Category: Essays

  • All We Want is More Time

    All We Want is More Time

    For the second time in less than a year, a major, headline-grabbing strike has been averted. Not with the employers giving in to the unions’ demands. No, that would be too sensical, too much of a break with the cruel absurdity of our moment.

  • Lighthouse Realty Associates

    Lighthouse Realty Associates

    Los Angeles is a city that should not exist. No desert was meant to hold an urban hub of this size. It is a non-location, a place that that manages to weirdly persist due to simple inertia over sustainability. The wildfires that grow in size and intensity every season, ever-encroaching into La-La Land, are not only general reminders of a planet that will soon be too warm to sustain civilization; they feel like deep time retching up a virus contracted long ago. That it is also where the United States manufactures its ego, its own version of cultural relevance, is only too appropriate, as the 2018 burning of Malibu makes so very clear.

  • The Point of Aimless Wandering

    The Point of Aimless Wandering

    At first, I was unsure what to think of this book. The last (and so far only other) book from Andy Merrifield I’ve read has been Magical Marxism. I thoroughly enjoyed it, at times loved it, and at others disagreed with it to the point of flinging it across a room.

  • Why Won’t You Die?

    Why Won’t You Die?

    He has survived. This braying, sniveling coward whose vindictive petulance has led to the deaths of over 200,000 people, has survived. Of course we always knew he was going to. He has access to the best treatment imaginable – round-the-clock care, experimental drugs, even a hospital room that looked more like a suite at the Waldorf. A few caveats aside – “not out of the woods yet,” his shortness of breath – Donald Trump has survived Covid-19.

  • Liberal Democracy Is a Spectacle

    Liberal Democracy Is a Spectacle

    In the vast warehouse of insufferable chestnuts that comprises popular American political wisdom, few are more cloying and useless than “democracy is not a spectator sport.” Not just for its thick-headed, football coach motivation-speech optimism, but because, by point of fact, American democracy has always been a spectator sport. It has always feared the mob, always relied on passivity to get its business done, and – if you’ll indulge another stupid sports metaphor – has always viewed the voting public as an inert crowd watching while the real action happens on the field.

  • A Hell Within Hell

    California’s fire season is back. It seems to arrive earlier and earlier every year, and becomes fiercer, more destructive, more indifferent to the fact that there are cities and towns in its way. There are currently more than 560 burning throughout the state, most of which have only appeared in the past week or so. Most are concentrated in the north and central parts, but southern California isn’t exactly being spared. A large handful of blazes are scattered throughout Orange, Los Angeles, and San Diego Counties. They are smaller, but that is always relative.

  • The Necessity of History, the Tragedy of Aesthetics

    When we tear down statues, it is an attempt to alter the trajectory of history. Not history as just “what has happened,” which we can never change as much as reinterpret. No, this is history as a great unfolding, as something that is taking place and will take place on one route or another depending on what is done in this moment. You can hear it in the reactions of the right. In their barely contained apoplexy, their cries of “you can’t erase history,” they are, however unwittingly, announcing that there is consequence to how that history is experienced in the here and now.

  • Remain Indoors

    Remain Indoors

    For the past month we’ve come to grips with this strange yet somehow familiar feeling: history happening without our permission. Of course that’s always been how it is. How many of us have ever truly felt we’ve had definitive control over events? Damn few of us, that’s who. But still, in our schedules, our social engagements, our celebrations and obligations and deadlines, we we’ve always been able to cobble together some sense that things move along. That something called a future is, despite everything, still in store. And with that, something called hope.

  • Nothing Sane

    Nothing Sane

    Ill-fated power plant workers confirm that the reactor has indeed exploded by staring down into a deep, burning pit. Flames rise up with an unnatural ferocity. It looks less like an industrial accident. More like an Old God awaking from under the Earth’s crust. 

  • Havana Notes

    Havana Notes

    It is early afternoon in Havana, and someone hands us a small flier. It reads:  We are a collective of artists that come together every night at a small, dark and decadent underground hideaway. It also happens to be the best dance floor in the city. Looking for something with a little more edge than La Bodeguita […]