Category Archives: Current Events

Free Speech Year

By Joshua Clover

While few would dispute that there has been renaissance of open white nationalism since Donald Trump’s election, it has proved difficult for many to narrate the white nationalist movement as a movement. Repeatedly over the last year, people — people in positions of significant power — have treated each rally, gathering, or other event as if it had arisen from nowhere, or from some subterranean roil, singular, independent of previous events. The treatment of each event as discrete, rather than as part of a sustained political project, is a political problem itself, one that has already cost and continues to risk more lives. Continue reading

Two Trumps or One?

By Jill Frank

President Trump’s speeches whiplash between calls for national togetherness and exploiting ethnic divisions. When he reads prepared text from a teleprompter, as he did two days after the Charlottesville terrorism and in his August 21 speech on Afghanistan, he focuses on themes of unity. These speeches are generally attributed to National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster. When Trump goes off-script, as he did at a press conference three days after Charlottesville and at his rally in Phoenix on August 22, he slashes and divides. These words are generally believed, per his Twitter thoughts, to be the “real Donald Trump.”  Continue reading

American Monuments and the Residue of History

By John Levi Barnard

On August 11th and 12th, a white supremacist mob descended on the town of Charlottesville, Virginia, ostensibly to protest the removal of a statue of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The protest erupted into violence, culminating with one of its members driving a car into a group of counterprotesters, leaving one dead and many injured. “Sad,” Trump tweeted, “to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments.” Pursuing this line of thought, Trump wondered where this anti-monumental carnage was going to end: “who’s next,” he rhetorically asked, “Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!” Continue reading

Yes, O.J. Simpson Did It. The CDC Report on Female Homicides Should Leave No Doubt.

By Amber Haque

Last month, two seemingly disparate news stories emerged on the same day: the first was O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing for a 2007 conviction on charges of kidnapping, assault, and armed robbery. The second was the publication of a report on female homicides in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continue reading

An Open Letter to UVA President Teresa Sullivan

Dear President Sullivan:

I write to you as a 2001 alumna of the University, as a former Jerome Holland Scholar, Echols Scholar, and as a fall 2016 Fellow at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. I also write to you as an Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville, a public university founded in 1798, whose campus is dominated by a central Rotunda modeled after the one that Jefferson designed for UVA. My life as a scholar and artist in the south has been a very happy one — but I’ve encountered contradictions that I’m sure you would recognize. For the first six years of my career at Louisville, I walked to my classes each day beneath a 19th century memorial obelisk for the Confederate dead. The statue was removed by the city last year, and while there was some local protest, I never feared for my safety on campus.    Continue reading

Postmortem: Jane Austen and Repealing the Affordable Care Act

By Susan Celia Greenfield

For now, it appears the Republican Senators’ attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is dead. But key provisions (like cost-sharing reductions for insurers) remain in doubt, Vice President Pence has said, “We won’t rest until we end […] ObamaCare,” and Trump still wants to sabotage the law.  In July, the vast majority of Republican Senators were prepared to do just that. Continue reading

The Blue Force Field: A Justice System that Assumes Impartiality Fails Us All

By Justin Campbell

“The reasonableness of a particular use of force must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 of hindsight. The calculus of reasonable must embody allowance for the fact that police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments-in circumstances that are tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving-about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation. The test of reasonableness is not capable of precise definition or mechanical application.” -Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Graham v. Connor (1989)

“Lower courts were asked to use three questions to measure the lawfulness of use of force: First, what was the severity of the crime that the officer believed the suspect to have committed or be committing? Second, did the suspect present an immediate threat to the safety of officers or the public? Third, was the suspect actively resisting arrest or attempting to escape?” -Ken Wallentine, “How to Ensure Use of Force Is “Reasonable and Necessary” and Avoid Claims of Excessive Force” Continue reading

Hamburg, and My Issue with Riot Porn

By Natasha Lennard

We call it riot porn — it’s a pretty self-evident term to describe videos of riots and protests, viewed and shared for enjoyment. They contain a few standard aesthetic elements: fire, smoke, black bloc participants, and confrontation, preferably in which the protesters appear to have the upper hand. They give little room for context, relying instead on the idea that we know an insurrectionary spectacle when we see one. Between online denizens of the far left, eager to share in what revolution looks like, riot porn gains swift social media traction and memefication. Continue reading