Tag: December 2019

The Uneasy Uplift of The Testaments

When I first read The Handmaid’s Tale, the world was in the midst of a huge social experiment: If we just told girls that sexism was over, would it somehow turn out to be true? Growing up as a (rich, white) girl in the 1980s and ’90s was to be the target of a mind-blowing amount of propaganda […]

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Life Under the Algorithm

Henry Noll was one of the most famous workers in American history, though not by his own choice and not under his own name. Employed at Bethlehem Steel for $1.15 a day, and known among workmates for his physical vigor and thriftiness, Noll was—as the somewhat embellished story goes—selected by an ambitious young management consultant […]

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The Failure of the Adults

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist, has captivated the world. The Swedish teenager, who just a little over one year ago conducted a lonely, solo school strike in front of her country’s Parliament, is now inspiring a global movement of millions. Scientists at London’s Natural History Museum have even named a tiny beetle after Thunberg—proof, […]

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Welcome to the Monkey House

Locals call it the Monkey House. The decaying, three-story cement fortress sits among weeds in the wooded, hilly outskirts of Dongducheon, a Korean city of 96,000 that encircles Camp Casey, the closest U.S. military base to North Korea and home to key elements of the U.S. Army’s 2nd Infantry Division. The 2ID is “the only […]

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The Surprising Maturity of Marriage Story

You appear to have been dropped in at the climax of a romcom, when the man enumerates the large, small, and idiosyncratic things he appreciates about the woman, all those reasons he can’t love anybody else. Only here they’re already married, with a son, past the happy-ending goalpost, and both parties offer up their separate […]

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The Gentle Pleasures of Terrace House

In Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84, the protagonist, Aomame, a martial arts instructor, is forced to live in a safe house. Tamaru, her bodyguard, suggests that she read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time: “This would be a good opportunity to read the whole thing.” “Have you read it?” Aomame asks. “No, I haven’t been in jail, […]

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The New Deal Wasn’t Intrinsically Racist

In recent decades, “racial disparity” has become the central framework for discussing inequities affecting African Americans in the United States. In this usage, disparity refers to the disproportionate statistical representation of some categorically defined populations on average in the distribution of undesirable things—unemployment, low wages, infant mortality, poor education, incarceration, etc. And by corollary logic, […]

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Appalachia vs. the Carceral State

The group’s first meeting was in March 2016 at Tom Sexton’s house, a spacious three-bedroom apartment a few doors down from the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library on Main Street in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Time was already running out. Sexton and eight of his friends, most of them, like Sexton, environmentalists or other activist-types who had […]

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The Strange Liberal Backlash to Woke Culture

There is a certain kind of liberally inclined writer who sees Donald Trump’s America as a nation in crisis. At every turn, in every tweet, she is confronted by the signs of an ongoing catastrophe, from which it may be too late to escape. An ugly, vicious intolerance spread on social media; the collapse of […]

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What We Talk About When We Talk About the Middle Class

Every politician defends the middle class, but none of them knows quite what it is. In August, during a town hall, Joe Biden said, “We have to rebuild the middle class, and this time we bring everyone along.” In his telling, the middle class is part memory and part aspiration, less a demographic group than […]

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The Media’s Irrational Obsession With Campaign War Chests

Political reporters will do almost anything to avoid making a judgment call. That’s why they revel in seemingly objective truths like poll numbers and fund-raising reports, often taking as gospel the boast of bygone Republican Phil Gramm: “I have the most reliable friend you can have in American politics, and that’s ready money.” In reality, […]

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Making Impeachment Matter

A national poll in September, one of the first taken after Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House of Representatives would initiate a formal impeachment inquiry regarding the president’s dealings with Ukraine, turned up a plurality of respondents already backing Trump’s impeachment. The spread of opinion was as follows: 42 percent of Americans thought Donald […]

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Fukuyama’s Inner Civic Republicanism (Part 2)

“For virtually coeval with the enunciation of Lockean Liberalism,” Francis Fukuyama wrote in a passage in his 1992 book, The End of History and the Last Man, “has been a persistent unease with the society thereby produced, and with the prototypic product of that society, the bourgeois. That unease is ultimately traceable to a single […]

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Oligarch of the Month: Dmitry Firtash

Rudy Giuliani’s cartoonishly inept dirt-digging operation in Ukraine would not have been possible without Dmitry Firtash, the shady Ukrainian natural gas magnate who has spent at least $1 million investigating the Biden family. Firtash has found himself at the heart of a sprawling international corruption investigation before. In 2006, he flew to India, where, according […]

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How Europe Stumped Britain’s Conservatives

Not long before Margaret Thatcher’s intensely dramatic departure from office in November 1990, the veteran Conservative politician William Whitelaw was talking to Sir Robin Butler, recently appointed as Cabinet secretary, the most senior permanent official in the British government. As Charles Moore relates in Herself Alone, the third and final volume of his authorized biography […]

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The First Magistrate in Foreign Pay

To fully grasp what’s at stake in the impeachment of Donald Trump, it’s important to understand that the nation’s Founders conceived of presidential impeachment as a fundamental safeguard against corruption in office. To the Founders and other influential theorists of republican political philosophy, corruption was the great force that had undermined republics throughout history. The […]

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High Crimes

Article I In his conduct while President of the United States, Donald Trump, in violation of his constitutional oath to execute faithfully the Office of President of the United States, has abused the office of the presidency by employing the powers of the office to advance his own political interests, rather than the interests of […]

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How Giuliani Became Trump’s Chief Conspiracist

Throughout October, as Rudy Giuliani was revealed to be the linchpin in President Donald Trump’s shadow campaign to convince Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, the former New York mayor never stopped defending the president. He likened the impeachment inquiry to the Salem witch trials and, on Fox, attempted to pin the Ukraine fiasco on the […]

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The Sinister Privilege of Burning Billions

By the time Adam Neumann arrived in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood in 2008, most of the creatives who’d once lived and worked on the borough’s waterfront were gone. They’d been exiled years earlier, as successive mayors cracked down on code violations and landlords nursed visions of converting everything into luxury condos. The financial crisis had left […]

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