The Seventh Day

You die the way you live; you divorce the way you live. When, in 1990, my parents filed for joint custody of me, they thought they were doing something without clear precedent. They didn’t know any other divorced couples who split time with their kids equally. They saw themselves as charting new territory, distributing their child (me) in a manner that enacted their deep commitments to feminism and shared labor. More…

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On Robert Ashley

The libretti can be surprisingly quotable: “My heart is so full in the back seat with Dwayne” (Perfect Lives, 1983); “Gimme another peanut, man!” (Dust, 2000) More…

Issue Number 19

An annotated table of contents for Issue 19: Real Estate, is out now and available in digital and print editions. Become a digital and/or print subscriber now to read the issue. More…

7 April 2014

The drastic turn in Canadian politics and policy raises some urgent questions. Why hasn’t the population stopped the attack on its public services? Why have left-leaning parties lost ground at the polls while Harper and his ilk continue getting reelected? Why, in a society with a more collectively oriented spirit, has the political discourse taken a sharp turn to the right? More…

4 April 2014

I will use his account of what happened next. He saw me sitting alone at the bar in front of a full glass of whiskey, so he came up and asked me how things were, and we talked and even danced some. At the end of the night, when almost everyone had gone, as he was about to get into a cab with his roommate, he saw me come out of the bar, carrying the scanner and a lot of balloons. More…

1 April 2014

An annotated table of contents for Issue 19: Real Estate, is out now and available in digital and print editions. Become a digital and/or print subscriber now to read the issue. Putin vs. Ukraine, Microsoft vs. AOL. Jedediah Purdy regrets, Kristin Dombek solves your problems, Nikil Saval redesigns your office. New fiction by Benjamin Kunkel and two scenes by Nell Zink. More…

30 March 2014

Is the money that financed the film in black hands from the beginning? Will the rewards find their way to black hands in the end? In the meantime, will black audiences have the film marketed to them, have places where they can easily see it? Will they identify with its themes and aesthetics? It’s all just posturing until those questions are answered. More…

27 March 2014

It started at the back door. Police asked the sitters to leave; if they refused, they grabbed them by their necks and dragged them out. Several TV reporters were on the scene but turned away. Before running at the protesters, the riot force took off their badges so that their names would be hidden. More…

Most of us, understandably, are more concerned with economics on the personal scale of budgets and paychecks and debt and less interested in economics on the corporate scale of interstate commerce or monopolies or taxable presences. Amazon’s violation of the spirit (if not the letter) of American tax and anti-monopoly laws is abstract; one’s rent, phone bill, spending money, student loan payments, a lot less so. More…

24 March 2014

There’s something admirable about Krasznahorkai’s willingness to write monstrous misery, and the suffering in his earlier works makes for memorable stories. Nonetheless, that same intransigence ultimately limits his early novels: their ceaseless darkness proves anesthetizing when stretched across hundreds of pages. The technique is as likely to bore as to horrify. More…

21 March 2014

There are countries out there where people speak English. But not like us—we have our own languages hidden in our carry-on luggage, in our cosmetics bags, only ever using English when we travel, and then only in foreign countries, to foreign people. It’s hard to imagine, but English is their real language! Oftentimes their only language. They don’t have anything to fall back on or to turn to in moments of doubt. More…

18 March 2014

David Owen’s The Man Who Invented Saturday Morning: And Other Adventures in American Enterprise should be way, way more famous than it is. Somebody reissue it. The collection of essays — published in Harper’s and the Atlantic in the 1980s— is about advertising, market research, how to get people to do what you want them to do. Owen goes to Liverpool with a bunch of Beatles fanatics, attends a convention for convention planners, close-reads trade magazines, explains how divorce rates influence the toy industry. More…

18 March 2014

Nobody bothered to point out that if Trayvon had attacked his murderer, he would have had the law on his side. How many other times had policemen or others stopped him for nothing? How much fear can we endure before aggression starts to promise relief? Sometimes I envy those whose first instinct is to attack. By hitting back, they take an active role in shaping their lives. More…

17 March 2014

The city is the only metropolis in Idaho, a state conceived of primarily as a growth medium for racist extremists; libertarian nutjobs; the nonironic-hat-wearing degenerates who drive pickups and semis across the flyover imagined cartography of blue-state secessionists; and potatoes. More…

14 March 2014

More than enough has been written about the history of “Orientalism” and the relationship between scholarly authority and political power. The question is whether Doniger and other scholars in American academia writing on the history of Hinduism remain, for all their protestations to the contrary, crypto-Orientalists. More…