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Posts tagged with ‘ESSAY’


“I was seeing something that would only make sense later—I mean, something that only later would profoundly not make sense. Only later would I understand: what seems like a lack of meaning—that’s the meaning.” 

Brad Johnson reviews Clarice Lispector’s “The Passion According to G.H.” (trans. Idra Novey) from New Directions.

The vampire figure did not portray Oscar Wilde per se: Rather, it stood for all the fears and fascination Wilde inspired in British society.


So tiny is our knowledge of Stoker’s private life that apart from his name below Dracula’s, he seems himself to have achieved a vampirish invisibility—a dark shadow silently wandering among his contemporaries, carefully sheltering his figure from the light of popular interest.

Kaya Genç, ”Coming out of the Coffin”

“Every gesture of love is an assertion of power. There is no selflessness or self-sacrifice, only refinements in domination … Romantic love—all love—is sex and power. In nearness we enter each other’s animal aura. There is magic there, both black and white.”

Camille Paglia quoted by Natasha Vargas-Cooper in “Hard Blows”

image: Pierre, state II by Louise Bourgeois

We want to look at the “car crash,” the “trainwreck,” but something tells us we shouldn’t stare. What if we kept walking forward but kept our eyes glancing back at the passing ruin?

Marnell has almost normalized the crash through her fixation on it.

Jane Hu, “No Epiphanies Whatsoever”

As far as the state is concerned, unmanned systems are an unquestioned ethical good, charged with both protecting the lives of American soldiers and pursuing terrorist threats.

They are not empowered to tell the cops to quit, so they advise the kids to cope — to keep their heads down, do what they are told, and wait to be released after graduation. The ultimate lesson being imparted is the futility of resistance.

"The Prison-Educational Complex," Astra Taylor


Drone war is about disassociating their people over there from our people over here, forming a wall between the watched and the watchers, those who are heard and those who aren’t. 

Kate Chandler, “System Failures”

The finished network of global hegemony that a game of Twilight Struggle yields is impressive, but what is the cost of this network? What did it cost in the real Cold War? 

Jeremy Antley, “No Accidents, Comrade”

For those who want to play by the rules, who speak wistfully of college and a career, the path out of poverty — let alone toward the stable, satisfying, and fairly remunerated work they crave and deserve — is blocked by prejudice, debt, insecurity, and, for many men of color, incarceration.

Astra Taylor, “The Prison-Educational Complex”


This essay appears in Volume 6 of The New Inquiry Magazine. Support TNI. Subscribe for $2. 

It starts with the simple questions: Can I afford not to own a cell phone? Would I still be employable if I didn’t own one? Would I still know what is happening and get invited to parties? The next year, it’s owning a smart phone. Or being on Facebook. Or getting an iPad for the children. None of this is about being aspirational. It’s about keeping up, an imperative sharpened by the economic crisis. So we cut expenses, but not when it comes to technology. Perhaps we eat out less, or travel less. But the cell phone — which by now has become a smartphone — stays. And the thing about smartphones is that in order to be fully functional they need to know where they are — that is to say, where we are. This knowledge defines them. It is what makes them smart.

Giovanni Tiso, “Under Our Skins”

SUBJECT: UAV Naming & Branding Protocols

FROM: [Author] & [Co-Author], MARKETING DEPARTMENT

1. [REDACTED], chief of R&D, reports that [COMPANY]‘s development of new unmanned Aerial Vehicles has proceeded according to initial timeline.

2. Head of JSOC materiel acquisitions has expressed interest in two UAV prototypes for deployment in successor to Project Avocado. Recommend push on all.

Jacob Silverman, “By Any Other Name”

This piece appears in The New Inquiry Magazine, No. 6: Game of Drones. Subscribe today for $2 and get Issue No. 7: Cops.