Visual

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

Go in alien drag. For activists looking for a new way to highlight racism, it was a brilliant idea. Particularly for an area of consciousness-raising where fresh ideas are in short supply, and liberal maxims such as ‘celebrate diversity’  fall on deaf ears. Portraying minorities and immigrants as extraterrestrials, forced to carry their belongings into exile, works. At least as far as this shot, of a 2010 protest in Paris, is concerned. (More…)