Benjamin Kunkel

All articles by this author

The Age of the Robe

The Age of the Robe

To dress like a respectable middle-aged person in a Western country is not to dress for the heat: too much fabric and not enough ventilation.

The whole sartorial system meant that all summer long you were subtly humiliated, overinsulated, or both. And, thanks to global warming, the summers would only heat up! Just as global capitalism meant that the cult of youth and beauty would grow ever more extreme as the population aged and put on weight! We in the West were going to get hotter and hotter at the same time that we became less and less hot.

Aftermath and Prelude

Aftermath and Prelude

The images on TV were among the worst I’ve seen, and I didn’t even deliberately look, just glanced for a second in a bar.

My days are probably least different from yours on occasions of special public horror: another gun massacre, a bombing on American soil, the deadly explosion of a fertilizer plant. And like nearly everyone else I was angry and upset all last week, if not always for universal reasons. On Monday morning I read testimony in the Times from one of the hunger strikers indefinitely detained, so far without trial, at Guantanamo Bay, about his painful force-feeding.

Crude Investments

Crude Investments

We might consider whether beyond coal and natural gas there lies a third choice.

And all of us know perfectly well that our fossil-fueled civilization isn’t built to last; we also know that we need to effect a deliberate and graceful transition to another energy regime or suffer a chaotic and violent interregnum. The ignorant as well as the informed know this. You could write a Walt Whitman-style poem about this obvious thing that everybody knows.

Buzz

Buzz

Scenes from an infestation

Oh, it’s like how it almost makes you glad to’ve had the nightmare, now that you’re awake and safe, you know? And God, it has been such a, literally, such a stupid . . . I mean, where’s the dignity—terrorized is probably too strong a word—but where’s the dignity in being literally annoyed to death by. . . ?

Argentinidad

Argentinidad

Argentina is hardly the saddest country in the world, but it has often been felt to be the most tragic. The sentiment derives in part from an envious glance at other large settler colonialist countries — the US, Canada, Australia — that secured measures of peace and prosperity unknown here for generations. A vast country, eighth largest in the world, endowed with a long Atlantic coastline, the endless fertile plains of the pampas, a deep trove of mineral wealth, and torrents of fresh if muddy water, its bounty prompted the rather blasphemous fin-de-siècle boast Dios es argentino — God is Argentine — and for much of its earlier history the republic struck natives and new arrivals alike as teeming with potential wealth.

The Age of the Robe

The Age of the Robe

To dress like a respectable middle-aged person in a Western country is not to dress for the heat: too much fabric and not enough ventilation.

The whole sartorial system meant that all summer long you were subtly humiliated, overinsulated, or both. And, thanks to global warming, the summers would only heat up! Just as global capitalism meant that the cult of youth and beauty would grow ever more extreme as the population aged and put on weight! We in the West were going to get hotter and hotter at the same time that we became less and less hot.

Aftermath and Prelude

Aftermath and Prelude

The images on TV were among the worst I’ve seen, and I didn’t even deliberately look, just glanced for a second in a bar.

My days are probably least different from yours on occasions of special public horror: another gun massacre, a bombing on American soil, the deadly explosion of a fertilizer plant. And like nearly everyone else I was angry and upset all last week, if not always for universal reasons. On Monday morning I read testimony in the Times from one of the hunger strikers indefinitely detained, so far without trial, at Guantanamo Bay, about his painful force-feeding.

Crude Investments

Crude Investments

We might consider whether beyond coal and natural gas there lies a third choice.

And all of us know perfectly well that our fossil-fueled civilization isn’t built to last; we also know that we need to effect a deliberate and graceful transition to another energy regime or suffer a chaotic and violent interregnum. The ignorant as well as the informed know this. You could write a Walt Whitman-style poem about this obvious thing that everybody knows.

Buzz

Buzz

Scenes from an infestation

Oh, it’s like how it almost makes you glad to’ve had the nightmare, now that you’re awake and safe, you know? And God, it has been such a, literally, such a stupid . . . I mean, where’s the dignity—terrorized is probably too strong a word—but where’s the dignity in being literally annoyed to death by. . . ?