Current Affairs

The Past and Present of Print

Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen— Does Tim Berners-Lee regret inventing the internet?  At the time, the internet was trumpeted, like any step forward in information culture, as a liberating force, an instrument of democratic empowerment. No-one foresaw the dark web, online betting, still less fake news. Citizen journalism begat

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Democratic Socialist Ideas and Social Democratic Realities

Gary Dorrien— Democratic socialism, an idea with a rich history in European politics and a slight history in U.S. American politics, is surging today in the U.S. partly because America has so little of it. European Social Democracy has helped to build the world’s most humane societies by universalizing the

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A Day at the Beach and Some Other Interesting Times at the 2019 Venice Biennale

By David Ebony  I. La Biennale di Venezia #58  The 2019 Venice Biennale, on view through November 24, has the head-scratching, ironic title “May You Live in Interesting Times.” The exhibition’s American-born, London-based curator Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery since 2006, says that the phrase has been invoked

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Examining the Secular Age

Nicholas Wolterstorff— Recently I dipped once again into Charles Taylor’s massive A Secular Age, and one of the themes he develops there led me to reflect on the implications of that theme for the place of religion in the university—by which I do not mean the place of the study

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What Happened to Mescaline?

Mike Jay— In the current psychedelic renaissance, the original psychedelic is conspicuous by its absence. Amid all the buzz around LSD, psilocybin, DMT, ketamine and MDMA, and their potential for psychotherapy and mental well-being, mescaline rarely rates a mention. Yet the term ‘psychedelic’ was coined, in 1954, in response to

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On Narcissistic Leaders and Personality Cults

David Brandenberger— Although the similarities between Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orban, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Rodrigo Duterte are often overstated, all these leaders are united by their cultivation of personality cults. Recently, pundits have linked indulgence in this sort of thing to something referred to as “narcissistic personality disorder”—a

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Classism Is the Real College Admissions Scandal

John Sexton— In Reclaiming the Game, former Princeton president Bill Bowen and Sarah Levin wrote: “In no other country in the world is athletics so embedded within the institutional structure of higher education as in the United States.” Published in 2005, their book went on to highlight the scandalous fact that

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Out of Joint

Nomi Claire Lazar— The importance of genericism to the primitivist frame is evident from its reliance on abstraction. This becomes clear in contrast with an Aristotelian perspective on development. For Aristotle, the highest form of human personality is to become a person of virtue and sound judgment, engaged in a

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Israel and the Conundrums of the Left

Susie Linfield— Both the Democratic Party in the U.S. and the Labour Party in Britain are in a tizzy over issues relating to Israel and anti-Semitism. Stateside, Rep. Ilhan Omar’s various statements about Israel, AIPAC, hypnosis, dual loyalties, and “Benjamins” sent the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives into months of tormented

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Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon— A drop of sweat fell on the edge of the piece of paper and I stopped reading. His handwriting was neat and confident. The ink was black, maybe from a ballpoint pen. The words were perched like birds on lines that looked like small sky-blue threads running across

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