Tag: Magazine

Sea of Troubles

In June, I joined the crew of the rescue ship Alan Kurdi. It was a cantankerous old brute of a boat, a former East German research vessel that now belongs to a small German nonprofit called Sea-Eye. “You are an eye on the sea,” the crew manager told us at our first briefing on board, […]

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Fukuyama’s Inner Civic Republicanism (Part 1)

In his recently published study Identity: The Demand for Dignity and the Politics of Resentment, Francis Fukuyama wants to modify his best-known thesis, published first as a 1989 essay, “The End of History?,” then as a book-length treatment in 1992, The End of History and the Last Man. The word “end,” he now says, was […]

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The Art of the Unspeakable

In 1971, the artist Suzanne Lacy was taking classes with Judy Chicago at the California Institute of the Arts, and she had an idea: What if they created a performance that involved an audience listening to recordings of women telling their stories of rape? It sounds simple now but it wasn’t then, because those kinds […]

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Fox and Foes

In August, President Donald Trump noticed something odd on Fox News—a poll had shown multiple Democrats beating him in an election. Enraged, he told reporters that there was “something going on” at the network. “We have to start looking for a new News Outlet,” he later tweeted. “Fox isn’t working for us anymore!”
 In a […]

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Olga Tokarczuk’s Gripping Eco-Mystery

Murder mysteries, however else they might differ, rely on one major, shared belief: that murder matters, and is worth looking into. Whoever did the killing, whoever was killed, the investigation moves forward because the people inside the story and those outside of it, following along as the clues unfold, agree that the murder has moral […]

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The Enduring Myth of “The Economy”

In 1992, James Carville scrawled a slogan on a whiteboard in Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign headquarters. “It’s the economy, stupid,” has since become famous as a piece of blunt, homespun political wisdom. But I have to admit, it always confused me. Carville meant it as a rebuke to any members of the Arkansas governor’s staff […]

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The Shrinking Legacy of a Supreme Court Justice

Once upon a time, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. was the great modern American jurist. The “Yankee from Olympus,” as Catherine Drinker Bowen’s 1944 biography called Holmes, was the first celebrity justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, as popular then as the Notorious RBG is now. Nearly a century ago, the Columbia Broadcasting System delivered a […]

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Calm Before the Storm

Mayor Phil Stoddard keeps enough potassium iodide on hand for all the children of South Miami. The lanky, bespectacled biology professor-cum-municipal politician fears an accident at the Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, which lies 25 miles south of downtown Miami—and a mere 20 miles from Stoddard’s office in South Miami City Hall.
 “Right after a […]

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The Failed Political Promise of Silicon Valley

July 1945, the engineer Vannevar Bush—one of the founders of the Raytheon electronics corporation, and director of the federal Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II—published a meditative essay in The Atlantic. The scientific community had mobilized during the war to develop the atomic bomb. Now, he urged, it should turn itself […]

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The Green New Deal Meets Green Republicanism

In Concrete Economics, Stephen S. Cohen and J. Bradford DeLong exalt Alexander Hamilton as the architect of the booming industrial economy that took off in America in the second part of the nineteenth century. Hamilton’s great innovation was to marshal the federal government behind the infrastructure required to create a strong industrial base for the […]

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The Myth of Class Reductionism

Ever since Bernie Sanders’s insurgent run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, a specter has haunted left-liberal debate: the specter of “class reductionism.” Left-identitarians and centrist liberals have used this oversimplified charge not merely to dismiss Sanders but also to cast suspicion on the broad array of universally redistributive policies associated with him and […]

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Why White Supremacists Are Hooked on Green Living

On Saturdays, Sarah Dye and her husband, Douglas Mackey, sell seasonal vegetables and eggs at a farmers’ market in Bloomington, Indiana. Sarah stands behind a stall piled high with heirloom tomatoes, basil, okra, and acorn squash. With a towheaded baby in her arms, she greets customers and makes small talk. She and Douglas own Schooner […]

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Painting Over the Dirty Truth

In four minutes on Season 3, The Sopranos nails the ethical dilemma that has long mired the art world. Carmela Soprano’s consultation with the Jewish shrink is priceless: Facing the truth about Tony, her mob-boss spouse, the upscale Mafia housewife tries to compartmentalize her marriage from its funding sources. She is loath to divorce. “Us Catholics, we […]

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The MAGA Plot

Ben Lerner writes novels about Ben Lerner. This sentence might have once sounded like a criticism. But since writing that collapses the distance between fiction and author—so-called autofiction—is au courant, it is nearer an endorsement. The hero of Lerner’s debut novel, 2011’s Leaving the Atocha Station, is a poet named Adam Gordon. He’s anxiety-ridden, callow, and […]

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Paolo Sorrentino’s Loro Will Make You Feel Complicit

How a political film should aim to make you feel is a tricky question. There’s the Ken Loach approach, worthy and moving but, in this overcrowded landscape, arguably not fashioned to persuade (or even attract) those viewers not already on-side, and there’s the fast-paced Armando Iannucci satire, in which hypocrisies are gleefully punctured and the […]

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Crash Course

Nearly two decades before Boeing’s MCAS system crashed two of the plane-maker’s brand-new 737 MAX jets, Stan Sorscher knew his company’s increasingly toxic mode of operating would create a disaster of some kind. A long and proud “safety culture” was rapidly being replaced, he argued, with “a culture of financial bullshit, a culture of groupthink.”
 […]

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Edward Snowden’s Novel Makeover

Edward Snowden’s new memoir, Permanent Record, wasn’t eagerly anticipated. That’s only because hardly anyone had heard about it before Snowden’s publisher, Macmillan, announced in August that it would go on sale in 20 countries on September 17, Constitution Day. To keep the project covert, even from Snowden’s many hard-core admirers, publishers had reportedly used code […]

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