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Posts Tagged: politics

Do Writers Also Have to Be Protesters?

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Pankaj Mishra has always been a politically outspoken writer, so when Mo Yan, who has defended the Chinese government’s censorship, won the Nobel Prize, Mishra was the last person anyone expected to defend him.

But he did, asking, “Do we ever expose the political preferences of Mo Yan’s counterparts in the West to such harsh scrutiny?”

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Lou Reed’s Discobiography

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This week in The New Yorker, Nick Flynn writes a poem about Lou Reed. There have also been some other great articles about Lou Reed.

“Discobiography” might sound like the title of a cheesy 70s memoir, but according to Erich Kuersten it’s the perfect name for the genre in which Lou Reed’s Great American Novel resides.

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Staving-off-Despair Roundup

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When there’s an injustice as great a man walking free after killing an unarmed teenager, at least we have writing to turn to.

Our essays editor Roxane Gay has done some of that writing for Salon in a piece about the George Zimmerman trial titled “Racism is every American’s problem.”An essay or an Op-Ed won’t solve anything,” she says.

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Victories for Pro-Choicers, Gay Marriage; Defeat for Voting Rights

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As you’re probably aware, we’ve been covering Texas’s grotesque anti-abortion bill SB5, and we’re overjoyed to report it did not pass.

Texas State Senator (and now folk hero) Wendy Davis filibustered the bill for close to thirteen hours under the state legislature’s stringent rules: no sitting, leaning, drinking water, using the bathroom, or speaking about subjects not germane to the topic at hand.

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The Politics of Hurricane Sandy

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In our earlier roundup about Hurricane Sandy, we linked to this piece from The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta which quotes Governor Mitt Romney in 2011 at a Republican debate. He was talking about government spending in the context of a concern that FEMA was running out of money for dealing with national emergencies.

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A Rep. Todd Akins Roundup

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Before yesterday, I suspect most people outside Missouri had never heard of Representative Todd Akin. I barely recognized the name myself, even though I consider myself a bit of a political junkie and I currently live in the neighboring state. All I really knew is that he was beating Senator Claire McCaskill pretty handily in her re-election bid, and that the Democrats were likely to lose that seat come November.

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Russian Punk Band Pussy Riot Sentenced to Two Years for ‘Hooliganism’

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Today in a Russian court, three members (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, Maria Alekhina, 24, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, 30)  of the all-female Russian punk band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for “hooliganism.”

(For those unfamiliar with the story, here is a round-up of links that we published last week.)

The trio had been facing up to seven years, but, after much deliberation, was sentenced to two years in prison for an anti-Putin song they performed in a church.

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Pussy Riot Link Round-Up

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Three women of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot are on trial in Russia for hooliganism, which carries a charge up to seven years in prison, following their arrest in March after a performance of what they’ve called a ‘punk prayer’ critical of Vladmir Putin in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, one of the most famous Orthodox cathedrals in Moscow.

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Steve Almond on Comedy and Politics

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“Why take to the streets when Stewart and Colbert are on the case? It’s a lot easier, and more fun, to experience the war as a passive form of entertainment than as a source of moral distress requiring citizen activism.”

At The Baffler, Rumpus columnist Steve Almond takes on comedians Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, arguing that the comedians serve, largely, to mollify the public by staunching desire for active action against unjust power structures by engaging in acts of essentially harmless ridicule.

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The Language of American Politics

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At The American Interest, David Green issues “A Call To Linguistic Disobedience.”

In his essay, Green argues that some of the most basic linguistic techniques used to describe the state of American politics (or, to “define the situation”) – such as the use of a binary of left versus right, liberal versus conservative – create a system in which any substantive explanation or exploration of events becomes impossible, as actual dialog becomes shrouded behind and ultimately replaced by competitions over the definitions of fundamentally subjective labels:

“With no mutually acceptable vocabulary, communication between contending parties has all but been replaced by efforts to bypass opponents and communicate directly with two key constituencies: independent or swing voters, and the respective bases each side wishes to mobilize.”

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