February 19, 2021
All articles by this author
February 19, 2021
Brit Bennett, Peter Blackstock, Ariel Chu, Jonathan Dee, Mark Doten, Jane Hu, Claire Jarvis, Mark Krotov, Christopher James Llego, Rachel Ossip, Zeynep Özakat, Allison Pitinii Davis, Angela Qian, Dana Spiotta, Shelley Wong, Su Wu
September 7, 2020
People are always accusing me of living in the n+1 office. Did I live there?
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March 30, 2020
On Michael Sorkin, 1948–2020
Sorkin died needlessly, at the hands of a monstrous President he diagnosed better than most back in the summer of 2016, when too many of us dismissed analogy as overstatement. Sorkin began writing for the Village Voice in the late ’70s, his office was up the street from Trump SoHo, and his beat was architecture, money, power, fascism. Of course he understood.
June 30, 2018
An interview with the designers behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign
We’re in a revolutionary moment, so we went straight to the history of grassroots, civil rights, and social justice movements in search of a common language we could participate in. One that Ocasio-Cortez could participate in and that she belongs in. The most inspiring figures to us were Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, the cofounders of the National Farmworkers Association. They had a positive, uplifting message about bringing power to the people. It resonated so deeply with who Sandy the person was, and who Sandy the candidate became, that it was a good fit.
May 18, 2018
On Peter Mayer, 1936–2018
His indifference to luxury distinguished him from his peers and seemed to ground him in the present tense. An often ancient-seeming man who spoke with the long vowels of the American midcentury, he always kept moving. He invested in young people—in us—a remarkable degree of trust and authority. The past was invoked often, but always as the punchline to a good story: his sordid adventures in the Merchant Marines; the time Allen Ginsberg got into the cab he was driving and asked him to take him cross-country (Peter of course obliged); a visit with Yukio Mishima in Tokyo too bizarre and nightmarish to explain with any succinctness. He once said he published a photography book, New York in the ’70s, because he had spent that decade in his office and needed a visual guide. But the stories suggested otherwise.
March 14, 2018
Clint Eastwood’s late late style.
Nothing that happens on the train approaches the strangeness of the preceding half hour, which reprises Stone, Skarlatos, and Sadler’s backpacking trip through Europe in the weeks before the attack. The trip becomes an opportunity to deploy basic instances of foreshadowing and dramatic irony. In every other scene, someone advises the guys to avoid Paris. Why? Charlie Hebdo never comes up, but a terrorism-shaped cloud hangs over these conversations. “Paris was OK for me,” a new friend tells them, pronouncing OK in a way that obviously means not OK. Fate, already an unsubtle presence, begins to sound like a car alarm.
February 2, 2018
Video games roundup
What has changed, two decades on, is the thrust of these games. There has been, in video-game sports as in the culture at large, an astonishing administrative bloat. The first time I noticed the shift was in playing GameDay 2000, a basic NFL simulator. Sure, you could play an NFL game, watch the tightly-packed polygonal men glitch through one another, watch the victory dances to buttrock anthems. But GameDay also let you start a franchise. Now, instead of calling plays and moving small men around, you were the GM. The game let you simulate entire seasons, no longer bothering with the incidental back-and-forth of moving a ball across a field, but playing football on a world-historic level. In the offseason you would trade and draft new players, based on stats generated by the computer, new rookies with computer-generated names populating your team, until your Chicago Bears were unrecognizable, the year was 2020, and your franchise had won the past decade of Super Bowl rings.
April 24, 2017
On the Fast and the Furious movies
Every film franchise is a testament to growth and conquest. In the case of the Marvel movies, that growth is exponential and expanding: movies beget more movies, more spinoffs, more series that emerge from spinoffs. What sets the Fast and the Furious series apart from franchises like this—at least for now—is its habit of folding all that hot-media-property energy back into itself, making the movies all the more strange and intense.
November 12, 2016
In victory, Trump has issued a license for jubilation and fervor. It is open season.
On Tuesday night, as the little blue line on the New York Times graph started to plunge to below 50 percent, I began to imagine President-elect Trump embracing the parents of grieving servicemen and servicewomen; Trump greeting a Girl Scout troop on the White House lawn; Trump dedicating a new national park (before privatizing it).
In 2016, Twitter, like money, was speech.