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When newspapers first disclosed that one percent of the US population was imprisoned or on probation, credible reports allege that prosecutors at Maricopa County Attorney’s office celebrated with cheers and calls to “Go for two percent!”  That is what team spirit looks like in this age of mass incarceration. (More…)

“Kitsch is the absolute denial of shit,” Milan Kundera famously snarled in his 1984 novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being. In his story, a painter declares an aesthetic war on the kitschy pop culture that was crafted and enforced by communist Czech bureaucrats during the Prague Spring revolt of 1968. (More…)

When I look back on the material Souciant has published since its March debut, I am awed by its diversity. Considering that we generally restrict ourselves to five pieces per week, it’s remarkable to be doing so many things well. Pride doesn’t come easy for me. But I am deeply honored to be part of a project that values freedom — of subject matter, of style, of sensibility — above policy. (More…)

What do we do when we reach the end of things? What does cinema look like, and how do we respond when we know the end is here? If you look at my list of favorite films of 2011, you’ll get some ideas. Split between films by Europeans like Lars Von Trier, Béla Tarr and Pedro Almódovar and American filmmakers such as Jeff Nichols and Spencer Susser, my favorite films share an apocalyptic vision of the world (More…)

A year can be an eternity. Especially if you measure time by the speed of news publishing. Old enough to have written for print periodicals, but young enough to have begun my journalistic career online, I remain astonished by the amount of media that can be produced in a week, let alone a month, or a year. (More…)

Last week, Thomas Friedman wrote a column criticizing Republican presidential candidates for pandering to Israel and ignoring what was in the best interests of both Israel and the United States. He also spared more than a few words to express his concern over the fact that more and more US Jews are drifting away from Israel. (More…)

Lublin isn’t the sort of place that frequents as a setting for Hollywood films. The introduction to Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man breaks with convention. Once home to a large Jewish community, the impoverished Polish city serves as a backdrop for the appearance of a gothic dybbuk, foreshadowing the Nazi genocide, that would empty the town of its Jews. (More…)

In their guises as 2manydjs and Soulwax, Belgian brothers and prolific audio/visual bricoleurs David and Stephen Dewaele set the standard for this century’s digital cut-up pop media scene. Nowhere is this more evident than in Hardcore or Die, their impressive visual take on that most unruly of 20th-century analog pop genres, ’80s American and European hardcore punk. (More…)

“Epic Salutations,” the seductive opening track on Murs’ new album Love and Rockets, Vol. 1: The Transformation ends with what sounds like a mission statement: “Hard core rap about nothing at all.” But the reality of this fine hip-hop record is far more complex. (More…)

You never know what you’re going to find when you shoot photos in the dark. The little cluster of houses is visible from Interstate 10. They look like they’ve been abandoned for decades. Their collapsing roofs blend with the scrub and dirt of the desert, and the place looks like it’s completely outside of time. (More…)

In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a woman is accused of being a witch. When the knight presiding over the proceedings asks how the people know she is a witch, a man in the crowd responds “She turned me into a newt.” When the knight seems unconvinced, the man says, sheepishly, “I got better.” Here in Washington, DC, our Newt just keeps getting worse. (More…)

It’s a matter of trust. So went the logic of Monday’s announcement by Canada’s immigration minister, that the government would ban the wearing of niqab, or burqas, when veil-wearing Muslim women take Canadian citizenship. Judges have to be certain they know who they’re dealing with when awarding such privileges,  Minister Jason Kenney informed The Guardian. (More…)