in the end, the work is what matters

Another reader request. Devon: “What do you think of the controversy over Hamilton and its historical accuracy? Are the criticisms fair? It seems like a good example of politics overriding artistic quality in the way you’ve criticized in the past.” I can’t say anything about Hamilton critically; I haven’t seen it. I have listened to the soundtrack a few […]

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cautionary tales: the good shit

It’s hard to write about digital culture. You’re typically dealing in exceptionally complex technicalities or the vague abstractions we’ve come up with to pin them to the page. Parodies and satire like those found in the Professor Jeff Jarvis Twitter account and Silicon Valley have mined this territory to great effect, thanks to the abundance of empty […]

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planet loser

Why do people still go to grad school? Because our culture has very few visions of what it means to be a winner and a huge number of what it means to be a loser. Laura McKenna’s piece is part of a perennial microgenre in the world of #Content: the “What Are They Thinking?” piece. It’s […]

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reader request: Marcel Duchamp

Another donor request: “Who’s a historical figure you really admire, and why?” There’s many people I could write about here; it’s always easy for me to come back to Debs. But today I’ll talk about Marcel Duchamp. You can consult Wikipedia for a biography of his life, Google Images for pictures of his work, the great […]

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a few thoughts on liberal smugness

A few scattered thoughts on this treatise on liberal smugness by Emmet Rensin. The piece describes a real thing. It’s a real facet of American liberal life. It has real, profoundly negative consequences, politically and morally,  for the broad left-of-center. It really is underdiscussed. It really is key that we confront these issues as we […]

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Freddie Classics: “What class.”

In honor of his piece “How Not to Disrupt Politics,” I’m reprinting this piece about Ron Fournier from my defunct blog L’Hote . Enjoy. Ron Fournier: White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer walked into the media cabin of Air Force One on May 24, 2002, and dropped identical envelopes in the laps of two reporters, […]

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ah, civility

The story of the 2016 Democratic primary has not chiefly been about major policy differences between a centrist candidate and a left-wing candidate, nor about fundamental visions of change, nor the incongruity between American liberals’ acknowledgment of the depth of our problems and their resistance to actually fixing them. It hasn’t been about healthcare or […]

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it really is not complicated

I am confused by liberal confusion over the attraction many people feel towards Bernie Sanders’s candidacy. We have seen, in the past decade or so, a flowering in popular understanding of the world’s deep inequities. Philosophies like intersectionality have entered the popular discourse. The term “white supremacy,” once popularly reserved to describe societies like the […]

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Jeanne Fahnestock’s Rhetorical Style

Continuing on with my days of gratitude for my (newly arrived, weeks ahead of schedule!) new laptop, here’s a reader request, submitted by an anonymous donor. “What’s the one academic book that you encountered in graduate school that you would recommend, more than any other, to a general audience? Specific to your field, please, so […]

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