We have become numb. Safe little phrases like “pandemic fatigue” don’t begin to cover it. Headlines about spiking death tolls and overwhelmed hospitals, new strains and nations cut off from the world interchange in our minds with news of friends and family sick or dead. The pain of intimate loss and the horror of the grand tragic-historical fill in for one another.
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.
This July 4th let’s ponder the way in which our lives are dominated. Our existence slyly orchestrated. Our experiences siphoned down highways dotted with endless signs that ask in that prodding way “why aren’t you happy yet?” “Kids are in cages” we answer. “They are ripped from their families trying to escape violence and poverty that … Continue reading The Spectacle of Independence Day
Here’s a series of questions for my “fellow” Americans. Answer honestly. Do you really need to know what Prince Harry and Meghan Markle named their son? Should you even give a blue shit? Is the fact that you have twelve years to stop your city from sinking underwater in any way impacted by the naming … Continue reading Of Unfinished Revolutions
“In her world, this is what her social circle did... Everyone's life was perfectly curated for social media. People were fake. People were phoney. And money was made on hype alone.” So says the defense attorney for Anna Sorokin – aka Anna Delvey. Sorokin was convicted last month of what amounts to one big scam of New … Continue reading Potemkin Village Lifestyles
I. There is a truly noxious moment in Kenneth Clark’s 1969 BBC documentary series Civilisation. The art historian, knight, and life-peer stands across the Seine from Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral and ponders the meaning of the series title. “What is civilization?” he asks before peering over his shoulder. “I don’t know, but I think I can recognize it when I see … Continue reading Civilization Never Happened