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Pollito, Chicken; Gallina, Hen

Pollito, Chicken; Gallina, Hen

American Dirt in Mexico

Notice how the register of the prose, with its figures and rates, evokes the rhetoric of nonfiction. The use of general, declarative sentences about Mexico, in particular, makes me think of what my journalism professors used to call the nut-graf—the paragraph in the article where the journalist briefly pauses her account of the news to establish, in the most efficient way possible, the context for the events on which she is reporting. The result is that Cummins’s book often slips into didacticism.

Where’s the Savior?

Where’s the Savior?

Bloomberg and Trump: alike in dignity and almost everything else

The agita over whether it’s accurate or impolite to call Bloomberg “racist” or to suggest that he “hates” poor people is irrelevant. It matters not one whit what’s inside Mike’s heart, or if he even has one, since his actions have always already been right in front of our faces. The “context” for the Stop and Frisk and redlining clips is the fact that Mike Bloomberg spent over a decade presiding over a gargantuan machine for oppressing people of color, the poor, and poor people of color most of all—a total, merciless system for violating their bodies, controlling their lives, and driving them from their homes and communities.

I Should Have Known!

I Should Have Known!

“Interesting read,” was Kobe’s verdict. “#MuseOn.”

Over the course of several meetings in 2017 and 2018, I taught Kobe and his crew a smattering of ancient history. I had known about him for many years—since he first came to the Lakers. Among my earliest memories of shame comes from his first or second season: I thought that since his team-mate Shaquille O’Neill was clearly somehow Irish, Kobe, too, must be Irish, and so I referred to him (in front of friends, and friends’ parents) as Kobe O’Bryant. I was maybe 8; the memory still stings.

An Evening With George Steiner (1929–2020)

A critic and his critics

George Steiner is a charming but monstrous narcissist, and the evening spent with him and the Poet at the Professor of Poetry’s house was amazing. Things got started when another Professor, the Poet, and an Artist (the Poet’s spouse), complained laughingly about the xerox machine in the University English Department.

Remainder

Remainder

I have done this before, I will do this again

This morning the surgeon saws off her arm. No one stops him. No one comes to kiss her head. Perhaps she makes a joke of it before she falls asleep—but, of course she does—and they all laugh. Secretly, in her hospital bed, knees folded up, bleach-white sheets, palming a small mirror, she puts on a dab of lipstick before they wheel her in. That’s what she jokes about. All dolled up to go to the operating theater, darling! Don’t cut off the wrong one!

Law of Opposites

Law of Opposites

Instagram is crowded with skaters no one’s heard of pulling off tricks so hard they don’t even look cool

Verso offers no conscious political argument, although Suciu does follow Verso Books on Instagram. Still, the parallel is appealing. Is there an esoteric or intriguing association or parallel between aesthetic radicals and political radicals? They work in separate spheres, but both position themselves simultaneously as students of and dissenters to their respective traditions.

Working Through

Working Through

On Vigdis Hjorth and the incest novel

Why did this story in particular of loss and violation raise such a tumult in me? I’ve been no stranger to them. Bergljot keeps referring to some Danish film I’d never heard of, called Festen. For me, it was finding my mother’s copy of The God of Small Things when I was maybe twelve or thirteen, reading it over and over since, the similarities between my own family and the family in the novel becoming ever clearer. Some parts, even thinking about them as I write this, are seared into me, even now, they send currents thrilling through my electrified blood.