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.)

But Milo isn’t being asked to examine or refine his views. He’s being asked to change them from hate speech into dog whistles. As the editor himself puts it: “I don’t like using Nazi analogies. Ever. Let other people do that.”

Blair Beusman at Lithub: How to Sanitize a Hateful Troll

This emerging religious worldview — let’s call it “Fox evangelicalism” — is preached from the pulpits of conservative media outlets like Fox News. It imbues secular practices like shopping for gifts with religious significance and declares sacred something as worldly and profane as gun culture.

Against hatred and intolerance we need education and civil courage. This is what Nobel science and Nobel peace is about.

Bishop emeritus Gunnar Stålsett, in a speech at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway.

You can read his speech on the importance of science and peace in society on the blog of the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings.