Edge of the Abyss

Edge of the Abyss

The world is on the cusp of the greatest transformation of the nature of work since the industrial revolution of the 19th century, if not, arguably, since the invention of the wheel. The confluence of developments in cybernetics, robotics, and artificial intelligence will, in all likelihood, result in transformations so profound as to rewrite the rules governing human societies, if it does not wipe them out entirely. More»

Sectarianism in Yemen

Sectarianism in Yemen

Media analysts frequently overemphasize Sunni-Shi’i divisions in Yemen, as though they are longstanding religious problems, with crude, irrational origins. Such discourse purposefully clouds the complex tribal, regional, and structural conflicts in the country. More»

Late Night Nostalgia

Late Night Nostalgia

Like many Americans, I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about David Letterman’s final shows. But it wasn’t until the past few days that I actually watched them “live”. Aside from sporting events, I almost never watch television in a traditional way anymore. So when I finally managed to tune into our local CBS affiliate at 10:30pm, it felt almost like time travel. More»

Latest entries
Peering Through the Smog

Peering Through the Smog

In some circles, Inherent Vice was the most eagerly anticipated film of last year. Its director, Paul Thomas Anderson, has long been a favorite of cinephiles, both for the excellent performances he gets from actors and his delightfully retrograde insistence on shooting to film. But tackling the work of the legendary writer Thomas Pynchon added greatly to the hype. More»

Pakistan vs. Charlie Hebdo

Pakistan vs. Charlie Hebdo

According to the Centre for Research and Security Studies, 7,655 Pakistanis died in 2014 as a result of terrorism, militant attacks, drone strikes, sectarian violence, targeted killings, and security operations. Its report was released the same week as the Charlie Hebdo murders, which caused international outcry, and massive unity marches, in France. More»

Why Context Matters

Why Context Matters

Countless cries of ‘Je Suis Charlie’ (I am Charlie) have emerged in the wake of the violent attack on satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo—one that has left 17 dead. And almost as swiftly, and now almost as furiously, comes the backlash. This backlash, and its proponents, are careful to condemn the attack, but nonetheless declares, ‘I am not Charlie’ as it tries to call attention to the racism inherent in many of the publication’s political cartoons. More»

Officer Friendly

Officer Friendly

The work slowdown currently being undertaken by the officers of the NYPD is one of the more surreal moments in the recent history of policing in America. While still responding to major crimes, New York cops have virtually stopped writing tickets, particularly for so-called “broken windows” type violations. More»

Masculinity in Crisis

Masculinity in Crisis

It’s ironic that the films receiving the most critical praise and attention right now are about, in varying degrees, the crisis of masculinity and the difficulties of being an (important) man. This isn’t to say these films are not good. More»

Germany Without Racism

Germany Without Racism

Germany’s fractured twentieth-century history gives racism a different meaning there than it has in the United States, Great Britain or France. The lack of an unbroken colonial legacy and the immigration to which it inevitably leads made people of African and East Asian descent relatively uncommon. Those who did settle down came primarily as guest workers or asylum seekers. And the Holocaust further complicated matters. More»

Islamic Noise

Islamic Noise

Characterized by waves upon waves of feedback, atonal beats, and strange sounding squelches and squeals, power electronics is purposely and unapologetically abrasive, even more so than most noise music, of which it is a subgenre. To listen is to be immersed. Without that tonality, that rhythm, there is often little for the listener to grab onto but what is being put forward, thematically. More»

The PEGIDA Problem

The PEGIDA Problem

The Nazis are back. So one would be inclined to believe, over the last few weeks, as Islamophobic demonstrations mushroomed across Germany. First catching the international media’s attention with a riot in Cologne, followed by a series of Monday night demonstrations in Dresden, Germany has been forced to acknowledge the growth of widespread sentiment against minorities, specifically Muslims. More»

Reeling in the Year

Reeling in the Year

A few weeks ago, Facebook users began posting the Year in Review posts automatically generated by the social media company’s mysterious algorithms. While these strange collages came with a customization option, most people seemed content to post theirs as-is. As I waited for my turn, I wondered whether I could do the same. 2014 was a rough year for me and my family. More»

Post-Capitalist Politics

Post-Capitalist Politics

At a fundamental level, there is something very attractive about the writings of Murray Bookchin. The work of this often prickly autodidact, who died in 2006, evinces an enduring to commitment to something that might (in the best sense of the word) be termed “humanism.” More»

Abandoning Earth

Abandoning Earth

Science fiction has become obsessed with the idea of humanity abandoning Earth. It is not just movies like Interstellar, which was a smash hit this year. Audiences identify with the theme of resignation in the genre. More»

Die Entzauberung der Welt

Die Entzauberung der Welt

When I was a teen, a boy I loved left me. I was heartbroken. Yes, it was something every girl experiences, but still, it hurts every time it happens. Nothing could fix this feeling, or make things better. My friend Mandy told me about a wonderful fortune teller in our neighborhood, who was reading tarot cards, coffee cups and giving advice to anybody who would pay her. More»