Given the recent attention on U.S.-Russia relations and comparisons, the team responsible for the “Future of Truth” workshop at UC Irvine decided to turn to Nina Khrushcheva, a participant in last year’s “What Cannot Be Said” forum for insight. Nina Khrushcheva is a professor of International Affairs at the New School, a senior fellow of World Policy Institute, and contributing editor to Project Syndicate: Association of Newspapers Around the World. Continue reading
There is something about North Korea, from the improbability of the regime’s survival to the ridiculous hairstyles of the leaders, which makes it possible to believe the most outlandish rumors. Perhaps that is why North Korea has been such fertile ground for urban legend. Continue reading
I am saddened at having to type these words now, in 2017 (although it makes me happy that I can still publish these words): Facts matter. Continue reading
We write to be read. We write for readers. As writers we recognize that in a world of fakery and superficiality, there’s something sacred about the act of reading. A reader is someone who’s turned off the radio, tuned out television, and even social media. If they are in a public place, they create quietude around them. They commune with written words. With our words. Continue reading
Sixteen years ago, in another moment of crisis for the republic, I found myself in South Florida, watching the presidential vote recount at the Emergency Operations Center in Palm Beach County, where I had come as both tourist and something more. I was in Florida for Thanksgiving with my mother-in-law, which made the recount a respite in the most fundamental sense — and yet, I knew all along that I would write about it. I spent two afternoons wandering around, taking notes, and on the evening of the second, emailed an editor with whom I worked to see if she’d be interested in a piece. She was, and so I wrote it up, 1200 words that made an argument about displacement, comparing my own dissatisfaction with the process to that of the people on the other side. Continue reading
As a Gook, in the eyes of some, I can testify that being remembered as the other is a dismembering experience, what we can call a disremembering. Disremembering is not simply the failure to remember. Disremembering is the unethical and paradoxical mode of forgetting at the same time as remembering, or, from the perspective of the other who is disremembered, of being simultaneously seen and not seen. Disremembering allows someone to see right through the other, an experience rendered so memorably by Ralph Ellison in the opening pages of Invisible Man. Continue reading
When Colonel William F. Cody, aka “Buffalo Bill,” died a century ago this week, the army scout turned Wild West Show star was still famous enough for newspapers published everywhere from Chicago and Shanghai to Berlin and Bombay to run his obituary. Even as far back as 1917, though, Cody and his show, known for its reenactments of frontier battles and displays of trick riding, already seemed outdated. And yet, when a book project led me to immerse myself in materials on Cody, something peculiar happened. I kept running across things that struck me not as throwbacks to the past but harbingers of things to come. Continue reading
This is the 19th in a series of “Provocations,” a LARB series produced in conjunction with “What Cannot Be Said: Freedom of Expression in a Changing World” a conference cosponsored by UCI, USC, and UCLA (January 22 -24, 2016). All contributors are also participants in the conference.
We shrinking few who still believe in freedom of speech have got ourselves into a terrible bind. We too often defend freedom of speech by insisting that speech isn’t particularly powerful or harmful. In one breath we argue that the freedom of people to think and utter whatever they want is the most important freedom in the world; in the next we suggest that people’s utterances are not weapons, can not wound, and thus should be categorised as “harmless” and should be none of officialdom’s business. Faced with a new kind of fragile and self-regarding censor, one who claims that novels can trigger PTSD and controversial campus speakers can make students feel physically ill, we respond with the favoured chastisement of the frustrated grown-up: “They’re only words. They won’t hurt you. Chill out.” Continue reading
This is the 18th in a series of “Provocations,” a LARB series produced in conjunction with “What Cannot Be Said: Freedom of Expression in a Changing World” a conference cosponsored by UCI, USC, and UCLA (January 22 -24, 2016). All contributors are also participants in the conference.
Some of this material appeared previously on the website of The Century Foundation, and is republished with the foundation’s permission.
On September 24, 2015, I gave a keynote presentation at Purdue University about the NSA, Edward Snowden, and national security journalism in the age of surveillance. It was part of the excellent Dawn or Doom colloquium, which I greatly enjoyed. The organizers live-streamed my talk and promised to provide me with a permalink to share. Continue reading