Author: Charlie Bertsch
Charlie Bertsch lives in Tucson, Arizona. A founding editor and regular contributor to one of the world's first online magazines, Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life, his work has appeared in numerous publications since including The Oxford American, Punk Planet, Phoenix New Times, Cleveland Scene, Tucson Sentinel, and the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

At the beginning of his book Capitalist Realism, Mark Fisher reads Alfonso Cuarón’s 2006 film Children of Men as an allegory for our geopolitical predicament. In depicting a world much like our own, except for the fact that children are no longer being born there, it literalizes the experience of living through an era when the future no longer seems meaningfully different from the present. (More…)

Right now, the American media is dominated by discussion of Michael Wolff’s forthcoming book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Towards the end of the incendiary excerpt published in New York Magazine, Katie Walsh, Deputy Chief Staff until March, 2017, is quoted saying that working with the president was “‘like trying to figure out what a child wants.’” (More…)

When I walked into the Giant Sand show on Boxing Day, midway into the band’s first number, I was taken aback. Howe Gelb, the group’s sole permanent member, is a man of many moods, with performances that vary accordingly. But this time he seemed more interested in playing guitar than in playing himself. The music was still languid, but ferociously so. (More…)

As I was returning to my rental car last week after yet another trip to the massive Wegmans supermarket across the street from our hotel, I was delighted to see that the snow that had started falling a half hour earlier was really piling up, even on the well-salted asphalt of the parking lot. Although I may be closer to 50 than 5, my internal programming remains the same. (More…)

By contemporary standards, the red banner at the top of the CNN home page advertising its live coverage is completely normal. Every news organization wants visitors to watch video content. Ads sell for a lot more than print. And live video is better still, ensuring a captive audience. But yesterday, its message seemed wrong to me: “Wildfires burn near Los Angeles. Watch now.” (More…)

The revelations of sexual misconduct by men dominating American media are having a profound impact on how people feel about their world. Last week, I stopped by the home of a senior citizen who needed help with something and heard, the second I opened the door, that M*A*S*H was playing on her television. But in place of nostalgia, I felt a surprising revulsion. (More…)

The crowd at Club Congress is sparse. A few true believers and some people who are only here because they happened to be here already. My friend and I don’t fall into either category. I told him we had to see this show because it’s important, because I respect tradition, because it’s Dead Moon. They’re setting up right in front of us, out on the floor. (More…)

When the second season of Netflix’s Stranger Things went live on October 27th, millions of people rushed to finish the whole season. Some just wanted to avoid spoilers. But for others, this mode of consumption was necessitated by their desire to participate fully in conversations about the show. (More…)

Like most Americans, I witnessed the scenes from the right-wing march on Charlottesville, Virginia with horror and dread and was delighted to see the President’s response to the violence excoriated by Republican leaders. But the more denunciations I saw, the more I worried. (More…)

Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake is a searing indictment of the 21st UK, which has been subcontracting many traditional functions of the state to private corporations. But the film also asks probing questions about the direction in which every society in the developed world is headed. What will happen to our humanity as more and more decisions are made by computers or people who act like them? (More…)

How do you register the passage of time? It’s a question that dominates the new season of Twin Peaks. This was probably inevitable, once Mark Frost and David Lynch decided to bring back members of the original cast over twenty-five years later. But their decision to confront the strangeness of this return head-on has made it resonate with a bracing profundity. (More…)

“Is it me or are a lot of people struggling with depression and insomnia right now?” When a friend in the United Kingdom posted this question a while back, most commenters focused on the winter weather there. I didn’t have that excuse. It’s almost always sunny in the Arizona desert. But that isn’t helping me this year, I responded, because “Trump creates his own weather.” (More…)