God Before State

God Before State

Throughout Jewish history, despite the constant injunction to refrain ‘from calculating the date of the end,’ men have arisen who have claimed to be messiahs, and these have mostly asserted their claim on nationalistic pleas. They were to be kings of Israel as well as inaugurators of a new regime of moral and spiritual life. More»

Unlearning ISIS: The Battle to Reclaim Hearts and Minds

Unlearning ISIS: The Battle to Reclaim Hearts and Minds

With Islamic State (ISIS) on the retreat in parts of northern and eastern Syria, activists and civil society organizations are refocusing their efforts on counter-extremism and establishing deradicalization programs, hoping to erase the militants’ entrenched ideology. More»

Everyone's President

Everyone’s President

There is something to be said for relatability in a politician. Even Franklin Roosevelt, whose background was as firmly patrician as that of any US president, managed through the medium of fireside chats delivered over the radio to convince Americans the he understood their situation and cared about their fate. More»

Latest entries
Occupying the Negative

Occupying the Negative

When the peripatetic Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek spoke to an appreciative audience at Occupy Wall Street on October 9th, it confirmed what many had already suspected: the protesters are surprisingly open to what graduate students used to call “theory, but with a capital T.” More»

Exiled From the Country Club

Exiled From the Country Club

We were stunned by the bleak beauty of the golf course when we first found it. It was like something out of a dream, the kind of place you find yourself wandering through in the middle of your sleep, a place with no beginning and no end, a place out of place and out of time. More»

Two Presidents, One Problem

Two Presidents, One Problem

Americans preoccupied by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict live in the twilight zone. In recent weeks, this feeling has held unusual power. Take, for example, the embarrassing incident where US President Barack Obama exchanged unkind words about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. More»

World of Kebab

World of Kebab

The falafel was unlike any I’d ever seen. If the waiter had not identified it as such to the customer seated next to us, I’m not sure I’d have even known what it was. Cylindrical, toasted dark brown, they could very well have been kibbeh, pinecone-shaped, fried bulghur wheat pastries, stuffed with onions, ground meat, and pine nuts. More»

Insanely Great Asshole

Insanely Great Asshole

Steve Jobs should have been a rock star. So tremendous was the outpouring of public grief, you’d be forgiven for not knowing that he was a marketing czar. Though the fanboys and cult of Mac kids did their expected thing, it was the grief repeatedly expressed by laypeople that was so astounding, with mourners going so far as to stage homages at Apple stores. More»

Between Worlds

Between Worlds

Neal Stephenson’s latest book REAMDE is an impressive achievement. He manages to fill it with a wealth of detail without stalling the story’s momentum. And though it is hardly a traditional novel of ideas, it provides the raw material for searching reflections on the role fiction plays in our lives. The fantasies it mobilizes are so artfully presented that they are able to seduce readers deeply troubled by their implications. More»

Germans on Iran

Germans on Iran

They sound like neocons. Promoting Israel, criticizing Islam, decrying the lack of democracy in Iran. In reality leftist radicals, ANTIFA (Anti-Fascist Action) aren’t the most orthodox progressives. All the same, it’d be difficult to argue that they weren’t fellow travelers, either. Blame it on a fondness for appropriating imagery from Hollywood films, and comic books, like this sticker’s use of a scene from Marjane Satrapi’s award-winning Persepolis.

Libyan War Recordings

Libyan War Recordings

Manuel Noriega didn’t like Guns and Roses. At least that’s what the US military counted on, when it employed extremely loud music, to help flush the former dictator out of hiding. The best-known example of using sound for military purposes, when it comes to psychological warfare, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. More»

The Art of Seeing

The Art of Seeing

If this were a music mag, it would have made for a great advert. “Rage against the machine,” read the headline gracing the cover of the October 22nd edition of The Economist. The subheadline, however, was a bit more in keeping: “Capitalism and its critics.” Reinforcing the message was a photo of a concerned young man next to a US flag, a dollar bill taped across his mouth. More»

The Whiteness of Punk

The Whiteness of Punk

Given the recent glut of books about punk, it’s hard for a new one to stand out. But White Riot: Punk Rock and the Politics of Rage does so with ease. Co-editors Stephen Duncombe and Maxwell Tremblay have put together a provocative collection that strikes a delicate balance, equally compelling as a classroom text and a call to action. More»

Turned Off

Turned Off

In most countries, attacks on television are outdated. If you find the content objectionable, just change the channel. For example, Americans have liberal broadcasters such as Current and LINK TV, in addition to Fox News and the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Europeans have ARTE , France 24, and the BBC, not to mention access to the Internet. More»

Rhymes with Orphan

Rhymes with Orphan

He might as well have been a hip hop star. Not just any, but the kind once revered for dispensing with ‘conscious‘ knowledge,  like Public Enemy. Who would have ever consigned such a fate to a 94 year-old French Holocaust survivor, the title of whose best-selling book graces this mural, together with an image of the author. More»