Foreign Affairs

Belarus Dispatch

Belarus Dispatch

Goodbye, Cockroach?

If you’ve ever compared Fox News commentary on Portland to the hours of video that Robert Evans posts, showing actual events on the ground around the federal courthouse there, then you already understand the dynamic. The past week in Belarus has been as clean a story of good versus evil as exists in the world. It is not a surprise that Belarusian state media took up the cause of evil, but Russian state media was at least faced with a choice. They chose evil too.

Antibacterial Wipes, Wigs, Jump Ropes, Vodka

Antibacterial Wipes, Wigs, Jump Ropes, Vodka

The fight for workplace safety at Amazon France

Thanks to its ubiquitous presence across Europe, Amazon was never seriously penalized. The nearly boundless scale of the company also allowed it to ignore the mandate about excluded products; its catalogue for French shoppers offered thousands of both essential and non-essential items. In fact, according to a report from Bloomberg, Seattle may have shut the French warehouses precisely to avoid setting this expensive and complex precedent for other countries.

The Wantok System

The Wantok System

A horizon of maximum difference, a test bed for linguistics and for linguists

New Guinea remained on my radar: a horizon of maximum difference, a test bed for linguistics and for linguists. Elsewhere, linguistic differences usually stem from geographic isolation. But in much of New Guinea the diversity is actually deepest in places where travel is easiest. Instead of using religion, clothing, or food, Papua New Guineas have distinguished themselves above all through language. Call it tribalism or, as linguists do, the “constructive fostering of variegation” through “intentional language change.”

Hold Your Applause

Hold Your Applause

The French respond to paperwork

As of this writing, France’s death toll is more than thirteen thousand. The trees were bare when this began; now the lindens are in full leaf, and the ashes will follow shortly. At some point the clocks changed, and at first it made us bashful to face each other each evening in full daylight. But without fail at 8 we appear at our windows, sometimes grimly, sometimes exuberantly, to fulfill what we all seem to agree is a duty to each other.

Eyes Open

Eyes Open

Que se sepa que en Chile nos estarán robando los ojos mas no la VOZ! 

The citizen body has always been the target of state violence, but, in keeping with these visual times, the police targeted the optic organ itself, rendering their violence spectacular. The target was no longer the body but the eye of the citizen. They aimed to leave eyes open and awake forever, perpetually shot upward, blank.