A Place at the Table: An Exchange

Judy Chicago, reply by Esther Allen

Judy Chicago: a detail of The Dinner Party (1974–1979)

Judy Chicago: To clarify, except for Clarice Lispector, all of the women Allen mentions are included on the “Heritage Floor” of The Dinner Party and the accompanying “Heritage Panels,” which visually detail those women’s various contributions. Moreover, a photograph of Sor Juana figures prominently on one of the panels.
Esther Allen: Readers may now take note that the names of La Malinche, Santa Theresa de Avila, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Gabriela Mistral, and Frida Kahlo are there, down underfoot.

World Cup 2018: English Romance

Christopher de Bellaigue

England player Harry Maguire talking to his fiancée Fern Hawkins after the game against Colombia at Spartak Stadium, Moscow, Russia, July 3, 2018

Nine months before the UK leaves Europe, the terms of our disengagement have gone from unclear to opaque, and the government is vulnerable to internal revolt. But the good news eclipses the bad, doesn’t it? And all that—and Boris Johnson, and the Brexit question of what is to happen to the Irish border, and the future of our blight-ravaged high streets—is marginalia. As a nation, England has to concentrate on the task at hand and ignore peripheral distractions. Come on, football, you know you want it.

The Food of My Youth

Melissa Chadburn

“Hot Cheetos,” a common snack costing a dollar from drive-through convenience stores that accept food stamps, McAllen, Texas, 2013

I’d look longingly at my white friends’ granola, brown rice, and multigrain bread. Trips to the grocery store were always loaded with feelings of shame and desire. Fresh produce was the most extravagant, exotic thing on the shelves, even though it was my people that had picked it in the Central Valley. And so I stood beside my single mother in line at the supermarket, arguing with the cashier about the high cost of our groceries. And when the Man handed over our food stamps, we were called moochers, a drain on our country.

Returning the Gaze, with a Vengeance

Esther Allen

Marta María Pérez Bravo: from Para concebir (To conceive), 1985–1986

In the video pieces Transfiguración elemento tierra (1983), Jennifer Hackshaw and María Luisa González, of the artist collective Yeni & Nan, stare into the camera silently and without expression. Little by little, the viewer notices that they don’t ever blink, not once; to achieve this, both artists trained in meditation. “Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at,” John Berger wrote. The radical, unyielding intensity of Hackshaw and Gonzalez’s transfixed twin gaze does not conceive of being looked at. It sees.

The Tour de France and Cycling’s Uncertainty Principle

Michael Hutchinson

Overall leader in the Tour de France Chris Froome arriving at the anti-doping control bus, Alpe d’Huez, France, July 18, 2013

In cycling, the problem of understanding what you’re watching, of knowing if what you’re seeing is for real, is about more than simply the secrets you know you don’t know. Even if we knew whether riders were doping, which riders they were, and what they were doping with, we still wouldn’t be able to reach a consensus. Some fans simply accept that cycling has always had doping and cheating. They see it as part of the sport’s texture and its history. For others, the rules matter very much. They want riders to stick to the letter of the law. And for some, even that’s not enough: they want athletes to abide by a set of ethics—though these remain only vaguely defined, even as the clamor for their restrictive application increases.

World Cup 2018: A Russian Advance

Piotr Orlov

Aleksandr Erokhin of Russia celebrating after his team won a penalty shoot-out against Spain to advance in the FIFA World Cup, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia, July 1, 2018

The boys with whom I ran around the courtyard of our apartment building in central Leningrad were not vested in football. When hockey sticks appeared, they’d fight bitterly over which of the CSKA forward line they would impersonate, with Valeri Kharlamov the demigod most in-demand. The only Soviet football player who could compete for the imagination of little hooligans with such supreme beings from abroad as Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, and my eccentric personal favorite, Gerd Muller, was not actually Russian but Ukrainian: Oleh Blokhin, the superlative Dynamo Kiev striker.

Say Goodbye, It’s Independence Day

Jonathan Freedland

An Americana house marking Independence Day, Ojai, California, July 4, 2016

In the Obama era, discrimination and prejudice persisted, of course, not least in the criminal justice system. Still, Supreme Court rulings in favor of affirmative action and equal marriage suggested that my faith in the Constitution’s ability to protect minorities remained sound. Now, though, it is being shaken to its foundations. We’ve seen hideous US presidencies before, but what is happening under Trump goes further. What the Trump presidency has confirmed is something I overlooked in 1998: that the Constitution may boast endlessly ingenious powers, but they count for nothing if the men and women charged with deploying those powers refuse to do their duty. 

Merkel’s Problem on Her Right

Madeleine Schwartz

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and Chancellor Angela Merkel flanking Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the formation of Germany’s new coalition government, Berlin, March 14, 2018

Migration, always a specter in German politics, has been front and center in the news. Horst Seehofer, the new minister for the interior and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), announced an immigration plan that proposed Germany’s turning away refugees at the country’s southern border with Austria. Which migrants is Seehofer afraid of? The number of people trying to get to Europe has dropped drastically. For her part, Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed back against Seehofer’s plan.

The Supreme Court Looks Away

David Cole

President Donald Trump listening as Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy spoke in the Rose Garden of the White House, Washington, D.C., April 10, 2017

Chief Justice John Roberts proclaimed that “Korematsu has nothing to do with this case.” He went on to write that Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 decision that backed the internment of Japanese citizens and immigrants based on their race, “was gravely wrong the day it was decided, has been overruled in the court of history and—to be clear—has no place in law under the Constitution.” Strong words. But actions speak louder. Even as he acknowledged the court’s error in Korematsu, Roberts repeated it, virtually verbatim, in Trump v. Hawaii.

Paris Through the Eyes of Willy Ronis

Carole Naggar

Willy Ronis: The Bastille Lovers, Paris, 1957

In Place Vendôme, a woman’s legs, blurred by movement, scissor across a puddle, with the obelisk reflected upside down in the water. In another image, a little boy in shorts with a radiant smile runs home, a baguette under his arm. In a photo from the late 1970s, people are lost in conversation on public phones in the then-new Châtelet-Les Halles metro station, their faces hidden by the curvy cabins—a wry comment, even more so today, on the isolation and anonymity of contemporary life. “I had the vague sensation that I was witnessing the savage meal of a group of carnivorous plants disguised as phones to better deceive human beings,” Ronis commented.