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The Charismatic Politics of Social Media

This essay was originally published by Tablet Magazine on 21st April 2021. In the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, the tone of politics has become much quieter, and not just in the United States. It’s amazing how much room this man’s personality took up in the public conversation. But we should remember that what silenced … Continue reading The Charismatic Politics of Social Media

Tradition with a capital T: Dylan at 80

It’s December 1963, and a roomful of liberal luminaries are gathered at New York’s Americana Hotel. They are here for the presentation of the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee’s prestigious Tom Paine Award, an accolade which, a year earlier, had been accepted by esteemed philosopher and anti-nuclear campaigner Bertrand Russell. If any in the audience have … Continue reading Tradition with a capital T: Dylan at 80

Terra damnata

A thousand regrets The blossoms were ravenous, and wild.They swallowed a streetlight and turned into a hugeglowing dandelion, snatching passers-byin their intimate net of shadows.  No one remembered how to approach such a vicious thing. Finally it fell into a mosaicof shriveled tissue, gasping in the acrid glare. All summer the wind was herding voicesbehind its … Continue reading Terra damnata

How Napoleon made the British

In 1803, the poet and philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote to a friend about his relish at the prospect of being invaded by Napoleon Bonaparte. “As to me, I think, the Invasion must be a Blessing,” he said, “For if we do not repel it, & cut them to pieces, we are a vile sunken … Continue reading How Napoleon made the British