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Travel Is Living: How Airbnb Ingeniously Markets to Korea

By Colin Marshall

Stuff Koreans Like, a short-lived imitator of the mid-2000s satirical blog Stuff White People Like, only took ten posts to get to travel essay books. “Usually set in foreign cities (mostly New York or Paris),” writes its author, “they feature soft-focus photographs of café facades and interiors, coupled with inane text with no depth or historic/sociological insight into the destination being essayed about, just a lot of ‘Ooh this café was so pretty and its espresso so delicious. Ooh here’s another pretty café and its hot chocolate was so sweet.’” A tough assessment, but in its way a fair one: I come across dozens of (admittedly always well-designed) volumes that more or less fit that description whenever I browse the filled-to-bursting travel shelves at any of the bookstores here in Seoul. Continue reading

Cher Vincent and James T. Green of "Open Ended Project" from the Postloudness Collective

On the Need for Queer Podcasts

By Hannah Harris Green

At its worst, public radio seems like a coterie of entirely heterosexual white reporters who assume their audience is also straight and white, and any content that features people who are queer, or people who are not white, is framed as a translation of a tragedy or an oddity for the anonymous vanilla mass of listeners. Peter Bresnan, a gay audio producer who I met at the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago this month, says he’s tired of the media’s two typical gay narratives: “Either being gay is the tragedy in a story that ends in death or heartbreak, or the story’s about a gay person, and ‘gay’ is sort of their one and only characteristic. A gay person rather than a person who’s gay.” Continue reading

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Still Life: on Madeleine Bourdouxhe’s La Femme De Gilles

By Amina Cain

I had a difficult time, while reading Madeleine Bourdouxhe’s La Femme de Gilles, separating it from the recent events in U.S. politics. A man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women has won the presidency over the woman who would have been our first female president. Originally published in 1937 by Éditions Gallimard in Paris, and reissued this fall through Melville House as part of their Neversink Library series, it is not fair to Bourdouxhe to bring today’s politics into my reading of La Femme de Gilles. And yet, she might have understood. Friends with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, Bourdouxhe was a member of the Resistance in France and Belgium, and is known to have worked with surrealist artist Paul Éluard to sneak political leaflets from Paris into Brussels. In the 1940s, when the Nazis took over Gallimard, Bourdouxhe cut ties, never publishing with them again. Continue reading

Authority of Law Statue

President-Elect Trump, the Federal Judiciary, and Thanksgiving

By Carl Tobias

Last Friday, Donald Trump, thousands of Trump University students, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced that they had settled three long running cases alleging that the school had defrauded many students. The lawsuits’ settlement resulted substantially from concerted efforts by Southern District of California Judge Gonsalvo Curiel. The jurist persistently moved toward resolution one case, which he had scheduled for trial next Monday while suggesting that the parties consider a settlement. At Thanksgiving, Mr. Trump and millions of Americans should give thanks for the dedicated service rendered by Judge Curiel and hundreds of federal judges, who assiduously labor every day to deliver justice. Continue reading

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Oh California, Will You Take Me As I Am?

By Annie Buckley

The week before the world changed, I was in Nashville, Tennessee for the National Conference on Higher Education in Prisons, where I was struck by a realization that my experiences here in California were quite different from those of my colleagues in other states. The most poignant example came in a workshop I took with Reforming Arts of Georgia. The facilitators asked us to share something about the place we come from. We started with the concrete — geography, neighborhood — and gradually moved into more nuanced areas — identity, values — and, as each person shared, those who agreed with the statement or had had similar experiences moved to a new spot. Continue reading

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The President-Elect and the Generalissimo

By Daniel Knorr

In the lead up to and immediate wake of the U.S. presidential election, commentators have frequently cast Donald Trump as an unprecedented political figure. Others have noted, though, that the President elect shares key traits with a wide variety of charismatic candidates and populist power holders.  This pattern continues.  Among current power holders, suggested analogues include Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte, and Xi Jinping. Historical comparisons have been more controversial, with both amateur and professional historians turning to two fascist figures whose personality cults flourished in the 1930s: Italy’s Benito Mussolini and Germany’s Adolf Hitler. Continue reading

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Construction Sites of Los Angeles: Regional Connector Transit Corridor, 1st and Alameda

By Ellie Robins

Underworld. In London in 1863, sulphurous gas belched from the new Tube tunnels up to the streets, and families feared they’d be poisoned. In Portland in 1870, a hole could open under a robust young man, and he’d be whipped into the Shanghai Tunnels and out to indentured servitude at sea. Here in downtown Los Angeles, 11 miles of secret subterranean passages once trafficked prisoners, secret money, and mob victims’ corpses. It’s dark down there. Continue reading

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Making White Supremacy Respectable. Again.

By Katherine Franke

Last Friday, two tweets were posted to my feed within minutes of each other. David Duke tweeted: “Bannon, Flynn, Sessions – Great!  Senate must demand that Sessions as AG stop the massive institutional racism against whites!” (Yes, I follow David Duke on Twitter — I now follow many right wing sites, I learn more from them than I do from the echo chamber of Facebook), and the New York Times tweeted out Mark Lilla’s opinion piece, “The End of Identity Liberalism.”  In the new political climate we now inhabit, Duke and Lilla were contributing to the same ideological project, the former cloaked in a KKK hood, the latter in an academic gown.  Both men are underwriting the whitening of American nationalism, and the re-centering of white lives as lives that matter most in the U.S.  Duke is happy to own the white supremacy of his statements, while Lilla’s op-ed does the more nefarious background work of making white supremacy respectable.  Again. Continue reading