Tag: Books & The Arts

The Haunted Imagination of Alfred Hitchcock

The twentieth century ushered in the age of the uncanny. The concept, of course, has always been with us, as we see from the earliest of the surviving great epics, Gilgamesh, haunted as it is by the ghostly and the ghastly, by the terror of death-in-life and life-in-death. Freud in his essay Das Unheimliche identifies the uncanny as “that class of the terrifying which leads back to something long known to us, once very familiar.

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Audre Lorde Broke the Silence

“Is it possible to be a black lesbian writer and live to tell about it?” asked budding writer and scholar Barbara Smith at the 1976 convention of the Modern Language Association. Among those in attendance was Audre Lorde, an established poet, whose first collection, The First Cities, was published in 1968. The question, largely rhetorical, was addressed to the entire assembly, but Lorde took it personally.

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Paleo Con

“They must be the most contented people in the world.” This is how the 1980 comedy The Gods Must Be Crazy introduces the San peoples of the Kalahari Desert, better known as the Bushmen. They eke out a simple living, the narrator explains, digging for roots and tubers, hunting with bows and arrows, and collecting dewdrops from leaves.

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Pankaj Mishra’s Reckoning With Liberalism’s Bloody Past

In July 2017, Donald Trump gave a speech in Warsaw that seemed, at the time, to herald a new age. In remarks dredged from the imagination of adviser Steve Bannon, the president drew a rhetorical line in the sand and enlisted his host—the Eurosceptic, right-wing populist Polish President Andrzej Duda—in an epochal fight. “I declare today for the world to hear,” Trump said, as if he were standing behind ramparts and not a podium, “that the West will never, ever be broken.

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The Unheroic Life of Stan Lee

A nerdy slacker is hanging around the mall, having been dumped by his girlfriend earlier that day. He is staring in the window of a lingerie store, when a sharply dressed older guy with gray hair and tinted glasses approaches and strikes up a conversation. As he casually mentions “an issue of Spider-Man I did,” the younger man’s eyes slowly widen.

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