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Regular dispatches from our contributors.

Panhandle Postcard

Panhandle Postcard

The solidarity of evacuation, even if each car was its own small ecosystem of panic, grief, and merriment

This walk at the end of the day was meant to cleanse the palette. But as the sky went from pale purple to deep purple, the roiling Gulf of Mexico disappearing into darkness, we again turned to our phones. First to mine, looking at images of the fallen trees, fallen houses, the map that indicated that power was out in all of New Orleans. Then she showed me her friends’ snaps, the ones who were still in New Orleans, “hunkering down,” in the parlance. “Riding it out.” The snap of water coming into the house, under a door; the snap of the doughy cookies that were in progress when the power went out.

Four Hurricanes

Four Hurricanes

Every hurricane that hits, for the ones it fucks up, is the worst one ever

State officials lease our land to petrochemical engineering companies that produce the plastics and poisons that all but ensure we lose everything to climate change, at which point they will find someplace else to go. There are fewer and fewer wetlands to buffer storms on their way to the shore as a result of catastrophic losses to the region’s biodiversity. Don’t get me fucking started on the damming of the Mississippi, which would otherwise naturally rebuild the marsh by continuously depositing sediment it brought down.

Long, Invisible, and Highly Profitable

Long, Invisible, and Highly Profitable

Before the recent withdrawal, private contractors had greatly outnumbered US troops in Afghanistan

It is worth recalling that “we don’t do body counts” became the Bush administration’s unofficial motto in the early years of the global war on terror, and that reporting on Afghan civilian deaths did not even begin until 2007. In 2017 the Department of Defense stopped reporting the number of US military personnel deployed in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, and in 2019, President Trump signed an executive order that revoked the requirement for US intelligence to report on civilian casualties outside of areas of “Active Hostilities.” Taken together, these actions indicate a clear preference to render both the nature of military interventions and their costs invisible.

This Pitiless Choreography

This Pitiless Choreography

The thing is even heavier than the thought of hauling it

Bodies, dozens of them, flailing and caving in convulsion rhythms, their limbed forms flaming as if harrowed by fears erupting from cellular levels. One body turns and turns in place, immobilized by movement. One dives to the earth as his shirt lifts off and floats inflated before covering him like a shroud. A ragged silhouette arms semaphores no one can understand.

Infrastructure, Infrastructure!

Infrastructure, Infrastructure!

An interview with Julian Brave NoiseCat

Activists get mad at the overly cautious politicians. Politicians get mad at the activists for asking them to do stuff that might cost them their jobs. Various coalition actors get mad that a focus on environmental racism means that some unionized workers might have to stop doing what they’re doing. Environmental justice folks feel that workers don’t think or care enough the impacts of what they do.

The Red Ring and the Wrecking Ball

On Yu Miri

Every two years, when the Olympic institution plants its flag in a new city, speculators from metropolitan Lausanne meet with profiteers in the new athletic colony. They hover over the city map with carving knives, repurposing public spaces and re-zoning residences. Together, for the sake of a two-week event, they take over the territory, line their pockets with public resources, bring in outside workers, and push long-established locals aside.

Suspended Hell

Suspended Hell

It is other people

All social media both feeds and feeds on narcissism, but Twitter’s capacity to mirror the world and its users’ neuroses in discrete verbal and visual units, at least in certain corners of the site, elevates self-regard to a formal principle. We compulsively iterate ourselves as memes, set pieces, and DIY allegorical photos, as if hoping we’ll eventually perfect the reflection.

On Janet Malcolm

On Janet Malcolm

From that point on she was fully formed, and she could write about whatever she liked

When I read In the Freud Archives for the first time, I understood myself to be looking for facts, dates, quotations—material. The material was there, and like a good nonfiction writer I dutifully underlined and annotated, but I also found that the particulars of the story she told had difficulty competing with the writing she used to tell it.