Jennifer Wilson

  • Hegemony Changes Everything

    LAST YEAR, during a diversity workshop I was required to take for work, the facilitators asked each of us to share the moment we first became aware of class inequality. One of them gave her example to “get us started” and told us about the time she visited a wealthier classmate’s house and saw a bidet in the bathroom. I think we were meant to laugh, but I kept wondering if this “rich person” was maybe just Japanese. Details aside, I was confused. You would have to live in an absolute cultural vacuum not to realize until that point in life that rich people existed. The class divide was the very

  • The Empathy Industrial Complex

    IN AN ESSAY ABOUT the Russian existentialist philosopher Lev Shestov, best known for his “philosophy of despair” (exactly what it sounds like), D. H. Lawrence writes that Shestov’s work provides a “real clue to Russian literature.” “With us,” Lawrence explains to his English readers, “[European culture] is our very blood and bones, the very nerve and root of our psyche.” The Russians, however, “have only been inoculated with the virus of European culture and ethic,” Lawrence claims, adding: “The virus works in them like a disease. And the inflammation and irritation comes forth as literature.”