Reads
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»

Leaving the West

Leaving the West

Among Turkish media commentators and academics, we are observing an increasing tendency to question Erdoğan’s policy of reorienting Turkey away from the West towards positions and a vernacular that appeal to the “Islamic street.” More»

Cairo to Tel Aviv

Cairo to Tel Aviv

One of the questions to be asked of a translated novel is ‘why was this translated?’  The answers can range from the author’s perceived importance, to providing foreign readers with cultural insight, or to publishing economics. More»

The Division of Syria and Recent Changes in Aleppo

The Division of Syria and Recent Changes in Aleppo

The division of Syria has not undergone any changes, since the time of Volney. To the pashalik of Aleppo  belongs Aintab, Badjazze, Alexandretta, and Antakia. Damascus comprehends Hebron, Jerusalem, Nablous, Bostra, Hums, and Hama. More»

Pro Wrestling and the Accidental Avant-Garde

Pro Wrestling and the Accidental Avant-Garde

It is quite difficult to suggest that pro wrestling is, or can be, legitimately avant-garde. Barthes’ assertion is true, that “In wrestling, nothing exists except in the absolute, there is no symbol, no allusion, everything is presented exhaustively…”, More»

The Limits of Freedom

The Limits of Freedom

Irony can be a difficult tone to manage well. It can be even more difficult to visualize effectively. Jillian Tamaki is a skilled ironist whose new graphic story collection Boundless (Drawn & Quarterly) can absorb and reward repeated readings. More»

Utopia Banished

Utopia Banished

It is hard to get away from the impression that we are epigones. This is not, or not merely, the case due to the carnage wrought by Mr. Trump and his various protégés on the none too august institutions of American liberal democracy. More»

Refugee Lives

Refugee Lives

Simply writing a personal or family memoir would be an easier task than producing an illustrated graphic memoir. It is not only that the work is more difficult technically, but so much more is at risk in the visualization of the narrative. Emotions about family members and their lives emerge in the pictures. Visual storytelling commits where words can remain ambiguous. More»

Handcuffed World

Handcuffed World

I loathe seeing people in handcuffs. It is a common enough experience, yet not one that I witnessed until mature adulthood. There is a deep offense to the sight of people in handcuffs or leg-chains, worse than imprisonment. More»

Prison Knowledge

Prison Knowledge

Prisons are holistic and extended social systems, a point that remains too little recognized in public discussions of prisons and imprisonment. That system includes prison staff and their families, people equally capable of social expression as prisoners and their own families. While prisoners often write of their experiences, prison wardens and guards are far more reticent. More»

Ghetto People

Ghetto People

People who have been living in a ghetto for a couple of centuries, are not able to step outside merely because the gates are thrown down, nor to efface the brands on their souls by putting off the yellow badges. The isolation imposed from without will have come to seem the law of their being. But a minority will pass, by units, into the larger, freer, stranger life amid the execrations of an ever-dwindling majority. More»

Fascism, Folk-Woke Activists & The Question of #noplatforming and Leftist Disunity

Fascism, Folk-Woke Activists & The Question of #noplatforming and Leftist Disunity

The leftist protest against LD50 Gallery in the early days of 2017 was immediately followed by provocations from anonymous right-wing trolls.[1] Posing as anti-fascists on Tumblr, they directed their synthetic anger against certain leftist intellectuals and institutions More»