The Masculine Mystique of T

Katrina Karkazis

Bodybuilders in Hull, England, 2017

In the more than eight decades since the hormone’s isolation, testosterone’s appeal has expanded for reasons that go far beyond its supposed powers of rejuvenation. Bodies are sculpted, and psyches are, too. T’s diverse aspirational powers are such that taking it is, at some level, an imaginative act. The experience must be powerful, heady, thrilling, all-consuming. The idea of feeling more “masculine” may be more powerful, in fact, than the hormone itself.

New Stars in Coltrane’s ‘Interstellar Space’

Adam Shatz

John Coltrane playing in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1962

In spite, or perhaps because, of its demands, John Coltrane’s final album, Interstellar Space, has always enjoyed a following among saxophonists. It has also spawned a lively sub-genre of saxophone-and-drums duets, starting with Duo Exchange, which Coltrane’s last collaborator, Rashied Ali, recorded with the tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe in 1973. The latest contributions to this body of work are by two gifted and exploratory young tenor saxophonists, both born in 1982. Neither James Brandon Lewis’s Radiant Imprints, nor Travis Laplante’s A Dance That Empties, is an explicit homage to Interstellar Space, but both are striking tributes to the album’s legacy, and to the vitality of Coltrane’s late style.

World Cup 2018: Morocco’s Glimpse of the Possible

Aida Alami

Noureddine Amrabat throwing aside his protective headgear during Morocco’s match against Portugal at the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia, June 20, 2018

No matter how disillusioned you are with your country’s team or how frustrated with your country’s government, it still hurts to see a squad of players, dressed in the national colors, not succeed. But as that strong final game reminded me, it’s hard not to feel proud when they do. Between that opening loss to Iran and the second half against Spain, something changed. Maybe it happened sixteen minutes into the Portugal game, when our ebullient winger Nordin Amrabat, who had received a head injury in the game against Iran, tossed away his protective headgear and urged the team on. That won Moroccans’ hearts.

Forgotten Feminisms: Johnnie Tillmon’s Battle Against ‘The Man’

Judith Shulevitz

Johnnie Tillmon (left) marching under the NWRO banner in the Poor People’s Campaign, Washington, D.C., May–June 1968

Mainstream feminists never quite knew what to do with the welfare rights movement. Here was a group of mothers who, rather than wanting equal work and equal pay, demanded that the government support them while they stayed home and raised their kids. That didn’t sound like the kind of women’s liberation NOW’s supporters were fighting for. As for the mothers in the rank and file… well, they just didn’t look like feminists. For one thing, they were mostly “middle-aged” and “fat”—in the words of the movement’s most effective spokeswoman, Johnnie Tillmon—and many, like her, were black. The “ladies” may have looked like church bake-sale volunteers, but they were radical and acted it.

Whatever’s Happening to Interracial Love?

Panashe Chigumadzi

Juan Rodríguez Juárez: Spaniard and Indian Produce a Mestizo, circa 1715

By the time we were graduating from “liking” to the possibility of “loving,” it was no longer the Rowans, Joshuas, and Craigs, but the Tshepos, Thulasizwes, and Rapelos, who were the object of my affection. By then, we children of Nelson Mandela’s “born free” generation, kids who had moved from primary school to high school together and were witnessing many of our childhood friendships lose their color-blind innocence, understood the tacit rule that we didn’t date each other.

World Cup 2018: Fear Kills Flair for Egypt

Mona Eltahawy

Fans watching the World Cup match between Egypt and Russia on a screen in downtown Cairo, Egypt, June 19, 2018

In Egypt, we have been living under an almost unbroken series of military-backed dictatorships since 1952. This has ruined our political life, filled our prisons with some 60,000 political prisoners, and destroyed many forms of creative expression. Even our imagination is repressed—and you could tell from the timid way we played against Uruguay that we lack the flair and boldness necessary to succeed on soccer’s international stage. The World Cup is both the mirage we endlessly chase and the uncomfortable reflection of questions we refuse to confront.

A Quiet Novel Turned into a Forceful Performance

Lucy Scholes

Laura Linney as Lucy Barton in My Name is Lucy Barton, directed by Richard Eyre, Bridge Theatre, London, 2018

“Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me.” Re-reading Elizabeth Strout’s breathtakingly exquisite novel My Name is Lucy Barton in preparation for seeing the theatrical adaptation, I found myself knocked sideways by these lines. But where the play fell flat for me is that Laura Linney delivers a powerhouse of a performance. Alone on the stage for an hour and a half, there’s nowhere for her to hide, and she bracingly shoulders that weight from the moment she first strides forward into our company, confidently launching into her monologue. But she remains Laura Linney throughout, she never transforms into Lucy Barton. Lucy is all quietness and unease; Linney, meanwhile, commands the room. 

World Cup 2018: South Korea Wins at Democracy

S. Nathan Park

Fans watching the match between South Korea and Sweden on a large screen, Seoul, June 18, 2018

By 2016, the young people of the 2002 World Cup generation had reached early middle-age, forming the electoral core of Korean society. When President Park was exposed as a feeble-minded puppet, Korean civil society staged one of the greatest protests in the modern democratic history: the Candlelight Protests, which lasted from November 2016 to March 2017. In the cold of winter, more than a million people chanted and sang to demand a restoration of democracy. Like the Taegeuk Warriors team in 2002, against the odds they won.

World Cup 2018: How Belgium Became Cool

Laurent Dubois

Belgian player Christian Benteke at a press conference before the final selection for the World Cup squad, Tubize, Belgium, May 24, 2018

National team managers of earlier generations made sure to have a balance of Walloon and Flemish players on the squad. Fans of today’s more diverse team find workarounds to the basic French-Flemish linguistic problem by chanting in English or just humming the tune of Verdi’s “Triumphal March.” The Belgium it embodies is youthful and global; at its best, it is promising, cohesive, and joyous.

Will Turkey’s Voters Give Erdoğan the Imperial Presidency He Seeks?

Kaya Genç

Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan waving flags in Istanbul's Taksim Square, July 18, 2016

President Erdoğan has proved extremely effective in the past at turning out his base, especially with the army on the move against Kurdish militias in southeast Turkey and northern Syria. All the same, cracks in his “New Turkey” have re-emerged. Especially since 2016, dissent has been suppressed, the rule of law has deteriorated, and a human rights crisis has escalated; meanwhile, opposition to Erdoğan’s rule has gained cohesion.