In the mid 1970s John Berger began a new life—and a new family—in a small mountain village outside Geneva in the Haute-Savoie. He was close to fifty. At first he and Beverly Bancroft did not live in the village of Quincy itself, but up the road in an old farmhouse. The ground floor was an unused cow barn; in the kitchen an iron furnace burned coal and wood. Even so, the house was frigid in the winter. There was running water, but no way to heat it except on the stove. The toilet was in an outhouse
With his eye on the longer game, Ronald Reagan hedged against the nativists then filling Republican ranks. Even as his administration was carrying out workplace raids that critics were comparing to Operation Wetback in the 1950s, he bet the party’s fortunes on courting the Latino vote. “Hispanics are Republicans,” Reagan once said, on the idea that they were inherently conservative, “they just don’t know it.” Risking his own backlash, Reagan committed to immigration reform, including some kind
At the end of the twentieth century, cultural critics often invoked “schizophrenia” to diagnose all of mediated humanity. Continuing a theme prevalent since the early nineteenth century, this diagnosis linked modernity and madness in terms of dysfunctional communication. Baudrillard, for example, argued that the “ecstasy of communication” signaled “a new form of schizophrenia with the emergence of an imminent promiscuity and the perpetual interconnection of all information and communications
The events of the past few years have created a glaring divide between Russia and the West. How and why did this happen? In the West, the story of how relations with Russia descended to their current abysmal level is often told as one of an ominous drift, under Putin, back toward a Soviet-style showdown between Moscow and its former adversaries—prompting many to conclude that the two sides found themselves waging a ‘New Cold War’. From this perspective, the clashes of the 2000s, especially the
The Billy Lee Myth begins with a fact: he was once one of the most engaging young novelists in the country, greeted by some critics as the second coming of F. Scott Fitzgerald. “Brammer’s is a new and major talent, big in scope, big in its promise of even better things to come,” wrote A. C. Spectorsky, a former staffer at the New Yorker. “[His work] has impressive sweep . . . it makes many of today’s novels seem small, contrived, even mean.” Brammer earned the $2,400 Houghton Mifflin Fellowship
You’re shivering and sweating at the same time on the bench. Time’s flying; you’ll have to pick up your children soon, but you don’t want to make a fuss yet. As if for your entertainment, the most beautiful and elegant of trial presentations begins in front of two shelves full of books, CDs, and DVDs. A young woman lifts yellow crates from one pallet onto another empty one beside it. She doesn’t bend her back as she does it, holding herself as straight as a rod; she performs all her work calmly,
Sep 17 2018


Jessica Hopper

Saturday was the Hold Steady video. It is a good thing not all one hundred people showed up because we had room for about thirty-three total. People later said they did not show because filming video is waiting around for twenty hours to act fake-excited in one-minute spurts. Which might be true when you are on the set of Sum 41’s “Spooge Patrol” shoot, but this is the Hold Steady; they are a punk band on a punk budge, no time to spare. I got paid with a latte and a vegan muffin. It was like a
The one activity that was perhaps the most stable part of my identity that first semester was the seminar I was taking with Ehsaan Ali. His class Colonial Encounters was held on Friday afternoons. The seminar participants required his special permission to join. I had heard that he brought red wine each week to his classes and you sat around discussing the day’s readings while sipping wine from small plastic cups. When the semester began, I went to Ehsaan’s office in Philosophy Hall to get his
Below is an excerpt from Leslie Kaplan's 1982 fiction of the French factory revolts. For more on the book, recently released in an English edition (translated by Julie Carr and Jennifer Pap), see Jason E. Smith's review in our special summer issue, 1968 Now. You go to a factory that makes headlights. It’s in a neighborhood just outside the center, a little street. At last you’ve arrived. The factory is there. You see it, it’s in the courtyard, a cadaver without weight. It’s there, it doesn’t
“Only art works are capable of transmitting chthonic echo-signals,” writes Susan Howe in the foreword to her new collection, Debths, inspired in part by the Whitney’s 2011 retrospective of American artist Paul Thek. I have always been interested in folktales, magic, lost languages, riddles, coincidence, and missed connections. What struck me most was the way [Thek’s] later works, often painted swatches of color spread across sheets of newspaper with single words, phrases, or letters