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“But perhaps the most striking and frightening aspect of the German flight from reality is the habit of treating facts as though they were mere opinions.” Hannah Arendt The Aftermath of Nazi Rule – Report from Germany. (1950) Hannah Arendt was born today in 1906. These days, her theories and commentary feels all too relevant.

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You’re So Pretty When You Hate

Punk is really at its best when its angry and abrasive – and Deutsche Laichen, a decidedly queer feminist punk band from Göttingen, Germany, are really, really abrasive. Their self-titled debut LP is almost physical in its rejection of toxic masculinity, homophobia and (cis)sexism. Case in point: “Du bist so schön, wenn du hasst”, the […]

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poetry

“To Give a Being Like Me Language” – Akwaeke Emezi on Toni Morrison

After Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison died just a few days ago, I thought a lot about what her work meant to me, and I read a lot of tributes to her. The piece of writing that struck me most is this letter by nonbinary writer/ogbanje Akwaeke Emezi: The elderspirit of you leapt into my head […]

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“We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

Toni Morrison (1931-2019) The above quote is from her 1993 Nobel Lecture, which I can only recommend. Of all her novels and essays, the lecture is perhaps my favorite piece of writing of hers, the one I return to most often, and not just because I quoted it in my master’s thesis.

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poetry

Happy 100th Birthday Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet, painter, activist, and co-founder of City Lights Booksellers & Publishers turned 100 years old today. Ferlinghetti is maybe best known for “A Coney Island of the Mind” and as publisher of the beat poets, which included being arrested for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and the ensuing First Ammendment trial. My favorite work […]

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Wole Soyinka in Conversation With Henry Louis Gates

The New York Review of Books published a long, wide-ranging interview of Wole Soyinka, Nigerian Nobel Laureate in Literature, by Henry Louis Gates. The conversation touches on Trump and why Soyinka cut up his green card, the African diaspora, desegregating motel swimming pools, Obama and burdening a leader with a Peace Prize, federalism in Nigeria, […]

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“Trust Love All the Way”: Go See If Beale Street Could Talk

If Beale Street Could Talk, the Barry Jenkins movie based on the James Baldwin novel of the same name, is a fantastic, beautiful, political, loving movie. Trish Rivers and Fonny Hunt are a young Black couple in love and expecting a baby when Fonny is arrested for a rape he didn’t commit. Barry Jenkins and […]

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The Oscars Love Racial Reconciliation Movies.

Wesley Morris sums up the problem with Oscar-winning movies like The Green Book for the New York Times: The money is ostensibly for legitimate assistance, but it also seems to paper over all that’s potentially fraught about race. The relationship is entirely conscripted as service and bound by capitalism and the fantastically presumptive leap is, […]

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poetry

Toni Morrison on Embracing Failure as Information

It’s as though you’re in a laboratory and you’re working on an experiment with chemicals or with rats, and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t mix. You don’t throw up your hands and run out of the lab. What you do is you identify the procedure and what went wrong and then correct it. If you […]

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poetry

Kaveh Akbar on Poetry

We have to say it in a way that will delight the ear or the tongue or the mind of a reader who will never know us. It’s the only way in. And to do that, we have to be capable of imagining that reader, imagining them wholly, gassy and distracted by their phone and […]