Posts Tagged: politics

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“With no mutually acceptable vocabulary, communication between contending parties has all but been replaced by efforts to bypass opponents and communicate directly with two key constituencies: independent or swing voters, and the respective bases each side wishes to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

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“On Sept. 11, 1948, my father, Khalilullah Nuristani, was born under the same burden of greatness. In retrospect, he must have believed that he could fulfill what had been his father’s unfulfilled destiny. My father became a tireless fighter for a free Afghanistan.”

Afghan writer Kakail Nuristani compiled photos, letters and documents from his father’s life, working with Adam Klein to tell a fascinating story that spans three-generations.

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Straw Man

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“Just as women don’t hate Samantha Brick for being beautiful, and feminism hasn’t ruined anyone’s chances to be married, and no one thinks mothers don’t work, and there is no argument between working and stay-at-home mothers, there is no contradiction between the sexual imagination of some and sexual politics for all.”

At The Guardian, Hadley Freeman skewers the strategy–at play in both politics and media–that seeks to inspire in-fighting amongst women thereby distracting from actual policies or content.

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Politics in the Exam Room

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In the fall of 2008 I was chatting with a woman I know about the upcoming presidential election. She was in her 60s, single, a funky dresser, world traveler, and amateur artist—what my mom would have called a “free-spirited Auntie Mame type”— so I was surprised by what she had to say: She was voting Republican.

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Our Broken Legal System

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“…Substantial wealth inequality is so embedded in American political culture that, standing alone, it would not be sufficient to trigger citizen rage of the type we are finally witnessing.”

At Mother Jones, Glenn Greenwald looks back at the history of inequality, examining the founding fathers’ view of inequality as “not merely inevitable, but desirable,” as well as its lasting pervasiveness and acceptance.

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British Hacking Scandal Roundup

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Perhaps the most surprising thing about the British phone hacking scandal is the lack of coverage in the US press.

Among the US newspapers, the NY Times is the only one I can find which has done significant reporting on the story, though the best work on the story comes from (no surprise) the Guardian.

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Books For The Politically Alienated

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The founding editor of Bookslut offers an eclectic selection of books that might help us confront our own deeply American sense of political alienation.

One of them I especially want to read: Avoiding Politics: How Americans Produce Apathy in Everyday Life by Nina Eliasoph, a book title that speaks to the person inside of me who would prefer to stay home all day, read books and update my Facebook account instead of having to confront the brutalities that my privileged repose rests upon.

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Ishmael Reed On The “Jim Crow Media”

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This last year Ishmael Reed published a book of satirical essays targeting the current American media: Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the Nigger Breakers.

Despite being a MacArthur Fellow, a critically-acclaimed author of nine novels and numerous other volumes of poetry, essays and criticism, Reed, a long-time resident of Oakland, CA had to go to a Canadian publisher to publish this book.  This morning I discovered a recent interview with him that was at once insightful and provocative.

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Love in the Time of Terror Babies

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“My parents, with admirable foresight, had their first child while they were on fellowships in the United States. My mother was in public health, and my father in a library-science program. Having an American baby was, my mother once said, like putting money in the bank.”

So begins Daniel Alarcón (who is reading at the next Monthly Rumpus)’s recently published short story “Second Lives,” whose narrator is a Latin American man with a potent longing for a First World life.

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Foreign Until Proven Innocent

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Joe Lieberman is introducing something he calls the Terrorist Expatriation Act–TEA Act for short, though the redundancy seems lost on them–which would make it possible for the State Department to strip the citizenship from anyone they determine is “involved with terrorist activities.”

Lieberman claims that he’s simply trying to update existing law.

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Hate’s Ugly Revival

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“Over the last decade Hispanic immigrants have become the main focus of American hate groups. According to Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center, after September 11, 2001, the conservative media began discussing immigration as a national security issue, often using terms like “illegals,” “invaders,” even “potential terrorists” to describe undocumented immigrants.

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Totalitarian Kitsch

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“It is the official art of authoritarian governments, aimed at extending state control through propaganda. Totalitarian kitsch exists to glorify the state, foster a personality cult surrounding the dictator and celebrate ceaseless and irrevocable social and economic progress through images of churning factories and happy, exultant workers.”

I have long pondered the boundless evil of all things kitsch but now thanks to this article (via Bookforum) I have new reasons to fear it.

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