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When I was in high school, in the mid 2000s, the height of the Bush years, I declared myself a conservative. This wasn’t the result of any actual ideological conviction, but instead just a reaction to the liberal California where I grew up, a desire to be different from everyone around me. I was a lapsed Muslim living in a vaguely Islamophobic society, but I didn’t believe in God or care much for my Pakistani heritage. Above all, I wanted to be accepted as an American, and becoming an outspoken Republican was a way to do that. I had fruitlessly criticized Bush’s invasion of Iraq as a middle school student in 2003, making speeches for school projects and talking about it angrily to all my friends, but it hadn’t really mattered, and I’d grown cynical as a teenager. …

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Land-ocean temperature index, 1880 to present, with base period 1951–1980 (Author: NASA Goddard Institue for Space Studies; Source: Public Domain)

This past week, the big gossipy news story of the 2020 Democratic Primary was the end of the non-aggression pact between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. First, Politico reported on a volunteer script floating around the Sanders campaign slack channels that (very mildly) criticized Elizabeth Warren (“I like Elizabeth Warren,” the script began, which to me doesn’t feel like too heavy of a criticism). This was followed by a CNN story reporting (via four anonymous sources who weren’t actually in the room) that Sanders had told Warren in a private meeting that he didn’t think a woman could beat Trump. …

One of the biggest problems with the new Disney Star Wars films is the way they rely on fan service for their biggest emotional moments. Whether it’s Han Solo’s death in The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker’s surprising character arc in The Last Jedi, or the return of Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker, the pathos of the new films comes not from the narratives of any of the new characters but instead from the nostalgic reactions Disney trusts we will have when we see old characters return. …


Aatif Rashid

Debut novel PORTRAIT OF SEBASTIAN KHAN (2019, 7.13 Books). Writes about politics and literature.

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