Author: John Foster
John Foster is a librarian, writer, and musician based in Cleveland, Ohio. When not writing or attending shows, he can usually be found cursing at his television during Arsenal matches.

To read the press in the United States, one might as well conclude we are living through a period of flux. Hardly a day passes without some organ of the serious media publishing a paean to the passing of the nostrums that had governed American political life since time immemorial (or at least since the Kennedy administration). (More…)

Vancouver B.C.’s Alien Boys have put out a punk rock record that is pretty close to flawless. If you don’t want to read any further, feel free to head over to their Bandcamp page and see if I’m right. But on the off chance that you need more convincing (from me), on Night Danger they have found the sweet spot where rocking really fucking hard (which they do) meets smart, passionate politics (which they have). I’m having a hard time thinking of something critical to say about them. Maybe it will come to me later. (More…)

For better or worse, the Holocaust has taken on the status of a metonym in American culture, now designating not simply the attempt to exterminate the global Jewry but, at a broader level, the most horrific event in human history. (More…)

I spent a term at the University of Washington as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate course on the history of the wars in Vietnam. It was outside my PhD research and an eye-opening experience. (More…)

I wrote somewhere, maybe here, that I always get nervous when I hear that Martyrdöd are about to release a record. I can still remember when I first heard their classic In Extremis (2005), a record which rocked me as hard as any crust record ever had. Ever since then I’ve been sort of waiting for them to drop off in quality. (More…)

Even viewed from a distance, the underground scene in Boston and eastern Massachusetts in the late 1970s and early 1980s was one of the most vibrant in the country. The city and its environs produced more than its share of blazing, straight ahead thrash acts, including the likes of Gang Green, Jerry’s Kids, the F.U.s, SS Decontrol, and DYS. (More…)

There was a time in the long, long ago when the politics of eastern Washington were moderate and relatively civilised. People there tended to be more conservative than they were in Seattle, but that was a pretty low bar. In any case, it was generally the case that politicians from either party could get a reasonable hearing. (More…)

Long ago, while earning a library science degree, I worked as a manuscripts processing archivist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. I handled letters and materials from the 17th century up through modern times. (More…)

In Walla Walla, Washington during the early 1980s I could count the punks on the fingers of one hand. We felt like we had it pretty tough. There was the ever-present possibility that some random person would decide they wanted a piece of you. (More…)

It is now more than 30 years since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, bringing at least a nominal close to one of the most brutal and intractable conflicts in European history. The major paramilitary organizations decommissioned their stockpiles of weapons, the savage tit-for-tat rhythm of atrocity and reprisal ended. People in England, the Republic, and Northern Ireland moved on. Except for those who didn’t. (More…)

Teeth have been gnashed and garments rent across the liberal world ever since the release of the special counsel’s report. For more than a year, American liberals had been living in hope and expectation that Robert Mueller would deliver unto them a magic bullet, a neatly packaged means of removing the stain on the national escutcheon that Mr. Trump represented. (More…)

News broke late Friday that Robert Mueller had finally delivered his report on the investigation into Donald Trump’s electoral campaign. No one but the report’s authors and the Attorney General’s office knows what’s in it, but ignorance never stopped an American from sounding knowledgeable. (More…)