Join our Mailing List

Posts tagged with ‘Essay’

Capitalism is nothing but a collection of rules, which are tenable only in the presence of other moderating rules.

These alerts have become commonplace for me and the 27 million other unemployed or underemployed Americans, their bank accounts hovering near empty. The luxuries of my lifestyle consist buying new socks and underwear a couple times a year — almost exclusively for emotional cheer — and spending $20 at a bar every week or so. I eat quinoa, brown rice, and canned beans. Moral tales of austere self-restraint don’t have much to attach to in my daily life.

Mike Thomsen, “Escape From The Minus World”

It isn’t the law that is struggling to catch up to drone technology; it’s us.

If it’s the other way around, however—and if the state can do anything it’s not specifically barred from doing—then we have the reverse scenario. If the law doesn’t tell the government how to regulate speech or commerce, then the government gets to decide how it wants to regulate speech or commerce and even if it wants to at all. In other words, the fact that you haven’t loaded Driving for iDummies on your laptop might not stop it from sneaking out while you’re sleeping and taking your girlfriend’s Honda Fit for a late-night tryst. After that, it might decide that human beings are a contagion and set off to eradicate them. Not having been instructed on when and where it is appropriate to exterminate all human life, it might well decide that today is the day to get some real work done.

Aaron Bady, “Dumb Computers, Smart Cops”

This essay appears in the newest issue of The New Inquiry magazine. Subscribe today for $2.

Rather than reduce human error — a long-standing technocratic ideal that claims the right tools will free one from crashes, malfunctions, capture in enemy hands, and other folly — the drone campaign has found a strategic way to keep American pilots at a safe and comfortable distance and exonerate individual commanders from mistakes on the rare occasion that it admits to them. A blind-looking metal bird is a surefire alibi.

Maryam Monalisa Gharavi, “Paranoid Androids”

People who perpetuate the single story think they’re being supportive, but support is not synonymous with positing extreme suffering and then empathizing with it. The truth is that it does not suit our social narrative to recognize that a woman can be raped and get on with her life, can maintain sexual and romantic relationships without counseling, won’t think of her rape every day, and won’t see herself as a “survivor” or different in any material way. According to the cultural script, women are simply not strong enough to bear such an experience easily. We are expected to be creatures easily destroyed by sex and by physical violence, who endure in the wake of such assaults only through supreme efforts of will and assistance. And we forever wear the badge of “survivor” (so much more “empowering” than the wordvictim) because we are forever changed by this assault. Rape has altered the very core of our beings, because the cores of our beings, as women, are bound up in our sexual histories.

Charlotte Shane, “Live Through This”
(Painting: “Cat Head,” 2011, Allison Schulnik)

London, baby, you’re beautiful just the way you are. It’s tempting to see the city the way it sees itself sometimes, as an ageing diva, swelling and spreading and prone to hot flashes, painfully aware of losing its international relevance. London forgets that there is witchcraft in these old bones, and dirt, and the sort of power that accretes in any filthy old body with a tendency to consume its own young.

Laurie Penny, “London, Underground”

Our culture is unable to address rape with the sobriety and clarity the topic deserves because we are still unable to address sex with the sobriety and clarity it deserves.

We should be extremely wary of claims to innocence by any “victim” of the Obama administration. We know Republicans will stop at nothing to undermine his presidency, so when confronted with hundreds of children burned to death by Hellfire missiles under his watch, one must ask, Who does it benefit? If their charred remains will be used to undermine the left’s enthusiasm for the president, depressing voter turnout — a classic tactic of Karl Rove — can they really be said to be innocent at all?

Charles David, “Drone Court Advantage”


Though some feminists regard “rape equals devastation” as sacred fact, the notion that a man can ruin me with his penis strikes me as the most complete expression of vintage misogyny available. Common sense instructs us that it is far more “dangerous” to insist to young women that they will be broken by an unwanted sex act than it is to propose they might have a happy, healthy, and sexually pleasant future ahead of them in spite of a sexual assault. 

Charlotte Shane, “Live Through This”

It really did seem like a good idea. I didn’t realize, before I started my journey, just how much the city has changed in the past six months since I last spent extended time on the underground. Under the glare of Olympics posters, London feels exhausted and resentful. After thirteen hours on the tube, so did I.

Laurie Penny, “London, Underground”

 Kapow! is a book about revolutions, but it also exhibits a range of motion: the uncertainty of where a moment starts and where it stops and the realization that nothing happens in straight lines. 

Sarah Handelman, “The Revolution Unhinged”