The core disparity in childhood experience between the races has profound implications for middle-class black children. These children not only suffer from inadequate resources and crumbling schools; they also, unlike their white counterparts, have easy access to criminal networks that can send them abruptly into downward mobility.
With a nod to Elmore Leonard, Bad Paper seeks a bit of love for certain bad or not-so-nice people—the hundreds of debt collectors, some of them ex-cons, who chase down little old ladies on Social Security to cough up their last pennies to pay off the money they borrowed from the likes of Bank of America or Chase. But the marks aren't really paying off the banks. No, the banks long ago sold off these debts to debt buyers like the heroes of this picaresque nonfiction yarn:
How do we define the corruption that money brings to our politics? It's easy to be vaguely concerned about "money in politics" in the dollar-saturated public sphere that's risen up following 2010's Citizens United and subsequent federal-court decisions. But the "corruption" that's taking place now isn't as simple as some would make it seem, and its complexity contributes directly to its power and endurance.
Ruben Castaneda may be the nicest crack addict in the history of the drug. His worst transgression seems to be missing his brother's wedding-rehearsal dinner. He also, in the grips of his disease, began to call people near and far saying he'd lost his wallet, and showed up for work disheveled and reeking of booze.
William Deresiewicz begins his blistering, arm-waving jeremiad against Ivy League colleges and their dozens of emulators, which are creating a caste that is ruining itself and society, with the insistence that the book is a letter to his twenty-year-old self.
You don’t shoot yourself,” said a battered Muhammad Ali in his hotel room after losing the Fight of the Century to Joe Frazier on March 8, 1971. “Soon this will be old news. . . . Maybe a plane will go down with 90 persons in it. Or a great man will be assassinated. That will be more important
Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me is a slim, well-intentioned, and gratingly naive collection of essays on Women’s Issues. It could serve as a sort of primer for freshman-year dorm-room discussions of why rape is bad, why all people deserve the right to marry, how they can maintain a baseline
It is both reassuring and unnerving to recall the Cold War as conducted with books rather than tanks. Both the CIA and the KGB implicitly endorsed Maxim Gorky's proclamation that "books are the most important and most powerful weapons in socialist culture."
Web-enabled innovations like crowdfunding make for wonderful add-ons to, but very poor substitutes for, existing cultural institutions. We have never fully grasped the logic that has produced these institutions in the first place—and, in pre-digital times, we didn't really have to.
Utopianism is as much an enunciation of a better world as it is an enactment of one. Benjamin Kunkel's Utopia or Bust, a guide to several of the master theoreticians of the left, helps us believe in a future alternative to our present.