This summer, n+1 celebrated its fifteenth year of publication. The essays, criticism, and fiction in our latest issue, Issue 35: SAVIOR COMPLEX, are exemplary of the kinds of writing we’re proud to have published in the past decade and a half, thanks to the support of our subscribers: bold, incisive politics writing that never stoops to the level of the hot take; funny, weird, risk-taking fiction; and essays that are at once historically grounded and forward-thinking, and that couldn’t have been published anywhere else.
We’ll be celebrating the issue’s launch—and fifteen years of n+1—with drinks and dancing on Friday, September 27 at 99 Scott in Bushwick, and we’d love to see you there. In the meantime, read excerpts from SAVIOR COMPLEX below, and become a subscriber to read the whole issue as soon as it’s out.
The Intellectual Situation
Spectacle of Participation by The Editors
Beto O’Rourke, congressperson from Texas, and Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, also fall into this broad, “progressive” center, but deserve special treatment as the sorts of symptomatic personalities — and bland white guys — who occasionally seize the attention of upper-middle-class journalists. Buttigieg, son of a Gramsci translator, is the United States’s first openly gay presidential candidate and is running on his modest success as the mayor of a particularly small, poor town otherwise dominated by Notre Dame, the noxious, reactionary Catholic university where his late father taught and which was, alas, not the Notre Dame consumed by fire several months ago. Though he tries to project untutored heartland goodness, he studied at Harvard and was a consultant for McKinsey.
On the Mueller Report, Volume 1 by Mark Greif
That is why Volume I of the Mueller report matters more than Volume II. The remarkable result of Volume I is to confirm that two and a half years of investigative reporting were correct: the Kremlin’s contacts with the Trump campaign were real and substantive, and they fit in at key junctures with the Russian attack on the election. It looks as if the Russian attackers and the Trump campaign coordinated. They betrayed the country and its electorate, Republicans and Democrats. And the actual situation, as far as the Mueller investigation was able to show, was much clearer and easier to follow than the press had been able to prove.
The Evangelical Mind by Adam Kotsko
And yet, against all odds, evangelicals continue to exercise a profound influence in culture and politics. They have been a crucial part of the Republican coalition that has controlled the political terms of debate for the better part of a generation. Discussion of moral issues (and around what counts as a moral issue in the first place) has been carried out overwhelmingly on evangelical turf. Even though most Americans support abortion rights and oppose overturning Roe v. Wade, the evangelical polemic against abortion has set the parameters of the conversation. Pro-choice politicians and commentators feel obligated to express their respect for the deep moral convictions of their opponents and to present abortion as something that is always painful or regrettable, even as evangelicals paint abortion as tantamount to genocide.
Fiction and Drama
The Creature by Sarah Resnick
I had heard of the film we were going to see and seen others by the filmmaker; I had been awed by them. From the moment I said yes to the arrangement I was anxious because my boyfriend would want to know what I thought of the film. And what would I say? What if I liked the film and my boyfriend hated it? What if I hated the film and my boyfriend liked it? What if over dinner I was forced to say something to the filmmaker whose films had awed me? I was unable to reconcile how I was feeling, how desperate I was to be at this dinner and at the same time how loath, because there is no feeling worse than finding yourself in conversation with someone you find interesting who does not find you interesting back.
The Feminist by Tony Tulathimutte
Later, when he relates these incidents, lightheartedly, to his other female friends, they assure him he’s interesting, smart, thoughtful, good-looking (though they never say hot), that nothing’s wrong with him. “It’s so bizarre that you’re single,” they say, trying to mollify him with optimism, as if experience has made them objective. But they have no experience of having no experience. He figures that even bad relationships are better than none, since they prepare you for future relationships, and heartbreak is romantic and dignified, whereas rejection just makes you a loser.
Parasite Air by Trevor Shikaze
Chester. Do you know how much water it takes to produce a single pound of beef? It takes eighteen hundred gallons of water. Do you know how much topsoil it takes? How much grain? The answer is a lot. Why do you think I’ve got you on a raw vegan diet? It’s not for my own amusement—though it is that, but not just that. I’ve got you eating like a rabbit so that I can, for instance, eat rabbit. I thought you understood this.
Holding Patterns by Alice Abraham
We all hate our parents for not acting as we would, and my hatred in this moment is particularly intense. When she plays the victim, I end up playing the parent, and I am boxed into the role of keeping up appearances. I can’t figure out how to break out of it—to authorize myself to not function—to be sad in a way that is disruptive. To do that would be to take the starring role in my mother’s sickness. I want someone to recognize that what I need is a dog bed to loll in, day in and day out. At another time, the person who would have bought me the dog bed was my mother—the witness to the child’s suffering. Now, she is the star, and I the coddler.
White Voice by Dan Sinykin
It has to do with precisely one thing. Are you a fucker? Or are you a little bitch who gets fucked? You let him hang up on you? You got fucked. You let him check in with his wife? You got fucked. Tell him, does he ask his wife before he mows the lawn? Does he ask her before he jerks off in the basement? Tell him, I’ve got a sweet little opening for Tuesday at three, how’s that? Wanna know a secret? I’ve owned a home for fifteen years. How many times do you think I’ve got my furnace and ductwork cleaned? Sawchuk? Sinykin? Boehmer? How many times? Twice? Fuck you. Zero. Zero times. You think it matters, what we’re selling? You think it matters, the product? The product is shit. Only one thing matters. Those people on the other end of the line, they’re weak. They’re waiting for you. They pick up the phone and there you are. You tell ’em, Here I am. You say, I’ve come for you. You—you—are fuckers. You are fuckers. And you fuck and fuck and fuck and fuck and fuck.
Predatory Inclusion by Keeanga-Yahmatta Taylor
Between 1971 and the fall of 1972, HUD’s Office of the Inspector General, the FBI, and the Justice Department initiated more than four thousand investigations into charges made by FHA-assisted low-income homeowners. These federal investigations and criminal indictments — which implicated federal officials, real estate operatives, and members of the banking and finance industry — made clear that AFDC mothers and other poor people should not have been a focal point of blame for HUD’s existing housing crisis.
Cash/Consent by Lorelei Lee
In the decade or so since online advertising and social media have become widely available, people in the sex trades have developed online networks for sharing information about client screening and safer work methods, lists of potentially dangerous clients, and information about what kind of legislation or police stings are happening in what cities, where community meetings and rallies and protests are being held, and who has extra cash this month and who needs it. All this information has been lifesaving. Also lifesaving has been our ability to simply connect with each other, to find others with shared experiences, to talk across distances about familial and social rejection, to dream together about what love and labor and solidarity could look like in a world where trading sex makes most people view you as disposable.
On Design Thinking by Maggie Gram
I have been told, both by fancy professors and by corporate “thought leaders,” that if you want to win big in life you should coin a memorable phrase. Design thinking turned out to be a memorable phrase. It was “design thinking” — not the Apple mouse, not the lifesaving portable defibrillator, not Free Willy — that made IDEO the world’s most famous design firm. It gave David Kelley the clout to start the d.school at Stanford. It’s the ideology that drives hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to participate in the OpenIDEO community, running volunteer chapters in thirty cities that organize events around IDEO-conceived “design-thinking challenges.” And it has contributed to the weird spell under which IDEO seems to hold the design world.
Dreams are Lost Memories by A. S. Hamrah
Politics for De Palma is a bizarre excuse for exploitation. This is one of his films in which he spares no one. Everyone is a torturer and a victim at the same time in Domino—confused, compromised, in for punishment. With some irony, De Palma sets up a Libyan terrorist (Eriq Ebouaney) as the film’s conscience. The CIA (in the person of the satanic-blasé Guy Pearce) forces him to work as a double agent, and the film’s plot comes to depend on him. Yet by the end De Palma abandons this downhearted terrorist without any more hesitation than he gave a minor character whose face gets dunked in a fry cooker.