Posts Tagged: The New Inquiry
Because borders are so weird, words proliferate. Along with arbitrary, nonsensical violence—and strange, unpredictable exceptions—people talk a lot and lots of papers get filed, even as all of it is, in practice, evacuated of meaning.
For The New Inquiry, Aaron Bady thinks through the poetics and the “Kafka-esque” violence of borders....more
What can the medium of the video game tell us about our collective desires as a society? According to Alfie Brown’s essay for The New Inquiry, a lot actually. The author details how our fascinations with apocalypse gaming and pastoral farming simulations reflect two distinct responses to the hopelessness of capitalism:
Their picture of a lost era of tightly knit villages where humans lived in organic harmony with nature complements prophesies of a dystopic future in which humans are regimented components of a remorseless capitalistic machine.
At The New Inquiry, Alison Kinney examines the use of orphanhood in literature and what attracts readers to this narrative. She goes on to discuss the similarities and differences between orphans represented in literature, like Jane Eyre, and orphans in our real world:
Fairy tales of stolen infants resonate with those of us who come from countries where babies are trafficked, birth families cheated out of their custody, and in-country childless couples wish to adopt but are barred by the higher prices set on the international market.
Although all-things “African” had been exalted in my house, this was not the case for project kids at P.S. 40, nor the “best of the brightest” at P.S/I.S. 308. It was at those places where I learned that there was a world’s difference between how we’re raised, and how we grow up.
While concerns over the accuracy and invasiveness of the technology are important, the primary fear I have is that the technology available today masks a form of gender and racial stereotyping with the scientific authority of genetics.
Of course books don’t digitize themselves. Human hands have to individually scan the books, to open the covers and flip the pages. But when Google promotes its project—a database of “millions of books from libraries and publishers worldwide”—they put the technology, the search function and the expansive virtual library in the forefront.
Teju Cole’s got a penchant for prose that lingers; over at The New Inquiry, he delivers once again:
When I have a nap or something, J.D. said, and I fall asleep (these words in English, all of a sudden, and not in French; but only these words), at that moment, in a sort of half sleep, all of a sudden I’m terrified by what I’m doing.
Do we really know which North American cities have been most culturally relevant over the last two centuries? Over at The New Inquiry, Nick Danforth and Evan Tachovsky made an interactive map showing the frequency with which the names of American cities have been mentioned in print in the last two hundred years....more
Facing financial inequality and burdened with debt, millennials have discovered Marxism, writes Timothy Shenk for the Nation. And millennial writers are leveraging technology, rejecting old guard institutions, and constructing new forums for discussion:
Combine all this with some fondness for navel gazing and with the fortunes of geography—politics aside, New York writers are New York writers, and they like to talk about each other—and the pieces are in place for the articles declaring the rebirth of Marxism that have become a minor genre in the last year.
Writing for The New Inquiry, Hannah Black explores race in Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird and the relationship of white, black, and mixed racial identities in modern western culture.
Similarly, race-authenticity does not spring up from the mere fact of certain physical features—it has to be mined from others.
It’s a trend you may never have noticed, but it exists: “women—attractive, single, childless women—have long been coupled with exotic animals. Gentle women and wild animals are linked in myth and fable, fashion photography and pornography, pulp art and fine art.”
A spellbinding essay by Sasha Archibald for the New Inquiry looks at real-life woman–animal pairings and what society has done with their stories, from Ruth Harkness, who introduced pandas to the West, to Dian Fossey “of Gorillas in the Mist fame,” to SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau....more
Melissa Petro, whose Rumpus essay “Not Safe For Work” contributed to getting her fired from a teaching job, writes in this month’s The New Inquiry about what she calls “The Writing Cure”—how writing about traumatic or damning life events offers a cure for often denied or disassociated feelings of victimization and shame....more
White people clamoring to up their cred by appropriating nonwhite culture do so hoping to be rewarded for choices that are falsely seen as inherent in people of color.
In an essay on cultural appropriation for the New Inquiry, Ayesha Siddiqi dissects “the awkward sexism of white supremacy” and what we really mean when we say “white girl.”
It might rearrange your whole way of thinking about certain intersections of race and gender....more
Three of our favorite publications—the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Toast, and the New Inquiry—are joining forces to create a SXSW panel.
Titled “Rebooting Cultural Criticism on the Web,” the panel hopes to address questions like: “How do we make literary and cultural criticism work in new ways on the web?...more
Is it possible to write a feminist critique of birth control?
Holly Grigg-Spall tries to do so in her new book Sweetening the Pill, but according to our editorial assistant Lauren O’Neal’s review in the New Inquiry, she doesn’t exactly succeed:
…the book presents birth control as a simple issue.
At a relatively slim 3700 words, Moira Weigel’s and Mal Ahern’s essay “Further Materials Toward a Theory of the Man-Child,” sparked by less-than-enlightened political text Preliminary Materials for a Theory of the Young-Girl, manages a comprehensive indictment of misogyny in all the places it’s not supposed to be....more
The riot grrrl movement—and other “angry young women” making music around the same time—validated and celebrated female rage.
But what if you feel less rage and more “negative but ultimately weak emotions that do not lead to action” like “envy, irritation, and paranoia”?...more
As Kenya’s president-elect, Uhuru Kenyatta, stands trial for crimes against humanity, Kenyan poets have come together to write poems from the perspective of some of the mysteriously missing witnesses.
The results are as captivating as they are heartrending. You can read more about the project—and many of the poems themselves—at The New Inquiry....more
A fantastic essay at The New Inquiry inspects the recently deceased Chinua Achebe’s place in the Western literary canon.
In an interview a few years ago, Norman Rush was talking about the ways he was influenced by African writers, and he mentioned that “No non-African could do what Achebe has done.” And I get what he was saying.
MOOC’s are a word for forgetting that universities have never grown without being planted, for trusting that just as students can teach themselves, universities will magically grow themselves, too.
In the 21st century, many universities have been changing their game and debilitating higher education by turning it into a corporate ordeal....more
That the Ironman participant may be as vain or as emotionally distressed as a freely directed exerciser becomes irrelevant, because the Ironman race, like a Thanksgiving feast, takes place in the presence of many others pursuing the same extreme pleasure. It has finite, communally agreed-upon bounds.
“Let me say and I probably mean this in the most manifesto-ing way that genres don’t exist. They don’t exist at all. They serve the needs of marketing, of academic specialization, even as modes of work, but in terms of meaning or content or associative formations they are like traffic lights—not so interesting and most adamantly not what we are doing today.”
The New Inquiry conducts a five question interview with Eileen Myles....more