Tag: Social Theory

The Mortal Marx

In the mid-1860s, as an anxious and ailing Karl Marx worked on the 30-page essay that would billow into Das Kapital, his daughter Eleanor—“Tussy”—would play under his desk. With her dolls, kittens ...

How to Write About Videogames

I remember his blue-plastic hair, drawn back in a little bun that looked octagonal. I remember the pointy hat that crowned him in the eyes of other players: “Sorcerer’s petasos +1,” the “+1” ...

#Normporn

In the penultimate season of 30 Rock (2006–13), the sitcom’s resident kinkmeisters and genderqueer lovers, Jenna and Paul, are faced with a profound sexual crisis: after chatting about their day ...

Soft Atheism

It’s not easy being new. It doesn’t last long. Sometimes it isn’t even an apt characterization in the first place. Take “New Atheism,” the label applied to a body of writings by such figures as ...

Ordinary Lives

“Nobody’s listening!” (“Le pays, en un mot, ne se sent pas représenté,” or literally, “The country, in a word, feels that it is not listened to.”) Pierre Rosanvallon, a professor of history at the ...

Changes

The first thing that happens, when a literary historian starts using computers to think about literature, is that the object of study changes. Not just the tool; the object itself. “The objects ...

Cancer’s Poison Gift

S. Lochlann Jain’s Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us is both a memoir of the author’s personal journey as a cancer patient and a trenchant analysis of why preventing cancer has never been an American ...

Hopelessly Devoted: Why We Watch Sports

My father called me the other day to ask if I was in a good mood. The Mets were in first place, having triumphed in their season opener. These days Mets fan cherish even the briefest of moments on ...

The Anti-Revolutionary Science

Speaking to Occupy Wall Street protesters at Zuccotti Park in New York City last October, the Columbia economist Jeffrey Sachs placed himself squarely on their side, saying, “You are doing a ...

The Politics of Sacred Life

Humanitarianism, according to Didier Fassin, is “a relatively recent invention” that has become “a potent force of our world” that is “global and yet uneven.” It has come, he asserts, to occupy “a ...

If Looks Could Kill Empires

“Seeing comes before words.”   “Seeing is a great deal more than believing these days.”   “During the first days of the NATO attack on Serbia in April 1999, I was watching a CNN live report ...

The Janus Face of Conscience

Throughout the summer of 1938, Paul Gruninger was in charge of policing a small section of the Swiss border. A captain in the canton of St. Gallen, his job was to prevent entry from Nazi-controlled ...