There is a new journal dedicated to difficult topics, The Journal of Controversial Ideas. But the most provocative and well-researched essay of the week was published independently on Medium. Nearly three million people have died from the Covid 19 novel Coronavirus, and yet we still know remarkably little about how the virus emerged. The origin-story of the novel Coronavirus became a political hot potato under the Trump administration.
Shortly after the January 6th failed insurrection in Washington DC, PEN held a writers benefit that featured a panel of writers talking about post-Trump politics. Peggy Noonan adopted a hopeful tone, arguing that after a short period of time where feelings of loss would be respected and salved, Republicans would come to their collective senses and re-enter the real world.
As an academic year of unprecedented trials limps to a close, the predictable articles on grade inflation rise like daisies. It is hard to get worked up. Grade inflation is one of the few facts we can all agree on in our increasingly fact-free world. It is here to stay. But one thing often forgotten is that grade inflation actually hurts students.
The crisis of truth is upon us and for many this is a phenomenon associated with Donald Trump. But Hannah Arendt diagnosed the crisis of truth in modern politics over 60 years ago. And in her essay “Truth and Politics” Arendt argues that one foundation for that crisis is the loss of a non-political standpoint from which one can speak about the world and politics.
In response to news that Howard University is disbanding its Classics Department, Cornell West reminds us that Frederick Douglas and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. were inspired and nurtured by the classics. West argues that the attack on the classics is an attack on the soul and symptom the moral and spiritual rot of American culture.