Tag: Essay

A Tapestry of Black Lives

James Baldwin’s legacy looms powerfully in this current moment. This may be all the more true for black writers. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, one of the contributors to Jesmyn Ward’s timely new anthology ...

A Tapestry of Black Lives

James Baldwin’s legacy looms powerfully in this current moment. This may be all the more true for black writers. Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, one of the contributors to Jesmyn Ward’s timely new anthology ...

The Thread

1 Sometime during my senior year of high school, my mother went on a laundry strike. Her goal, as I understood it, was to get my father to pick his underwear up off the bathroom floor, carry them to ...

Prince’s Erotic Democracy

In the 1980s, in the shadow of AIDS, Prince (along with Madonna) brought post-disco polymorphous perversity to the mainstream. As Richard Kim beautifully put it in The Nation last week, “If you were ...

Rembrandt

Just outside Amsterdam there lives an old, well-known, and respected Dutch painter. He has worked hard throughout his life—but he has only produced, as far as the world knows, a few drawings and one ...

Pornography Porn

In the fall of 1990, at the beginning of my senior year of college, I became obsessed with pornography—or, rather, I became obsessed with the feminist debates about it. From the late 1970s until the ...

On Spectacle and Silence

The spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images. —Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle   1 We sat on the couch ...

Papa Can’t Buy You A Brand New Earth

In the lullaby “Hush Little Baby,” a singer tries to quiet a child by promising to give her a slew of new things. “Papa’s gonna buy you a mocking bird,” she croons, “And if that mocking bird don’t ...

Why Is Drug Use Forbidden?

If the 20th was the century of the prohibition of drugs, the 21st has every chance to be the century of their liberation. An increasing number of initiatives—state, national, and international—have ...

Lending an Ear

It’s 2006 in Iowa City. Two women sit at opposite ends of a library table, fingers arched over their keyboards. A moment’s pause, then they begin—an étude on the voice for four hands. The reading ...