What Protest Looks Like

Imani Perry

Ruddy Roye: Michael Pughes (I Am Man Series), Brooklyn, NY, 2016

In “When Living Is a Protest,” an exhibition of the photographs of Radcliffe “Ruddy” Roye, protest can simply be survival, resistance in the face of the most difficult circumstances. The contemporary scenes Roye chooses to photograph rarely resemble the conventions of civil rights-era photography the word “protest” might suggest. Roye instead demands that his witnesses acknowledge black beauty and power, despite the persistence of suffering.

Why Is Assange Helping Trump?

Jonathan Freedland

Why has WikiLeaks devoted itself exclusively to the release of documents that might damage Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump? Some speculate that Julian Assange hopes he would be treated leniently by a Trump administration. Others suspect the heart of the matter is the Russian connection: Assange, like Trump, seems strikingly comfortable with Putin. He also has a long-running grievance against Clinton.

In the Fine Print of Experience

Deborah Eisenberg

Utility footwear worn on a wartime evening out, London, 1940

All the books of the twentieth-century British novelist Henry Green are relatively short and unobtrusively but highly condensed. And anyone who has read several of them will almost certainly have observed not only how different they are from one another, and in how many ways, but also that one of their shared features is how stunningly different they are from anybody else’s.

The Death of British Business

Simon Head

The City of London, 1999

Since the early 1980s, leading global corporations have used British soil as a terrestrial aircraft carrier to assault the single European market. Trade figures for the past three decades show with brutal clarity how dependent the UK is on this status. Even with large inflows of foreign capital the UK’s trade performance has been the weakest of the G-7 economies. What will it look like without them?

Bob Dylan: The Music Travels, the Poetry Stays Home

Tim Parks

Bob Dylan with Tom Petty, Modena, Italy September 13, 1987

The most interesting thing about this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature is that it divides the world, geographically and linguistically, in a way no other Nobel has done. The award has laid bare a fact that international literary prizes usually ignore, or were perhaps designed to overcome: that a work of art is intimately bound up to the cultural setting in which it was created.

Syria with One Eye

Rasha Omran, a conversation with Charles Simic

Aleppo, Syria, October 5, 2016

Charles Simic interviews the Syrian poet Rasha Omran who, since the beginning of Syria’s civilian uprising in 2011, has been a fearless critic of the Bashar al-Assad regime and the failure of Arab intellectuals to denounce its crimes. She lives in exile in Egypt, where she has continually spoken out against the war and in support of democratic reform.

When Librarians Are Silenced

Francine Prose

Video footage of library staff member Steve Woolfolk being arrested

A librarian in Kansas City, Missouri, was recently arrested simply for standing up for a library patron’s free speech rights at a public event featuring a former US diplomat. Both the librarian and the patron face criminal charges. One hopes that the case—only the most recent of many attacks on our libraries’ defense of free speech and privacy—will be resolved without further cost, trouble and damage.

Dylan’s Time

Luc Sante

Bob Dylan outside his Byrdcliff home, Woodstock, New York, 1968

Bob Dylan has accomplished something that few novelists or poets or for that matter songwriters have managed to do in our era: he changed the time he inhabited. Through words, with music as the fluid of their transmission, he affected the perception, outlook, opinions, ambitions, and assumptions of hundreds of millions of people all over the world.

Trump at War

Elizabeth Drew

Donald Trump during the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, October 9, 2016

Hands down, the nearly two-week span between the first two presidential debates culminated in probably the most disturbing and extraordinary weekend in all of presidential campaign history. What set it all off was the release late Friday afternoon, via The Washington Post, of a tape, mainly audio, of the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States bragging about how he sexually assaulted women.

The Machine is Calling

Chris Ware

A spread from Soft City by Pushwagner; click on image to enlarge

Soft City, by the Norwegian graphic artist Hariton Pushwagner, is something of a miracle. Not only for existing in the first place, but for surviving at all. It languished in obscurity for decades and was very nearly lost before finally being issued in book form, following a messy legal dispute involving the artist and his former dealer. Most pointedly, however, it is a miracle of its native medium—the comic strip—for its startling and disquieting vision in a form that had never seen anything like it.