Every now and then Alex would see or hear something that appeared to be for no one but soon enough turned out to be for someone and, after a certain amount of advertising revenue had been spent, would explode into the world for everyone. Who was left to make stuff…
The conversation below took place via email.
T. A. Alston: Jon,
You’re going to be reading a paper you wrote entitled Coke Cans and ‘Carrying the Fire:’ Walter Benjamin’s ‘The Story Teller’ meets Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’ at an academic conference. This is exciting! …
In the wake of Drew Faust’s announcement to conclude her service as president of Harvard University, writer Alex Beam wrote a piece for The Boston Globe titled “A report card on Harvard’s Drew Faust.” He writes that Faust has had an “unremarkable 10-year tenure.” I read this line and thought…
Marlon James, a writer, professor, and author of the Man Booker Prize winning novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, wrote a brilliant essay on Facebook in the wake of the acquittal of Philando Castille’s killer, Officer Jeronimo Yanez. Here is an excerpt:
I have a self-imposed curfew of when…
When no influence is strong enough
To unify people
One against one,
Group against group,
For survival, position, power.
It doesn’t seem real that Donald J. Trump is the President of the United States of America. It may seem naïve to think so given the fact…
It’s frustrating that I only found out about the bombing in Kabul that killed 80 people and wounded as many as 350 (mostly civilians) by going to the Associated Press website. I’m not comparing so as to diminish the horrendous act of terrorism in Manchester, but when you log onto social media sites like Facebook or Twitter or Instagram and see everybody posting their condolences with the hashtag #manchesterattack, and then juxtapose the reaction to the attack in Kabul, it’s easy to notice the sheer indifference we have toward people in the Middle East (aka brown skin).
After a slow month of reading, I’m finally done with Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I hate grading books on scale, but if I was forced to, I’d give it a 3.5/5.
Now I’m onto Strong Motion by Jonathan Franzen. I’m a big Franzen fan, and enjoyed his National Book Award winning novel The Corrections and his most recent, Purity. My favorite Franzen novel, however, is Freedom. Let’s see if Strong Motion can top it.
I wrote a piece last month titled “War As Normal.” The basic gist of the piece is that as an American, I am so far removed from the tragedies that take place in areas like Aleppo, that even when I am feeling really sad, angry, and sympathetic, it is virtually impossible for me to feel empathy. What prompted me to write the piece was a passage from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s sophomore novel Half of a Yellow Sun. I am writing this today because the passage in the photo above from the same book is an example of the point I was trying to make.
Jay Caspian Kang wrote about liberal punditry’s infatuation with the idea that young people should sit down and learn how to engage opposing viewpoints civilly on college campuses. What prompted him to write this was the reaction to the students at Middlebury College who protested a lecture given by Charles…