Nausicaa Renner

  • Only Disconnect

    A SECRET ALWAYS HAS A HIDING PLACE: an unmarked house, a black lacquered box, an undisclosed conference room somewhere in misty Halifax. In retrospect they’re obvious. In Christopher Steele’s consulting office in London, the only giveaway as to the nature of his work is a set of Russian dolls, painted with the likenesses of Tolstoy, Gogol, Lermontov, and Pushkin—“as good a metaphor as any for the astonishing secret investigation Steele had recently been asked to do,” Luke Harding writes in Collusion. It’s December 2016 and Harding, a foreign correspondent for The Guardian, has arranged a meeting

  • Rude Awakening

    When I was in seventh and eighth grades, my class’s newfound maturity was channeled into learning about the most difficult moments of the twentieth century in a unit called Facing History. A central focus of the course was on the culpability of ordinary citizens in the worst crimes of human history. During the Holocaust, we learned, ordinary Germans, whether by ignorance or complacency, paved the way to genocide by not speaking up. The resistance to authoritarianism requires constant vigilance by citizens alert to even the tiniest erosions of society’s morals.

    The presidency of Donald Trump

  • Mamma Mia

    Every once in a while the psychoanalyst comes across certain deep beliefs in one of their analysands—a knot in the unconscious that sets a pattern and compels the analysand to act a certain way, again and again. Like the deep state, or the giant web of dark matter structuring the universe, there’s no way to tell exactly when or how it’s at work, or if it’s even there. When this knot emerges in analysis, it is visible only for a moment before ducking back under. The analyst’s job is to draw attention to its importance in shaping behavior—a role that is at once surreal and inconceivably simple.

  • Double Jeopardy

    There’s a food truck that roams Manhattan, offering a Belgian waffle piled with bananas, strawberries, chocolate fudge, and whipped cream called the WMD—the “Wafel of Massive Deliciousness.” That WMDs can now be casually vended around the city signals the end of one era and the beginning of another. We’re still in the midst of indefinite war, but September 11 is no longer the center of our civic life, and the memory of it, like a kidney stone in the national consciousness, is being pulverized and passed, in cultural remnants, here and there. The activist books are still being written, but the