This book trawls dirt, gluttony, desire, migrant labour. To say it is ‘amusing’ doesn’t quite cut it.
[T]he time has come to resist constantly turning to law as a place to direct our political disquiet. The indignity and disrespect with which we treat our fellow human beings is no longer about the law. The time has come to build a movement of solidarity with the people across oceans we plan to imprison, should they decide to make the rational decision to flee wars that we are already involved in (or no doubt will be fighting in future) – and to align ourselves with the fates of those we’ve already imprisoned.
In 2016, the Academy Awards clearly has its own ideological issues. But these stories and hashtags like #OscarsSoWhite demand we remember the long history of this institutionally sanctioned white privilege in particular.
The majority of critics have seen The Americans as a show about relationships and marriage, a view reinforced by the show’s creator, Joe Weisberg. But to me, regardless of the creator’s intentions, it’s a text about eighties politics and the decline of the traditional left in the US.
Early in the morning of 4 December, Overland lost a great friend and guide when John McLaren died. John was associate editor of Overland from 1966–1993, editor from 1993–1996, and a board member until 2014, when he stood down for health reasons to become, instead, an official Overland patron.
I come from a family of Appalachian moonshiners who lived in obscurity in the Cumberland Gap of Tennessee. There in the poverty above the coal mines they smoked, chewed tobacco and drank in remote little bars, until bleary-eyed and swooning they staggered back into their rust-bucket cars and made their way on unlit, unpaved paths, through the hills back to their homes.
Think of how different our literary world would look if we read everything blind. You would never have to read a story, as many critics, academics, reviewers and judges do, and note that because it is written by a white heterosexual male, it must possess merit. A phenomenon Hustvedt refers to as the ‘masculine enhancement effect’. Readers may not, as many do, pick up a book by a person of colour, and look for the traumatic, moral story at its heart.
It was in the canteen car of the late-night service that the Vietnam veteran finally told me his story. We’d been friends for months, regulars at a Louisiana-themed bar off Saigon’s Bùi Viện backpacker strip, but his time in-country was, if not exactly taboo, not really a go-to topic, either. The story that unfolded was right out of Michael Herr’s Dispatches, an un-filmed sequence of Apocalypse Now conveyed orally, in equal parts surreal and evil. What surprised me was how unsurprised I was by it all.
One of precious few Italian films to deal with the pre-war Fascist period, and most especially with the acme of Mussolini’s popularity, Ettore Scola’s Una Giornata Particolare (A Special Day) takes place entirely within the confines of a tenement complex known as Palazzo Federici in Rome. Watching the film again during the week of Scola’s death in late January, and being familiar with the story, I find that my attention is drawn not to the characters but to the buildings themselves.
The app has received some criticism for ‘policing’ women’s speech, although other critiques could be made. For mine, knowing your limitations is an asset rather than a setback, and accordingly the words ‘I’m no expert’ could stand to be used more often. In addition, the phrases singled out above seem to be a way of putting a recipient at their ease; hardly the worst sin to commit in an email.
Of course it’s true that transgender women don’t experience menstruation. I don’t think that’s very interesting, of itself: plenty of cis women don’t either. Nor, for that matter, do all women experience the following: childbirth, lactation, penetrative vaginal intercourse, bikini waxing, swooning over Colin Firth in a wet white shirt, wearing lipstick, and so on. And yet all of these are variously held up as universal – or definitive – experiences of womanhood in popular discourse. The shorthand we use for formative girlhood experiences privileges the white, middle class, heterosexual stories of cis girls in the Anglosphere.
One of the key tenets of historical studies is that memory is political. What and how we remember certain events speaks volumes not only about those events, but also about the sociohistorical spaces in which those events played out, as well as the spaces in which the events are remembered. I am most interested in the way that the Beaumont children’s disappearance has been framed as symbolic of national innocence lost.
It is hard to determine the veracity without having been there, but the tale is a good one. Guglielmo Marconi had a series of heart attacks in the mid 1930s – that much we know for sure. By this time, he was in his late fifties and an Italian hero: a pioneer of long-distance radio transmission, a statesman, a friend of Mussolini. Somewhere around the time of his fourth or fifth heart episode, so the story goes, Marconi became convinced that sounds live forever.