Best of July

Dearest supporters, readers, and friends:

Summer is in full swing, August is upon us, and it’s time to revisit the most riveting, thought-provoking, inflammatory, and amusing writing of the month we just sweat through together.  We present to you the Best of July; at least, according to us, your friends at the Los Angeles Review of Books.


The End of Economics
By Matt Seybold
“Geoff Mann boils the essence of Keynesianism down to a deceptively simple question: is it worth risking civilization to make it better?” 

Not a Fan of Fat Shaming? Stop Thin Praising.
By Afshan Jafar
Sociologist Afshan Jafar warns that positive reinforcement can be even more powerful than punishment.

Is Cultural Appropriation Ever Appropriate?
By Arthur Krystal
Arthur Krystal on cultural appropriation.

The Myth of an Apolitical Montaigne
By Robert Minto
Robert Minto assays “Montaigne: A Life” by Philippe Desan, which restores the great essayist’s political dimension.

How Class in China Became Politically Incorrect
By Louisa Lim
Louisa Lim explores how “class” became a dirty word in post-Mao China.

Richard Rorty: Life, Pragmatism, and Conversational Philosophy
By Santiago Zabala
Part of a LARB forum in which philosophers reflect on the legacy of Richard Rorty.

Korean 101 (Or, How to Win Over Your Girlfriend in a Semester or Less)
By Stefano Young
Stefano Young recounts how he tried to woo his Korean girlfriend with a phrasebook and a class at a local community college. 

“Carl Broke Something”: On Carl Andre, Ana Mendieta, and the Cult of the Male Genius
By Maya Gurantz
Maya Gurantz reflects on Carl Andre, Ana Mendieta, and the cult of the male genius in contemporary art.

The Mystery of Melania
By Tracy Quan
Understanding the iconography of Melania Trump, the first foreign-born supermodel to occupy the White House.

Silicon Valley’s Bonfire of the Vainglorious
By W. Patrick McCray
Patrick McCray looks at two new books about Silicon Valley, Mark O’Connell’s “To Be a Machine” and Alexandra Wolf’s “Valley of the Gods.”