Seeing What Is: “White Privilege,” “Antiracism,” The Police – Lessons from a Losing Culture on the Authority of Language at a time of MovementNikita Nelin
“We got engaged, preparing for a summer wedding, and started talking about kids. Then the pandemic hit. My industry crumbled and hers pressurized. Social distancing left us sheltered in place in our new neighborhood, as we watched the world outside first shudder, and then take to the streets, while we tried to reconcile our place in it with the disappearance our own dream.”
On September 16, 1964, Hannah Arendt sat for an interview on German TV with Günther Gaus. Arendt and Gaus are both chain smoking through the interview in which they talk about the Holocaust, philosophy, feminism, Jewishness, exile, and of course her book on Adolf Eichmann.
Anne Applebaum tells the stories of Wolfgang Leonhard and Markus Wolf. Both were sons of prominent German Communist families who were educated in the Soviet Union and were roommates in the same military camp. They had similar ideological educations and both came to understand that the communist system behind the Iron Curtain was failing to deliver on its utopian promise. But then their paths diverged.
Many have been waiting and wondering when, and if, leaders would emerge from the conservative strongholds like the military and the Republican Party to call out the childishness, narcissism, and boorishness that makes Donald Trump such a singularly disastrous President. It seems that the President’s decision to use the U.S. military to clear away protesters so he could have a photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church...
Thirty-one years ago today the Chinese People’s Liberation Army forcibly cleared democracy protesters from Tiananmen Square. Marking that anniversary has been banned in China (something I found out the hard way when I foolishly wore an Amnesty International t-shirt onto Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1991 and nearly got arrested).
Masha Gessen’s newest book argues that Donald Trump is paving the way for the end of American democracy and the rise of autocracy. Whether Gessen is right, their argument about how President Trump attacks language attacks a shared world of meaning necessary for democracy is right. Gessen founds their argument on insights from Hannah Arendt...
I’ve written about the controversy over the prosecution of Michael Flynn. On the one hand, the effort by the Trump administration to drop charges against Flynn smacks of an authoritarian interference with the independent judiciary and the rule of law. On the other hand, there are questions about the original prosecution itself as an overreach by security agencies.
With the shift to virtual classrooms during the pandemic many are questioning the necessity of physical campuses, and speculating about the future of online learning. But these speculations are shortsighted. They overlook the importance of physical space for learning, and they move from an understanding that education is something to be bought and sold. In reality, online learning fuels inequality, and is exacerbated by economic disparity...
In a tribute to her mentor Karl Jaspers, Hannah Arendt once said: “Humanity is never acquired in solitude, and never by giving one’s work to the public. It can be achieved only by one who has thrown his life and his person into the ‘venture into the public realm.’”
Whether George Floyd died from asphyxiation or some combination of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” as the official Hennepin County autopsy has it, anyone can see that former police officer Derek Chauvin sat firmly on Mr. Floyd’s neck, left hand casually in his pocket as if bored, for over 8 minutes while three other officers calmly looked on.