American Politics

Beyond What?

Beyond What?

Look around you, the exhibit seems to say, and you’ll find an Indian-American.

A display case of bejeweled slippers and loafers, signifiers of South Asian domestic propriety, sits at the entrance to the Smithsonian’s exhibit, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation.” Despite the exhibit title, the gulping tabla and trill of Bollywood oldies insinuates itself into every corner of the entrance hall, as I browse photos that Indians have sent in—jocund families spread out on beige living room carpets, equally comfortable in jeans and salwar.

Under Color of Statute

Under Color of Statute

Did the Civil Rights Act change the Constitution?

Other laws, of course, have also helped shape the country. But the Civil Rights Act is different in one major way: for many Americans born since its passage, it is very difficult to imagine political and social life without it. Imagine the United States losing the Civil Rights Act’s bans on employment discrimination, or on the segregation of public places. Imagine us giving up its tools for the integration of schools and other public facilities. For a lot of people, it’s nearly unthinkable. Indeed, there’s an argument to be made that the Civil Rights Act is in this way so different from most other laws—that it’s so different in kind—that it’s that it’s just a different variety of thing .

The Ultimate Humiliation

The Ultimate Humiliation

Elliot Rodger, American Kid

On Facebook, he liked Starbucks, Armani, tourism, sunsets. He was obsessed with The Secret. Then the lottery. He thought a beautiful blond woman was the prize he deserved for being such a good boy—as if, at the county fair, he could shoot enough ducks to win a girlfriend. He was so committed to exceptionalism that he applied it all only to him. He once used the phrase “less white than me.” Less white. In fact, the more I read, the shakier all the causality felt and the more common, at core, his interpretation of “believing in himself” seemed, until I just couldn’t get over a line on the fifth page, age 5, when his family moved to Cali from England: “I now considered myself,” he writes, “an American kid.”

Free Cecily!

Free Cecily!

A gazette revival

On Monday, May 5, Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan was found guilty of assaulting NYPD Officer Grantley Bovell at the OWS anniversary protest on March 17, 2012. She now faces two to seven years in prison, with the possibility of probation. To tell McMillan’s story and assess its consequences, a group of editors revived the Occupy! gazette in anticipation of her May 19 sentencing. Our hope is to enter into evidence what the court ignored.

<i>The Brother</i> and I

The Brother and I

What is black cinema anyway?

The questions one has to ask to define such a thing are those that few people feel comfortable asking, let alone answering: Is the money that financed the film in black hands from the beginning? Will the rewards find their way to black hands in the end? In the meantime, will black audiences have the film marketed to them, have places where they can easily see it? Will they identify with its themes and aesthetics? It’s all just posturing until those questions are answered.

The Accidental Neoliberal

The Accidental Neoliberal

Against the old sincerity

I left college in 1997 with a motto, Czesław Miłosz’s “What is unpronounced tends to nonexistence,” and a corollary, that pronouncing things might bring them into being. What I wanted to pronounce was politics. To me, that meant making all my book-learning come alive in a shared awareness that people create, preserve, or degrade their own world, joined to a sense that its justice or injustice, peace or violence, belongs to everyone.

Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager (I)

Anonymous Hedge Fund Manager (I)

Because in the end the way you make a ton of money is calling paradigm shifts, and people who are real finance types, maybe they can work really well within the paradigm of a particular market or a particular set of rules—and you can make money doing that—but the people who make huge money, the George Soroses and Julian Robertsons, they’re the people who can step back and see when the paradigm is going to shift, and I think that comes from having a broader experience, a little bit of a different approach to how you think about things.