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Regular dispatches from our contributors.

Rise of the Blur

A specter is haunting photojournalism—an actual, visible specter

Because detective shows and soap operas use this blurry-foreground move so regularly, its sudden ubiquity in the news represents a significant shift in register, or even genre, for journalism. Photojournalism has for decades restricted itself to a stark framing of visual facts, never wishing to compromise its evidentiary role in the narration for a more theatrical one. The best news photos deftly capture the drama with a shutter click, but that is also the abiding rule: it either happens in that click, or it doesn’t make it to print.

Irreversible Shift

Irreversible Shift

This should be a single-issue election

Is it any wonder that in a century dominated by surveillance, paranoia, terrorism, rendition, financial collapse and hard borders our language has retreated? Our reality, for years now, has been of individual survival under austerity; the erasure of the public in a city of stagnating wages that in eight years lost half its youth centers and half its nightclubs and saw them replaced with sterile glass towers. One by one London’s houses, monuments, newspapers, and artworks are being eaten up by the searching, liquid capital of Indian steel tycoons and Arab petrolords and Russian disaster capitalists. Of course the language has stopped growing: where are we even supposed to talk to each other now?

The Final Set

The Final Set

“Just another thing that people get competitive about”

Her friends, her girlfriends, insisted from the very early stages that he was seeing somebody else. That he had a girl in Texas, an old girlfriend, somebody he had met on tour, whoever, that he kept coming back to. This is what all those airplane trips are about; this is why he keeps having to meet up with the contractors and the architects in person. But Dana shook her head. She genuinely didn’t think that this is what was going on. Part of her wished that he was having an affair—because it would suggest some reasonable ambition or desire on his part, to live a kind of life she could recognize, to make up for whatever was missing in their own relationship, which she could maybe address, in one way or another, after the inevitable upset and recrimination and heartbreak of finding out. Sometimes she even asked him about it, just to provoke a response. “Please,” he said. “You know me better than that.” And she thought she did.

Extraction Rebellion

Extraction Rebellion

A Green Zone of hope

Vast stretches of earth, once rich with vegetation and wildlife, are now barren. Running cracks fragment sun-hardened dirt for hundreds of miles. Increasingly severe dust storms and triple-digit temperatures routinely consume the cities and towns that remain. Electricity is scarce; there are no working fans, air filters, or air conditioners. Water, when available, is often contaminated, but still ingested regularly despite the risks.