Making the Best of Social Distancing

Mar 27, 2020

It is terrible to be sick, and more terrible to be sick and alone. Ten years ago, my mother’s hospice unit was in quarantine for E. coli. In her last week of life, none of her friends were allowed to visit.  Now everyone gets to taste that isolation in what may be the most widespread and...

When the Bunker Becomes Home, Sweet Home
Mar 27, 2020

When the Bunker Becomes Home, Sweet Home

The Art of Social Distancing According to Hannah Arendt
Mar 23, 2020

The Art of Social Distancing According to Hannah Arendt

Faced With the Coronavirus Challenge to Our Humanity, We Have Been Found Wanting
Mar 18, 2020

Faced With the Coronavirus Challenge to Our Humanity, We Have Been Found Wanting

Getting Ready for a World Without Sports

Getting Ready for a World Without Sports

Mar 17, 2020

A week ago, it would have been unthinkable. Now it’s materialized — a world without sports. The calendar still shows Wimbledon, the Tokyo Olympics, a world heavyweight title fight and the Tour de France, among others. But these events are under threat. Already, the NBA has canceled games in...

Chinese Diaspora Revisits Its Identity and Relationship to Beijing

Chinese Diaspora Revisits Its Identity and Relationship to Beijing

Mar 16, 2020

Tracing the ever-rising death toll of the COVID-19 outbreak to the exotic meat on sale at a wet market in Wuhan, China, probably feels a bit surreal. If anything, it serves as a sobering reminder of how, in our globalized, interconnected lives, a plate of dubiously sourced food can rapidly lead to...

Social Distancing or the Danger of Life With Others

Social Distancing or the Danger of Life With Others

Mar 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has begun to deconstruct and remodel the accepted behaviors of our culture as nations across the globe endeavor to artificially redefine everyday rules of their social life. For the first time since perhaps the arrival of the Black Death in 14th-century Europe, an entire...

Martha Nussbaum’s Magnificent Opus, a Critique

Martha Nussbaum’s Magnificent Opus, a Critique

Mar 13, 2020

The philosopher Martha Nussbaum has a prodigious output and, indeed, it takes a prodigious effort to keep up with it. No sooner had I completed reading the latest trio of her books than a new one was signaled,  many of the recent works being based on her delivery of prestigious guest lectures...

What’s in a Name? Rebranding Racist Legacies

What’s in a Name? Rebranding Racist Legacies

Mar 12, 2020

A sudden controversy has exploded in the Netherlands. In March, the Dutch department store HEMA began selling a traditional Dutch pastry under the name chocoladebal (chocolate ball) instead of moorkop (referring to the head of a dark-skinned person). HEMA followed in the footsteps of a small baker...

McCoy Tyner’s Improvisations of Hope

McCoy Tyner’s Improvisations of Hope

Mar 10, 2020

Jazz is a musical art form that cultivates complex and highly disciplined improvisational skills. In its brief history — hardly more than a century — jazz has always floated between being perceived as a style of popular, crowd-pleasing music or as a sophisticated art form produced by...

Anti-Quarantine to Stop an Anti-Epidemic

Anti-Quarantine to Stop an Anti-Epidemic

Mar 06, 2020

I’ve changed my mind. Loneliness isn’t so much an epidemic as an anti-epidemic. Just now, COVID-19, a regular coronavirus, is spreading like a regular epidemic. So far only tens of thousands are affected, not tens of millions, but already public health is a top priority. Stopping viral...

Talking African Literature With Chigozie Obioma

Talking African Literature With Chigozie Obioma

Mar 05, 2020

African literature has attracted immense international interest in recent years, and a number of “Afropolitan” icons and rising stars have won acclaim from critics and literary festivals. Yet most reading lists released by major newspapers and journals are still disproportionately...

The New Man in Fascism Past and Present

The New Man in Fascism Past and Present

Mar 05, 2020

“The trenchocracy is the aristocracy of the trenches,” declared Benito Mussolini on the pages of Il Popolo d’Italia in December 1917. Reflecting on the new type of man emerging from the war, he went on: “What an immense moral force is contained in the patriotic spirit of those who come...

How “Social” Is Social Media?

How “Social” Is Social Media?

Mar 04, 2020

According to current estimates, more than 3 billion people worldwide are routine users of social media. And if you’re one of those billions, then you know good and well that social media is used for far more than posting cat videos or wishing happy birthday to your long-lost college...

Load More