Category Archives: Current Events

Requiem for a Media: On the Execution of LA Weekly

By John W. W. Zeiser

Americans have a strange and abiding trust in the corporate. There is an inherent problem with this trust, and it’s easy enough to spot, though our legal system has done everything it can to occlude it. Corporations are not people. I repeat: corporations are not people. Actual people, the kind who can be physically placed in a jail cell, are denied the framework to conceptualize this chasm; instead, we tend to transpose our own moral frameworks — the ones that allow us to operate daily with our neighbors, bus drivers, grocery cashiers, our friends — onto corporations. In a recent report from LA Weekly on Invitation Homes, the largest landlord of single-family homes in the city of LA, you can see this logic at work. In the report, a tenant expresses surprise that in the face of crippling rent increases, Invitation Homes wasn’t “negotiating and being nice with each other and com[ing] to an agreement.” Continue reading

The Real Cut of Diamond Rings

By Amy Guth

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are engaged, and blog posts and tweets are doing the virtual equivalent of gathering around the newly engaged couple to get a glimpse of — what else? — the ring.

At the admitted risk of sharing a highly unpopular opinion and the backlash that’s sure to follow, it’s time to rethink our attachment to engagement rings, this last bastion of dowry and bridewealth culture in the west, especially when presented by a man as a token to a woman. Continue reading

The Monster in my Garage

By Jillian Lauren

A few weeks ago, on an ordinary Wednesday night, I finished drying the dinner dishes in the husband-out-of-town-kids-in-bed blissful quiet, and poured myself a glass of pinot grigio. As I leaned back against a counter and took a sip, for no discernable reason I thought of Nick — an unexpected emotional freight train barreling down a long-deserted track.

I crawled into my bed, fully clothed, next to my sleeping boys, ages five and nine, and pulled my laptop off the nightstand. Closing my eyes for a moment, I listened to the comforting, sweet sound of the their breath. Even on their best days, my boys are an extreme iteration of what my mother’s generation would have called wild. What the parenting books call challenging, or high needs. What the school district calls special needs. What I call, simply, my family. What my friends seem to often call “boys.” As in, boys will be boys. Continue reading

The Sonoma County Fires’ Familiar Surreality

By Nicholas Miriello

“Is that smoke from the fire?” A man yelled to his neighbor walking a dog. “Jesus.”

It was Monday morning in San Francisco, and every resident had learned of wine country’s wildfires by checking the Internet or first calling their local fire department to report the smell of a fire nearby. The smell was immediate, pervasive, and unmistakably close, like a late night campfire you awake to still burning.  Continue reading

The Event is Always Political

By James Rushing Daniel

Just after 10 p.m. on Sunday, October 1st, Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. At least 59 people were killed and over 500 were injured in what has been called the deadliest mass shooting in United States history committed by a single individual. Surprising no one, a rancorous debate immediately ensued with many on the left calling for gun control legislation and a unified right feigning moral outrage. Continue reading

Uncertainty in Catalonia

By Marc Herman

One of the most important novels of the Spanish Civil War that you might never have heard of is Uncertain Glory, by Joan Sales, a book told from the Catalan point of view and banned in Spain for much of the 20th century. The book’s long-awaited English language edition will arrive just days after an October 1 secession vote in Spain’s breakaway province of Catalonia, where much of the novel is set. Whoever timed this was an evil marketing genius. Continue reading

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