there’s a real estate developer looking to transform it into over-priced live-work condos. It just takes the malcontents to scout them out, and make them livable again. Bohemians are, as it always turns out, the shock troops of the wealthy. More»

Democracy in Europe

Democracy in Europe

Varoufakis took it in his stride. Attacked by Stephen Sackur for being unable to reconcile his radicalism with reality, Greece’s maverick ex-finance minister grinned, and moved on. This was HARDtalk. Whether Sackur meant it or not, the BBC interview program was living up to its name. And so was its guest, Europe’s best-known leftist of the moment. More»

Europe at War

Europe at War

It ought to be a positive. To have their situation constantly referred to as “the worst crisis since World War II,” today’s refugees ideally ought to be shown the courtesy accorded to persons engulfed in a similar disaster. Why not invoke that era? Aside from the scale of the crisis, it should be an immediate guarantee of empathy, because Europeans all know what the last global conflict was like. More»

The Blue Dog Imaginary

The Blue Dog Imaginary

The electoral process in the United States fulfills the same sort of morbid curiosity as watching Russian car wreck footage on YouTube. You know there’s no point, but it’s so strange that it’s difficult to look away. More»

Shadowed by Communism

Shadowed by Communism

The 1990s were a drag. In every newspaper and magazine, on radio, and TV, the death of communism was repeatedly proclaimed, as though it were an alien force that had been successfully repulsed by human nature. More»