As almost anyone over age fifty and almost no one under age thirty will remember, on February 4, 1974, Patricia Hearst was kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment by a small, strange group that called itself the Symbionese Liberation Army. The SLA was less an army than a club; it consisted of one black
You are heading into the future on a voyage of sexual discovery, and here is what it’s like. Drinking beers with a man you’ve just met online, you think of five or ten other men you already know and would prefer to drink with, were it not for the grim necessity of finding a boyfriend. At Burning Man,
In his diary, the teenaged Thomas De Quincey once speculated about his persona. “What shall be my character?” he wrote. “Wild—impetuous—splendidly sublime? Dignified—melancholy—gloomily sublime? Or shrouded in mystery—supernatural—like the ‘ancient mariner’—awfully sublime.” De Quincey’s reputation
Since we live in an era of compulsory self-disclosure, there’s no way I can avoid confessing that I read Kristin Dombek’s short book, The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissism, in a frenzy of narcissistic injury. The reason is that for the past several years I myself have been
The title of disco scholar Tim Lawrence’s new book has taken on a more ominous overtone following the massacre at the nightclub Pulse in Orlando. Of course, the grim reaper alluded to in Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980–1983 is not a homophobic terrorist but a disease, AIDS, which
LYNN HERSHMAN LEESON’S “Breathing Machines,” a sculpture series from the 1960s, are coolly macabre self-portraits—masklike wax replicas of her face, styled with wigs and outfitted with electronics. In Self-Portrait as Albino, 1968, the artist’s expressionless face, eyes closed, is framed by hair like
There’s a scene in Jonathan Franzen’s 2001 novel The Corrections in which Chip Lambert, the wayward Marxist academic of the family, prepares to bring his cherished book collection to the Strand Book Store for resale. The putative aim is to recoup what little money he can from the piles of books,
In a 2005 essay for the New York Times Magazine, the critic A. O. Scott considered two recent and rather quixotic decisions, made in parallel by rival camps of young writers, to devise print magazines. One was The Believer, inaugurated in 2003 by Dave Eggers’s independent San Francisco publishing
For an esteemed art form, poetry certainly spends a lot of time defending itself against haters and skeptics. The attacks (and subsequent defenses) go all the way back to Plato, through Percy Bysshe Shelley, and haven’t slowed in recent years. The American poet and novelist Ben Lerner shares the
At first glance, The Oath seems to be a curious title for Jeffrey Toobin’s battlefield account of the current state of constitutional combat in the United States. Toobin opens his book with Greg Craig, President Obama’s first White House counsel, spending his first full day in office fretting
I opened Twilight of the Elites with some skepticism. It's certainly true, as Nation correspondent Chris Hayes argues here, that growing numbers of Americans who've worked hard and played by the rules are deciding that the rules have been rigged. But we're rarely driven to develop such thoughts further, in large part because our income, support networks, cultural tastes, and even self-esteem are so bound up with the juggernaut of casino-finance capitalism...
In 2007, Naomi Wolf warned us that the specter of fascism was haunting America. The radical Right was set to become a homegrown American version of the brownshirts. The free press was withering under a steady stream of disinformation and newspeak. A craven cabal of political elites was bullying the
You would have to look back to the fall of Rome for a spectacle of urban collapse to rival Detroit over the last sixty years. The city’s population, which brushed the two million mark in 1950, is now barely seven hundred thousand and falling. Depopulation and economic decline have created a desolate
Taken out of context, Mohandas Gandhi's famous remark of 1921, that "India lives in her villages," lends itself to multiple interpretations. Gandhi might have meant, as indeed he believed, that the country's bedrock spirit and the traditions to serve it best resided in its rural heartland. He might
IN 1983, ARTIST SOPHIE CALLE found an address book on a Paris street. Before returning it, she photocopied its contents, called the people listed, and asked to interview them about the book’s owner, whom she calls Pierre D. “I will try to discover who he is without ever meeting him,” she writes.
Singer and guitarist Chuck Brown invented go-go music in mid-’70s Washington, DC; it was an infectious blend of funk, Latin rhythms, and audience call-and-response that became the sound of African-American DC for decades. By the time of Brown’s death in May at age seventy-five, he had become the
IF YOU DRIVE ACROSS the US or even anywhere outside the I-95 corridor, you discover that country music dominates the airwaves. New Mexico, Maine, or Montana—regardless of region, the radio twangs in tones redolent of Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Country music is without a doubt this country’s music.
In January of 1965, FBI agents closing in on mobster Joseph “Joe Bananas” Bonanno discovered that the hellion son of an FBI informant code-named T-10 was raising hell alongside Bonanno’s own teenage son. Agents looked to exploit the two boys’ relationship to help break the case—until, that is, J.
The title promises the definitive lowdown. Between these covers, it implies, you will find everything you’ll ever need to know about the dynamics of collaboration, the craft of stage performance and studio recording, the nitty-gritty of the music industry. But you’ll also learn about how music affects