Protected: The Cult of the Hindu Cowboy
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When Denmark Criminalised Kindness
‘We now know that it is a criminal offence to help refugees in distress.’
Five Things Right Now: Cynan Jones
‘A pair of seagulls. I say a pair. They might just be good friends.’
‘Music needs silence / more than silence needs music.’ New poetry by Rae Armantrout.
Discoveries: Polymorphous Perversity
New erotica from Anaïs Nin; Emily Dickinson’s bedroom; Isaac Asimov’s dystopias, interracial love circa 1963 and more.
‘In Hollin Hills, we believed our flatware could change the world.’ Jennifer Kabat on the intersection of modernist architecture and espionage.
‘Nothing has changed, Edgar said. What new event is written into their history? None. Where is their future? Nowhere. Are they against or for progress? It was dark when Edgar took the box outside down to the rubbish heap and sprinkled the dead moths upon the ashes of the diseased pawpaw.’ Janet Frame on an unsettling natural process.
‘What future youth movement might capture them, those international participants in virtual hunts?’
The Sufferings of this Present Time Are Not Worthy to Be Compared With the Glory Which Shall Be Revealed in Us
‘Every sect needs jargon. We did not have churches, we had halls; services were called meetings; the congregation was the assembly; elders were overseers’
Blue Sky Days
‘For those caught beneath its thrum, there’s no comfort that the drone, and whoever is at its helm in America, is only targeting the bad guys.’ Eliza Griswold introduces Tomas van Houtryve's unsettling photo-essay taken by drones coming close to civilian life in the manner of the drones currently deployed in Afghanistan.
The Interpreters: Among the Brahmins of Benares
‘That first sight of the city curled around the river goes through me like the breath of something old and known and familiar. The city has been destroyed many times in the last thousand years, no less by development authorities than by conquerors. And yet it is so perfect an articulation of the culture that built it that the overlay of centuries has not muffled its voice.’ Aatish Taseer revisits Varanasi.
Diary of a Gulag Prison Guard
‘Freedom, even with hunger and cold, is still precious and irreplaceable.’
‘A man sat on the corner of Karl's anorak and didn't notice, pulling Karl slightly to the right. He stared at the man's shoes. Brogues, a slight residue of shoe polish. He stared ahead at the empty stage. Now he had left it too long to do anything about it.’ Luke Kennard's fictional take on business motivational classes.
‘how can all the pressures of surveillance / fail to describe me?’
‘Even today, she still speaks with emotion about Dorian, the transsexual so proud of her breasts, Diane, who weighed only sixty-five pounds, and Steven, who was so frightened of dying alone that Darcy wished she could promise to be with him when the time came.’ Emmanuel Carrèrre on addiction and poverty in an forgotten America.
Things I Never Told Her
‘I will lay down what I want, and I will get it, and prove I am not the kind of woman who is controlled by a man.’
Discoveries: The Fall of Rome
Word of the Year 2016: Post-Truth; Don DeLillo on the enemy in the White House; Leonard Cohen, the novelist; Ariel Levy’s Thanksgiving in Mongolia.
Teaching After Trump
‘In a country whose government we do not trust, who do we need more than writers and teachers? And what is more powerful than an inspired youth?’
Protest is an exhibition of historical and contemporary works by sixteen artists concerned with the sociopolitical issues of their day.
The White Bloc
‘This election made clear that white people in this country have begun to vote how Southern whites always have: as a bloc.’
The Day After Trump Won
‘I feel afraid, and I do not know what to make of yesterday’s belief. I can see that belief like an object shimmering underwater, a kind of relic.’
Discoveries: The Very Ecstasy of Love
Zadie on Beyoncé, Didion on diarists, Bureaucracy as Sadism, How Did They Win that prize? and more.