Art for Issue 47

Contents

Who Sees Gaza?

There is something uniquely disturbing about this type of cultural production, which feels like it should be satire but is not. It reveals a stunning disregard for life — a perverse, almost gleeful nihilism. One would like to think that pop culture could not so comfortably house calls for genocide, or that respect for human dignity would restrain a person from glibly expressing murderous intent through forms whose content is supposed to be touching, inspiring, or at the very least benign. Kids should not be singing about annihilation on YouTube.

No Human Being Can Exist

Nine hundred, 1,000, 1,500, 1,800, 2,600, 3,500, 4,600, 5,000, 5,900, 6,500. The fatality figures, with which no one can keep up, are augmented every few hours with another twenty here and thirty there as this building or that is brought down in a cataclysmic burst of fire, smoke, and rubble. Three or four hundred people — or more — are being killed every day.

Inventing the Crisis

Those of us opposed to the vision of Rufo and Walsh ought to ask why the right wing is so scared of the political power of organized teachers — scared to the point that they have organized their movement leaders into blaming teachers unions for kids coming out as trans.

An Age of Hyperabundance

Everyone at this conference kept invoking loneliness and claiming the antidote was conversation. That didn’t track with my own experience. My most desperate moments of loneliness have been in conversation: on a Hinge date, doomed but persisting as a form of protocol. At a publishing party, surrounded by people who look and talk like me, all of us a little drunk but maintaining our nervous, manic professionalism.

On Delivery

The people we’re supposed to meet aren’t at the CVS parking lot, even though traffic made us ten minutes late. It’s a sunny summer evening, and we’re over in the fancy neighborhood by the lakes. Thunder­clouds are piling up on the horizon. When they do show up — a young couple, man and woman — I like them instantly. They came here from North Dakota for a couple weeks, a year, who knows. They’re visibly in love, giggling the whole time and glancing at each other.

Traces of Enayat

There’s a kind of intense curiosity that possesses us when we encounter an author who is truly unknown — a branch cut from the tree with no date of birth or death in evidence — or when their writing offers no clues to the wider life of their generation, to their close friends or literary influences.

Death in the Luberon

In the late morning we drove to Pont du Gard, an old Roman aqueduct. The drive was an hour and a half. The riverbeds we passed on the way there were almost completely dry, and we wondered whether the water level would be high enough to swim. But I had looked up Instagram photos tagged there and saw people swimming just a few days before.

Arnie Robles Jr.

Cold hard truth: you never know what the fuck someone’s gone through, and that’s why you can never take shit personal — dude actually cares, just shows it in his own way; every warrior has his strength, and when shit gets tense, find common ground.

No Man’s Land

There was a chance the train would stop. But in all likelihood it would arrive at an intermediate pace, neither fast nor slow, demanding that each individual gauge, in a matter of seconds, whether they were capable of climbing on.

Super Cute Please Like

Deep in the product reviews for a pair of $15 gray sweatpants, one commenter writes, bafflingly: “I love these grey sweatpants ever since i received them out of the shein package. They go with almost everything and nice and baggy on my body. The color is easy to wash and can go with coloreds and whites which is very helpful in laundry.” Below, three photos are attached. They show three different women in three different pairs of pants, none of which match the product listing.

Acid Rhythms

To uncover Detroit’s acid communist past, you have to tell its left-political history alongside its cultural history, to see how organizers and artists worked in divergent ways, at the same time and place, toward something of a shared horizon.