Last December, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) released its long-delayed report on CIA torture, to much media attention; that coverage segued back into long-running debates on torture's utilitarian justification. Still, many heavy silences from all sides weigh on The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture.
The Professor in the Cage is a straightforward work of popular science bookended by what Jonathan Gottschall himself calls a "memoir stunt": One day in his late thirties, Gottschall, a "cultured English professor," decided to join the mixed-martial-arts gym that had opened across the street from his campus office, with the ultimate goal of engaging in at least one professional fight.
In the 1950s, artists worried about the concentration of power in hierarchies. They worried about the political effects of appeals to the authentic. Now we understand all too well that power functions pretty well in networks, too. You can have a very sophisticated theory of the self, and that won't stop power from going about its business. Power has not merely untoothed the language of the avant-garde, it has learned to speak it.
Kazuo Ishiguro's novels have for the last two decades frustrated expectations, and his decision to venture into the realm of legend this time is of a piece with the risks he's been taking all along. As he's explained many times to interviewers, the variation is a matter of maintaining his artistic vitality.
The Chilean writer Alejandro Zambra was born in 1975, two years after the violent military coup that ousted Chile’s democratically elected, Socialist president, Salvador Allende. It would be impossible to overstate the shattering impact of that coup, not only on Chile but on the entire Left in
Women who make "good" choices are generally said to have self-respect. At the very least, our usual definition of the quality assumes that a woman make choices at all. Miranda July—whose characters are wimpish, lonely, and lacking in self-knowledge—does not seem preoccupied by self-respect of this conventional kind. Instead her characters wait, with various degrees of whimsical passivity, for their lives to change.
Has there ever been a medical specialty as beleaguered as psychiatry? Since the profession's founding in 1844, the doctors of the soul have had to contend with suspicions that they do not know what mental illness is, what type their patients might have, or what they should do about it—in other words, that they are doctors who do not practice real medicine.
One could say, with no snark intended, that back in the year 2000, twenty-nine-year-old Mohsin Hamid was the ultimate bourgeois bohemian. He had just published a well-received first novel. He lived on lovely Cornelia Street, in a corner of the West Village once inhabited by artists and writers but, by the dawn of the twenty-first century, affordable mainly to investment bankers and management consultants.
Within the American Left, there’s a growing consensus that the gains won by postwar liberalism have been squandered or otherwise lost. A famous set of graphs by UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez depicts a return to pre–New Deal levels of economic inequality, and commentators have bemoaned the
What is the wordness of a word? Is a word the sum of its letters—the way they look arrayed on a sign or page? Or is a word its sound when spoken, the feel of its syllables on the tongue and in the ear? Or is the essence found primarily in a word’s meaning, its service as a vehicle for communication?