There are years that ask questions and years that answer.

Zora Neale Hurston – Their Eyes Were Watching God

Performance Studies scholar Tony Perucci explores how Robeson was portrayed as insane. During the Cold War, the shared “critical goal” of the federal government and psychoanalytic psychiatry was “to eliminate dissent against American political order.” Because Communists (real or imagined) were said to be so good at masking their true selves, only psychoanalysis could break through outer falsehood of the “red mask.” It followed that they had to be insane to be Communists or fellow-travelers.

I think in any environment, but perhaps especially places at war, book reading creates a pause from day-to-day life and isolates a reader from their surroundings while they’re buried in a book,” said Jamshid Hashimi, who runs an online library and is a co-founder of the Book Club of Afghanistan. “This is powerful anywhere, but in a place like Afghanistan, it can be a means of emotional survival.

In 2017, irrealism wasn’t just the form of reality experienced by those under threat, it became the dominant mode of power and its projections, with its showrunner being Donald Trump, the President. This is at once terrifying and familiar. We live, after all, in a world of infinite possibilities. We also live in a world in which we need to categorize and order reality

The Worst of Times: Our Year in Irreality

A terrific essay by John Freeman on myth, irreality, and the presidency of Donald Trump. I can recommend reading the whole thing on this anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. It’s printed in Freeman’s Journal and crossposted in Lithub. (see link above.)