Tory Freefall

Tory Freefall

It is now over a year since Theresa May came to power. She did come to high office on the back of an electoral victory. Nor was she even elected by Tory members. May was simply in the right place at the right time. But now she is in the wrong place at the wrong time. More»

Spy vs. Spy

Spy vs. Spy

We had several good agents at Radio Liberty, whose staff included many emigres from the USSR. But by far our best agent there was a man named Oleg Tumanov, who had a twisted history of involvement with the KGB that continued into the 1990s. More»

To Protect Refugees, We Must Confront Anxiety Over Muslims in Europe

To Protect Refugees, We Must Confront Anxiety Over Muslims in Europe

European policy-makers must address cultural and political anxieties about Islam and refugees head on, rather than ceding the public debate to the far right and their self-defeating policies, argues Behzad Yaghmaian. More»

Latest entries
Lost Photo Album

Lost Photo Album

When coming across photos of anonymous people, it is impossible not to relate them to our own lives and memories somehow. Often we have an intense positive or negative response to the people looking out of these photographs and the history they represent. The universality of life represented in the photographs — birthdays, weddings, family vacations — crosses economic and gender boundaries.

What we see in photos are events of life and the emotional record of those events. Traces of personal identity become blurred with our own relationship to the events. More»

Home Electronica

Home Electronica

Tinkering culture has slowly entered the mainstream. Once the province of Popular Mechanics and Wired, coverage of the making and hacking trend has been appearing regularly in such unlikely periodicals as the New York Times. It’s hard getting adjusted to big media gushing about geek wads tweaking bits and bytes and building fire breathing robots in the back yard. More»

The American Monopoly

The American Monopoly

The morning I returned from the US, every paper was carrying the same cover story: Six Italian soldiers had been killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul. Corriere Della Serra, La Repubblica, even the local edition of The Metro, all seemed to be working with the same set of photos of the event’s aftermath. For the first time since we’d moved to Milano, it was like overhearing an entire country sighing, simultaneously. From left to right, the reaction was the same. Everyone was in a state of shock. More»

Only Right and Natural

Only Right and Natural

When driving across a European border, some of the most charming sights are the cobwebbed customs facilities, abandoned since 1995. You can drive from the Arctic Circle to within sight of Morocco without ever having to slow down for a passport check. To many, this is what “Europe” means: a single continent, whole and free, whose members trust each other enough to get rid of their borders. More»

Many Happy Returns

Many Happy Returns

Now is the time for dub. No genre of popular music is better suited to the exigencies of contemporary cultural production. Technology is inexpensive and easy to come by, but people make things hard. Finding a way to play together, seems to require a complexity of scheduling worthy of a railroad dispatcher. Factor in the geographic dislocations that disperse potential bandmates hundreds, even thousands of miles away, and the appeal of constructing music with pre-existing elements, piece by piece, layer by layer, is clear. More»

Post-Techno Improv

Post-Techno Improv

So I had to ask, why Respectable Citizen? Keyboardist Bruce Bennett had an answer. “I was reading Jurgen Habermas’ The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. I stumbled across the phrase, and I thought, ‘What a great name for a band!’” Bennett continued, “It also afforded us the opportunity to occasionally appear as our alter-ego: Despicable Alien, which seemed to have some relevance to immigration policies in the US, especially here, in California.” More»

Top Ten Metal Hybrids

Top Ten Metal Hybrids

In a (post-) postmodern age, no collision should surprise us. I don’t know if Latvian-Portuguese fusion food exists, but it certainly could. So it is that heavy metal has been impacted by all manner of cultures and things. It’s worth highlighting such collisions, as the image of metal as a musical and social monoculture remains persistent. More»

We Are All Prisoners Here

We Are All Prisoners Here

There are posters in the windows, bumper stickers on the cars, pictures of the kidnapped soldier and the caption reads: “Gilad adayin chai”, in English, “Gilad still lives.” They refer to Gilad Shalit, the soldier who was taken by Hamas five years ago now. More»

Crime Series

Crime Series

Germans pay € 215.76 in annual licensing fees to watch TV. This advertisement, affixed to the side of a building in Berlin’s Neukölln district, discourages viewers from not paying their fees, by casting them as participants in a crime series.

The Titless Sky

The Titless Sky

It was the 19th Annual San Francisco Dyke March. Dolores Park, otherwise known as “hipster hill,” was completely packed. I was guilty of going, not out of solidarity or allegiance, but because a friend had asked me to come along with her. As for how I feel about gays, I feel nothing. True tolerance is when you detach yourself from the narrative entirely, judgeless.

The rally was a spectacle. The once green park now the color of flesh, bodies everywhere, most of them hosting some substance, illegal or not, dancing to the faint pulse of a PA system. More»

Willkommen in Deutschland!

Willkommen in Deutschland!

“Your papers, please,” she said rather stiffly. Judging from her pronunciation, I could tell she didn’t speak English very well. I placed my passport on the counter. “Ein Jude!” she exclaimed, as she inspected the Menorah-inscribed cover. More»

The Gathering Darkness

The Gathering Darkness

Bruno Schulz was a genius. He invented his own language and sensibility.  His narrative style and its fantastic voice create a complex reality, much like the piled-high small shops he describes.  Schulz has been mislabeled ‘the Polish Kafka,’ a mistake because Franz Kafka had a far more specific social vision that addressed relations between citizen and state.  For Schulz, the subjects were self, family, neighbors and the cityscape surrounding them all. His best-known work, The Street of Crocodiles, repeatedly articulates a sense of foreboding. More»