As Detroit Shows Americans an American Riot, A Taxi Driver Shows Koreans a Korean Massacre

By Colin Marshall

Earlier this month, Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit opened in theaters across America, dramatizing an increasingly oft-referenced eruption of violence in relatively recent American history. At just about the same time, Jang Hoon’s A Taxi Driver (택시운전사) opened in theaters across South Korea, dramatizing an increasingly oft-referenced eruption of violence in relatively recent Korean history. The tagline of the American film’s poster insists that “it’s time we knew” exactly what happened during the 12th Street Riot that accelerated the Motor City’s long decline to come in the summer of 1967; the tagline on the Korean film’s poster needs to invoke no more than “a taxi driver going to Gwangju in May of 1980” for everyone to know exactly what he’ll drive into. Continue reading

Orphan Black Season Five, “To Right the Wrongs of Many”: Real Men

By Everett Hamner

This is the last in a series of episode-by-episode reflections on Orphan Black season 5 (preview; episode 1 ; episode 2; episode 3; episode 4; episode 5; episode 6; episode 7; episode 8; episode 9). These pieces do not provide thorough plot summaries but do include spoilers; they assume readers have already been viewers. Responses via Twitter continue to be very welcome, and thanks to everyone for reading! Finally, please keep an eye out for an interview with Orphan Black co-creator Graeme Manson and science and story consultant Cosima Herter — coming soon to the LARB main site. 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

The Joshua Tree Aesthetic: How the Mojave Yucca Became a Symbol of Music Video Feminism

By Julia Sizek

Lovers should seek out Joshua Tree for their next tryst, claims Ariana Grande’s music video. Her 2016 Grammy-nominated video for “Into You” traces a pop star’s illicit liaison with her bodyguard. They ride a motorcycle to a 1950s-style motel with joshua trees dotting the background, and Grande throws away her fame and celebrity boyfriend for a weekend of anonymity in the Mojave Desert. Continue reading

Stopping Global Warming Doesn’t Have to Be “Inconvenient”

By Rachel Kraus

Sitting in the back of a Doubletree Hotel courtesy van, exhausted, I fielded questions about why in the world I was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Tom, the driver, was relentless with his inquiries. I was there for the Bonnaroo Music Festival. No, not for fun, for work. Oh, I work for an entertainment company. What does that have to do with Bonnaroo? I’m showcasing a documentary…A documentary about spin doctors. Well, about how spin doctors create doubt about and therefore delay action on, um, climate change. Continue reading

Nostalgia and Desire in Joanna Novak’s I Must Have You

By Micah Bateman

I was in a writing workshop with JoAnna Novak at Washington University in St. Louis in 2007. As I recall, she was writing prose about movies, and I thought her prose was so inventive that I told her she should be a poet. She later got an MFA in poetry (probably not thanks to my encouragement), which I think is integral to the often lyrical prose of her newly released novel, I Must Have You. The novel is about the relationships between three women living with or recovering from eating disorders: two teens, Elliott and Lisa, and Elliott’s mother Anna. Elliott is a young diet coach who publishes a “thinspo” (thinspiration) zine for her clients. Lisa was her favorite client, but is now recovering from anorexia as she also explores a relationship with a 19-year-old drug dealer, the same one Elliott’s mother is having an affair with. The novel explores the intersections and divergences of desire and control with a 1990s-laden prose so compelling that you’d think Novak was the highly literary child of Amy Heckerling. 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

Cooking the News: Xi’s Digital Future

By Louisa Lim

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of China Blog pieces by Louisa Lim, building off episodes of the Little Red Podcastan excellent podcast that is hosted by Graeme Smith in collaboration with Louisa and distributed by ANU’s Chinoiresie. This post is based on Episode 12: Cooking the News: Xi’s Digital Future. Future posts in this series will appear as part of the LARB China Channel, which will launch in the fall (for some details about it, click here). JW Continue reading

Politicon: Where Cheers and Jeers Are More Important Than Political Engagement

By John W. W. Zeiser

My grandfather was a Rockefeller Republican for most of his life. He served in the Eisenhower administration and was a state representative in Massachusetts for eight years. However, by the time I was old enough to know him, he had retired to New Hampshire, mostly because of the state’s allergies to taxes, and had become an increasingly crankish capital-C conservative. Though he never attended, he started giving to Hillsdale College because it didn’t accept federal funding. He mailed me ridiculous anti-Clinton literature. Something of a proto-Fox News dad, but without the unpleasant bigotry or resentment. Continue reading