The World Turned Upside Down

The World Turned Upside Down

It will be a couple of weeks before you read this, but I was reminded this morning that today (October 7th) is the one year anniversary of the coming to light of Mr. Trump’s Discourse on the Proper Wooing and Treatment of Women, so eloquently delivered to Billy Bush of Access Hollywood. More»

War All The Time

War All The Time

The truck bombing in Mogadishu and appalled everyone who heard about it. Indeed, the level of carnage was horrific. But far fewer people know what lies behind the misery of Somalia than heard of this fresh atrocity. More»

The Great Terrorist

The Great Terrorist

My boyhood neighbor, Loren Jones, was a man with an interesting story about Stalinist Russia.  He arrived there in 1937 as the first television engineer in the country, sent by his employer, the Radio Corporation of America. More»

Latest entries
How to Create Consensus

How to Create Consensus

On August 29th, The Jerusalem Post terminated one of its top columnists, Larry Derfner. The long-serving pundit lost his job by falling into a language trap that’s been a bane of peace activists for decades. Some will contend that Derfner’s dismissal is a positive for progressive forces. The newspaper’s political orientation is alleged to be centrist, but is highly conservative. Nevertheless, its diversity of views is said to span from Derfner on the left, to Caroline Glick on the right. More»

Where's the Party?

Where’s the Party?

“Grazie Napoli!” read the sign. Written by hand on a legal-sized sheet of white paper, it was taped to the end of a small wooden table in the middle of the square. Surrounded by young Italian families and neighborhood shop owners nibbling on aperitivos, drinking matching plastic cups of red wine, our neighbors repeatedly made toasts. A squad of Italian soldiers looked on at the crowd, expressionless. The contrast was a bit unnerving. More»

The Laws of Distraction

The Laws of Distraction

Walking across a college campus these days, one is constantly reminded how important personal technology has become for today’s students. From the sorority sister texting while her beach cruiser wobbles through the crowd, to the nerds sharing a portable videogame console, the scene is reminiscent of yesterday’s science fiction. The degree of collective distraction is truly stunning. Everyone seems to be tuning into their devices as a way of tuning out the world around them. More»

Greetings From Oaxaca

Greetings From Oaxaca

I came to Oaxaca on a whim. A friend announced that she was taking a trip south (I live in northern California,) so I decided to tag along. I hadn’t been to the country since I was a kid, when my family took a cruise to Acapulco.

My knowledge of Mexico was spotty. Besides a smattering of Zapatista lore and typically tabloid news fare (maquiladoras, illegal migrants, narco-violence, etc,) my ideas about the country came from a book by Oliver Sacks, about Oaxaca’s biodiversity. He has a thing for ferns. More»

Waiting for the Hurricane

Waiting for the Hurricane

Sometimes the mud stirred up by a storm contains gold. Sometimes it just shoots out the Superfund sludge that should have been cleared a half century ago.

Sitting in a post-Katrina New York, bracing myself for the arrival of Hurricane Irene, I turned to Grooveshark for the obvious song, Chris de Burgh’s ironically apropos Waiting for the Hurricane, from 1981. More»

Sonic Youth Needs an Editor

Sonic Youth Needs an Editor

I logged thousands of hours as a college radio DJ in the early 1980s, and have spun in clubs every once in a while since. House mixing is alien to me. I don’t like to extend songs, or blend them seamlessly. I want to slam different things together and mix them up, but still make sense. I want dynamics, not sameness. More»

Interstitial Overdrive

Interstitial Overdrive

A three-day music festival like Outside Lands is hectic and exhausting no matter how you approach it. So, I try to pare down the wish list, not rush from stage to stage to see every single band I’m interested in, and let the festival vibe take care of whatever other decisions need to be made. Recapping the experience without running over the itinerary isn’t much easier. But paying attention to what isn’t on stage is a start. More»

Ready Aim Failure

Ready Aim Failure

On August 18th, coordinated terrorist attacks near the Israeli resort town of Eilat claimed the lives of six Israeli civilians and two soldiers. In a matter of hours, the Israeli government, claiming they had proof the attacks originated from Gaza, directed bombing attacks at the besieged Strip. At least a dozen people were killed, including a local leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu categorically stated was behind the Eilat attacks. More»

Cultural Programming

Cultural Programming

She said she was in favor immigration. Just not “this immigration,” meaning the current wave of immigrants arriving on Italy’s shores. Stating that EU immigration policy had “totally failed,” Souad Sbai blamed NATO’s Libyan campaign for creating the current refugee crisis, telling her host that Europe is better prepared to fight wars than deal with immigration. She called for a Marshall plan for North Africa, as proper recompense for its oil. More»

Framing History

Framing History

One of the world’s greatest media museums sits just across the river from my apartment. Its name is the Museo Nazionale del Cinema (National Museum of Cinema.) Located inside Torino’s Mole Antonelliana, a 19th century building originally designed to be a synagogue, the place still has something of a holy purpose. Especially for an LA native, like me. More»

Common Protests

Common Protests

What do the different forms of unrest that have proliferated in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America have in common? Recently, Judith Revel and Toni Negri published The Common in Revolt, one of the more lucid and penetrating essays analyzing recent and current social protests, revolts, riots, and street politics. A characteristic of such provocative essays is that they demand responses and help shape public debate. More»

Elvis and the Barstool Blues

Elvis and the Barstool Blues

We met Elvis in a mini-mart in Winkelman, Arizona last May. This one chance encounter changed the way we think about photographing people and opened our eyes to parts of the mining landscape we’ve been exploring as part of our Copper Belt Project that we hadn’t much considered before even though they were all around us. In this one afternoon, Elvis, bars and booze all came together to make us see things differently. More»