Systemic Faults

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Honestly, I wasn’t too surprised to hear that the Supreme Court upheld Arizona’s  “lemme see your papers” doctrine; such laws are completely constitutional, and, furthermore, illegal aliens are guaranteed precisely zero protections under the U.S. constitution. Also, we need to keep American jobs for Americans and Mexicans are a drain on our already-burdened social welfare system.… [Read more]

International Baby-Haters

Say No to Babies

I’m frankly not a fan of babies; working in a pediatric practice has cultivated a deep revulsion in me for them, and the looming threat of disastrous overconsumption, a phenomenon which their very existence precipitates, has made me genuinely fear what all these inane infants are capable of.

While declining birthrates are a hallmark of postindustrial societies and the spread of neoliberal norms, the global population is continuing to grow exponentially, threatening the ecological stability of our entire planet.… [Read more]

Borrowing from the Money Store

Student Loan Debt Burden

In case you aren’t painfully aware that the student loan situation has gotten terribly out of hand, consider this: the average college graduate owes $25,000 in debt—what do you say to someone in that situation? Add to this the sublime impossibility of finding a job (days and days spent, dozens of CVs sent out… it’s like a ritual of sorts) and the proliferation of unpaid, or “for credit/experience/exposure” internships, and moving back home to your parents seems like more of a dire necessity than a sensible decision.… [Read more]

Prohibitive Power

Abuse of Power

In The Brothers Karamazov, Ivan utters one jarring line which has been since quoted and re-appropriated almost as often as Dostoevsky’s epilepsy would manifest itself.

That introduction, you see, was utterly tasteless, much as the Wall Street Journal has, over the past few years, devolved into a vulgar organ for pink-faced men gurgling cholesterol and spewing intellectual shortcuts and claptraps.… [Read more]

Defrosting Democracy

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In the wake of the economic crisis, Iceland’s economy was utterly decimated and proverbially screwed by the remainder of the Eurozone. Unlike its Mediterranean counterparts who bowed to German financial autocracy and appointed unelected technocrats, Iceland saw what may be remembered as the most successful democratic resurgence to come out of the global recession, now in its 5th year.… [Read more]

The Lesser of Two Evils, For the Best

LesserOfTwoEvils

Why is it that certain groups of voters seem to consistently vote against their own interests? The results of the Wisconsin recall seem to be quite the claptrap for all of us who hoped that the political great awakening, which, after all, started in Madison, would lead to something resembling measurable change. Scott Walker has held on, and though the Democrats have taken the house, the overhaul of repressive labor legislation seems now a pipe dream.… [Read more]

Culture Shock, Future Shock

Presidential voting by state

Gripping the New York Times this morning and recovering from sweaty nightmares I can’t remember, I read that Mitt Romney made the commencement speech at Liberty University and I subsequently felt what it is to be an exile. Pandering to evangelical voters concerned about his adherence to “traditional values” (and what an empty pile of kitsch those words signify!), Romney essentially assured them that his Mormonism wouldn’t prevent him from carrying out God’s work, and evangelicals apparently bought it.… [Read more]

Direct Action and Direct Actors

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Right this moment there are 1,500 Palestinian prisoners participating in a hunger strike to petition Israel’s apartheid government for fair trials; meanwhile in a wide network of suburban homes, corporate coffee shops, and lunch-break cubicles, a swarm of slightly-overweight opinioneers is debating, defeating, and prefiguring the validity of whatever we could call the democratic, anti-capitalist awakening which is taking hold of this country.… [Read more]

Producing the City, Producing Dissent

May Day Strike

Radicals, said David Graeber, while holding a plastic Roman legion helmet (he just returned from an action protesting student debt), radicals have had a long unspoken pact with liberals: we incite, provoke, ask controversial questions, and liberals, now regarded as holding a more reasonable alternative to us, gain political power and enforce change. This, he went on to explain, is how political progress occurs: the Haymarket Affair was what pushed legislators to enact 8-hour workdays, it was factory occupations in the early 20th century which led to the rise of unions, and it is radical direct action which will turn the wheel of change now, in 2012.… [Read more]

Nostalgia and the Conservative Ostrich

Nicolas Sarkozy

With François Hollande winning the first round of the French presidential vote, Sarkozy’s re-election prospects are looking quite grim, and the dawn of a new age in French politics seems to be fast approaching. The French cultural mirror, head turned sharply back (to call it vain would be cliché), is proving to be unsustainable in the 21st century: Amelie might have sustained the wonderful simulacra of Montmartre, artistic and quirky, but this whitewashed past hasn’t simply vanished in the desert of postmodernism; it has really never existed at all.… [Read more]

Pyongyang and the Wide Orbit of Truth

A North Korean soldier stands guard in f

On April 13th, North Korea carried out its most recent act of defiance against the West, all of which past similar acts have been met not even with a slap on the wrist but with a stern finger-wag, by launching a ballistic missile, which subsequently exploded and fell apart in the Yellow Sea. This act, however, is quite different: for one, it “shot down” President Obama’s engagement policy with Pyongyang (as Chris McGreal cleverly quipped in The Guardian), and secondly it affirmed the West’s fears that Kim Jong-Un would proceed in the role his father and grandfather had laid out in the totalitarian state.… [Read more]

Slacktivism, Transparency, and the Measure of Success

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Now I for one thought the connections between Invisible Children and Fundamentalist Christianity became quite apparent when co-founder Jason Russell went on a naked rampage. This, if nothing else, served to underscore the trite and, frankly masturbatory nature of slacktivism: the decentralized, interconnected, 21st century’s stand-in for real brick-and-mortar (or rather megaphone-and-placard) activism. Strikes, demonstrations, and happenings, however, have not so much been replaced by web-friendly alternatives as supplemented by them.… [Read more]

Hoodies and the Grammar of Repression

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On Wednesday, March 28, Rep. Bobby Rush (D) of Illinois was escorted off the floor of the House of Representatives for a breach of the congressional dress code which is far more nuanced and gets far more attention than anyone could imagine. While making a speech about the murder of Trayvon Martin and subsequent controversy, Rep.… [Read more]

What the US Could Learn from Putin’s Thousand-Armed Political Aggregate

Broken Ballot Box

Quickly overshadowed by the meteoric rise and fall of the Invisible Children and its masturbatory answers to white guilt, the Russian presidential election was covered sparsely by Western media and quickly swept under the blogosphere’s shag rug. Myopic, as this election will majorly affect global politics for the next six years, but we had seen this coming: everyone knew who the winner would be and the US-EU conglomerate’s response, a lukewarm ‘we’d appreciate an “independent and credible” investigation, but we’ll work with you anyway if that’s too much trouble’ [1] came as no surprise.… [Read more]