paper trail

Tope Folarin challenges the whiteness of autofiction; Rick Perlstein on the long tail of right-wing movements

Rick Perlstein. Photo: Meg Handler

In their Power Issue, the New Yorker has published a lengthy excerpt from former President Barack Obama’s memoir, A Promised Land, about his administration’s health care reforms.

At the New Republic, Tope Folarin discusses what it means that writers of color are walled off from “a genre that critics seem to constantly write about and whose practitioners are held up as the preeminent voices of their generation?” In a discussion of the whiteness of what critics and publishing houses deem autofiction, Folarin argues that the genre would “obviously benefit immensely” from stories about people “who are more likely than their peers in Brooklyn to be on the front lines of the crises that will define the twenty-first century, like climate change and economic injustice.”

Kaitlyn Greenidge, who won a 2017 Whiting Award for her debut novel, writes about the cultural fixation with “firsts”: “People in power . . . generally believe that there is no one else qualified until they happen to decide to bestow the crown. It’s easier that way, isn’t it? To think that the first happened just because the right person finally managed to emerge and break through, and not because there was a whole system put in place to make sure no one who looks a certain way or comes from a particular background ever has a chance to do so.”

Carolyn Ryan has been promoted to deputy managing editor of the New York Times.

The Columbia Journalism Review interviews Rick Perlstein, author, most recently, of Reganland, about why 2020 is not like 1968, present-day election coverage, the long tail of right-wing movements, and what really motivates voters: “People do not experience the world with these neat divisions between politics and culture and economics and family relations and art. All these things are mixed up together in our lives, and each of them helps determine the other.”

It might be a good time to revisit “The Case for Ending the Supreme Court as We Know It,” by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor from September.