our nightmare

Most of us, I imagine, are not consistent political optimists or pessimists. We instead react – and usually overreact – to the short-term political trends before us, unable to look beyond the next election cycle and its immediate impact on ourselves and our political movements. I remember, immediately after the re-election of George W. Bush […]

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we had all the momentum

D’Agata speaks of his desire to “divorce the essay from being read exclusively as a form that’s tied to its subject matter, or that is propelled by its subject matter.” But what, really, can this mean? Writing is communication, and form is only meaningful—only artful—insofar as it aids and inflects the travel of a thought […]

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TS Eliot’s “Preludes”

This one you can chalk up to “it’s my website and I’ll post what I want to.” Here’s me doing a reading of TS Eliot’s “Preludes” from his book Prufrock and Other Observations, which you can read below. I might do more of these. It relaxes me and I enjoy doing it.   3. Preludes I […]

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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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