With Love and Squalor: On Lili Anolik’s “Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A.”

I just changed the names.” Sending off her first story, “The Sheik,” she says, “I thought it was an essay, but Rolling Stone saw it as fiction, and that was fine with me.” Anolik goes on to fact-check Babitz’s assertion that Hollywood High was a lush corral for would-be starlets (it was), affirm the way

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When Looks Can Kill: On Antoine Bousquet’s “The Eye of War: Military Perception from the Telescope to the Drone”

This was first attempted by the United States with the unsuccessful deployment of television-guided aircraft against the Japanese during World War II, refined during the Vietnam War with the detonation of the “fire-and-forget” Walleye bomb, and reaching its apex with the armed, unmanned MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones that provide continuous video streams of

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The Walls Speak: Excavating the Chinese Immigration Experience at Angel Island

He disobeyed his bosses, who had dismissed the writings as graffiti, and told San Francisco State College professor George Araki about his find. Songs of Gold Mountain: Cantonese Rhymes from San Francisco Chinatown, Marlon K. The other poems in the book deal with everyday life in San Francisco’s Chinatown: workingmen alone in a hostile country,

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Why Literature Professors Turned Against Authors — Or Did They?

But authorship and authorial intention have proven not so easy to dispose of. In the dense collage of The Waste Land, he broke the authorial “I” into multiple voices floating unsteadily among borrowed words. Wimsatt and Beardsley were right to say that an author’s personal associations with her subject matter are irrelevant to the public

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Letter to the Editor: Matthew Clemente’s Response to Kevin Hart’s “A Return to God After God”

¤ Matthew Clemente is a teaching fellow at Boston College specializing in philosophy of religion and contemporary continental thought. Manoussakis dedicates a sizable portion of his essay to “Destructive Poetics, Painful Pleasure, and the Erotics of Thanatos.” Freud, Nietzsche, Lacan, Sartre, and Deleuze factor heavily in this anatheistic reading of the death drive and its

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In Fine Feather

The bird’s blue-gray body is the color of Ithaca’s moody spring sky. The Lab’s director, John W. It disturbs my categories. No one, so far as I know, has claimed that Kim’s wall is the artistic equal of Michelangelo’s ceiling, but the similarities of circumstance — Michelangelo lying on his back to paint the ceiling;

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A War Far from Over

Still, the most compelling portions of this book are those describing the passage of five separate bills as part of the Compromise of 1850, ultimately resulting in the fugitive slave bill becoming law. Even so, the author never abandons his lens, giving long-overdue credit to black soldiers in turning what began as a war for

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Becoming Alien: The Pioneering Vision of “Star Trek”

The first of six chapters includes thought experiments on how life might function in extremes of temperature, moisture, and radiation, and explores non-carbon options for building life. Noor might have had a similar experience. He hopes to disabuse at least a few people, but of course Noor is preaching to the choir: intelligent design proponents

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“All This Life Made This Play”: An Interview with Keith Hamilton Cobb

When I came along, we were handed plays by Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Eugene O’Neill. He has always been depicted as an effeminate fop to somehow justify why he was such a failure. Oberon is less interesting. Over the next 100 minutes, the actor reflects on his life in theater, anatomizes the director’s shallow

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LARB Radio Hour: John McPhee’s Magisterial Patchwork

LARB Radio Hour: John McPhee’s Magisterial Patchwork By LARB AV –  January 11, 2019 Legendary essayist John McPhee joins co-hosts Eric Newman and Medaya Ocher to discuss his latest collection The Patch. In place of speed, McPhee extolls the virtue of slowness, the time it takes for a writer to develop his voice, to collect material

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“Two Catalonias”’s Pact of Forgetting

From the outset, Two Catalonias establishes the political scene with wide panning shots over nationalistic demonstrations. Despite the documentary’s efforts at clarification, it is conspicuously silent on one key event of modern Spanish history. However, revisionist histories still circulate and stymie our comprehension of the historical present. Anthropologists estimate that hundreds of such mass graves exist

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The Vanishing Indians of “These Truths”

¤ Christine DeLucia is a historian at Mount Holyoke College and will soon be joining the faculty at Williams College. It evinces the blinkered conclusions that can arise from a position of security, status, and privilege. But classrooms can also be settings where troubling mythologies and outright untruths — about progress, belonging, rights, nationalism, and

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The Convenient Villain

She gives racism an array of spicy euphemisms like “provocative,” “inflammatory,” “controversial,” and “inappropriate,” sometimes preferring its academic, elegant cousin, “racial,” when Trump’s remarks veer too far even from the type of prejudice white people can tolerate from drunk relatives during the holidays. JANUARY 10, 2019 NEARLY A MONTH after her firing from the White

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Identity Across the Diaspora: A Conversation with Wayétu Moore

And that goes back to the theme of pan-Africanism we discussed before. During my public school career in Texas and afterward, I got pretty used to the erasure of African histories and the prevalence of ahistorical perspectives. When we lived in Memphis, for instance, the man my grandmother married and the man one of my

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We’re All Dürt Würkers: Grady Hendrix’s Heavy Metal Horror

But calling Hendrix a gimmick writer does a huge disservice to one of contemporary fiction’s most sensitive observers of the horrors that arise around — and sometimes because of — our efforts to grow closer with other humans. Hendrix’s exploration of capitalism as horror in We Sold Our Souls restores to sight all that we

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