Category Archives: Current Events

Journalism Without Authority: What Have We Lost?

By Steven L. Isenberg

Journalism was once cloaked in a mantle of authority, offering trustworthy information and avoiding slant. Careful reportage and vigilant editing were the building blocks. Authoritative news had personality and style, yet both were as measured as seasoning. Authority was earned and sustained by a demonstration of intelligence, knowledge, and character. Authority set the tone for a news medium; it was the essence of professionalism. We depended on its commitment to stand back from personal opinion. We could hear the clank of failure when high standards went unmet. We expected acknowledgment for error. We knew we would be made to think, and that we also held our right to disagree and be skeptical. This was the quid pro quo for loyal newspaper readership and television news watching. Our minds were our own, but we were also part of a large, broadly based, shared experience. Continue reading

Remembering My Father in Trump’s America

By Catherine Biggart

On September 11th, an American freelance photojournalist ran from his apartment toward the World Trade Center after learning a plane had struck one of the towers. Four days later, his body and cameras were recovered from the rubble alongside several fallen firefighters. He was the only journalist to die covering the story and his name is one of 2291 engraved on the Newseum’s memorial to journalists who have lost their lives reporting the news. Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

By Emma Lieber

Psychoanalysis pays attention to names. So too, now, does the American public. Trump is a winner — he has to be, his name says so. Yet John Oliver’s campaign to “Make Donald Drumpf Again,” for one, suggests that we might question the self-appointment of a family that names themselves perpetual victors. Names exist in between the logics of subjective desire and communal code, and in this sense they speak both to an individual’s possibilities and to his limitations. Continue reading

Subaltern Dreams, Subaltern Realities

The following are excerpts from essays written by graduate students in the History program at California State University, Los Angeles in reaction to the recent Presidential election.

The fall of 2016 was a difficult time to teach, especially as the battle for the American Presidency was being waged before our very eyes. Both faculty and students were on edge parsing the news obsessively, trying to find reasonable solutions among the many speeches that we heard from every side of the political spectrum. My safe haven was my graduate seminar, entitled Russia in World History: Personalities and Events. My students — avid, critical, and passionate — and I read the works of Leo Tolstoy, Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, among many others. Contrarian and difficult individuals, these original thinkers rejected the notion that any political formation, be it a nation or an empire, could prosper in the long run by violating the rights of others. They claimed that it was impossible to accumulate unlimited material wealth without impoverishing many, and cautioned against building the spaces of modernity at the expense of the environment. We discussed Tolstoy’s ideas about global justice, Goldman’s prescriptions for a transnational and humane economics, and Solzhenitsyn’s arguments for a moral commonwealth. My students brought new insight to these old works and I realized once again how important the past is when dreaming about a better future. We met a week after the elections and my students had used the time in between classes to write these thoughtful, heartfelt, and politically astute essays. Continue reading

HillaryLooks and the Surreal World of Conservative Instagram

By Rhian Sasseen

On and around November 8, 2016, American history changed. The transition was at once immediate — in the days that followed, an uptick in hate crimes were reported across the nation — and subtle — the newspapers still refreshed as usual, though now each front page was emblazoned with the headline that Donald Trump had just been elected president. Now, a few weeks later, it is still early; life has proceeded onwards, though with telltale clues scattered like breadcrumbs. When speaking of the president-elect’s incoming Chief of Staff, a member of the transition team described their role as: “to make sure the trains run on time.” Continue reading

Borges’ Ship: An Unjust Ruling Against Pablo Katchadjian

By Emmanuel Ordóñez Angulo

You’ve heard it time and time again: plagiarism is a sin, one which secures you a place in the Eighth Circle of Hell, among fellow thieves and falsifiers. It is also the lowest type of crime with which an intellectual or creator can be charged, so it’s no triviality that, last week, the Argentine justice found writer Pablo Katchadjian guilty. Continue reading

Our Four Years

By Onnesha Roychoudhuri

“You’re just in time,” the woman tells me when I come back to the table. I haven’t retained her name, only the details — recently relocated from Tampa, Florida; thin, bright lipstick. The rest of my dinner companions have been living in New York for years, a group of primarily young white men at a friend-of-friend Thanksgiving dinner. Around the table, the men fell silent — a rare occurrence since I’d arrived. “We’re debating,” Tampa explains, “whether women are funny.” Continue reading