Louis Menand asks what happened to the power of the press? He argues that the culprit is simple: the breakdown of a white, liberal, internationalist mainstream ideology that united the government and the press for decades in the 20th century.
Jay Caspian Kang believes in affirmative action and racial preferences. But when he dives into the Harvard case coming to the Supreme Court, Kang argues that Harvard’s approach to affirmative action reveals “a profoundly broken system that relies on obfuscation and misdirection, especially when it comes to the treatment of Asian applicants.”
Matt Beard reflects on the academic politics of the early 20th century- and the ideas of Weber and Arendt- in order to draw lessons for our own time, in which politics is infringing on questions of academic integrity.
When Roosevelt Montas immigrated to the Bronx from the Dominican Republic, he found a copy of Plato’s Dialogues in a garbage dump and took it home. It changed his life. Thomas Chatterton Williams writes on the importance of the classics for the underprivileged.
Rebecca Solnit asks why Republican voters keep believing the lies about the election told by Donald Trump. And to answer that question she turns to Hannah Arendt.
When asked by Günter Gaus what was irretrievably lost when she had to flee the Nazis and leave Germany and Europe behind, Hannah Arendt answered: “The Europe of the pre-Hitler period? I do not long for that, I can tell you. What remains? The language remains.” In a profile of the writer Lydia Davis, Wyatt Mason dives into this question of how knowing many languages changes and enriches a writer.
In her last book The Life of the Mind, Hannah Arendt writes that “thinking is out of order.” Thinking frees us from the world of appearances and allows us to think things beyond our common sense that we share with others. In this way, thinking is not about the pursuit of truth but it is, Arendt argues, about the pursuit of meaning. Thomas Bartscherer meditates on Arendt’s characterization of thinking as out of order.
Wyatt Mason writes about translating poetry and specifically Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. Amidst long ruminations on Baudelaire’s rhythmic syllables, Mason highlights the poet’s fight against all that is common.
There may be no more dangerous trend in higher education than the epidemic of administrators. For over ten years we’ve been reading articles about administrative bloat—spending on administration now nearly equals spending on faculty at many major universities. Philip Mousavizadeh writes about the “proliferation of administrators” at Yale University, where in the last 20 years “the number of managerial and professional staff... has risen three times faster than the undergraduate student body.”