The Death of the Pioneer Myth

Image edited by F. Kaskais A remarkable novel, Lost Children Archive, and a work of history, The End of the Myth, reckon with a walled border.  JORDAN KISNER The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America BY GREG GRANDIN METROPOLITAN Lost children archive opens as a family prepares for a transnational journey. The man is a sound artist; the woman’s a radio documentarian; the boy is 10; the girl, 5. The man has announced that he has to go to Arizona on a recording quest, and whether he intends to come home again is … Continue reading The Death of the Pioneer Myth

A Stoic’s Key to Living with Presence: Seneca on Balancing the Existential Calculus of Time Spent, Saved, and Wasted

Seneca “Lay hold of to-day’s task, and you will not need to depend so much upon to-morrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by. Nothing… is ours, except time.” BY MARIA POPOVA “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” Annie Dillard wrote in her abiding insistence on choosing presence over productivity. But how do we really spend our days? In our era, the average human lifetime will contain two years of boredom, six months of watching commercials, 67 days of heartbreak, and 14 minutes of pure joy. This devastating arithmetic of time wasted versus time meaningfully spent may … Continue reading A Stoic’s Key to Living with Presence: Seneca on Balancing the Existential Calculus of Time Spent, Saved, and Wasted

A CONVERSATION BETWEEN BLACK MEN OF DIFFERENT GENERATIONS ABOUT DATING WHITE WOMEN

No matter how much America may prefer to ignore its history, sometimes it’s naked and in bed next to you — and you simply can’t by Zaron Burnett III Most of the time it seems we prefer to ignore American history, but if you’re a black man, occasionally it will show-up in your bedroom and surprise you. Imagine being haunted by a poltergeist Wario: Boo! It’s-a me, American History! I’m-a here to ruin-a your sex tonight. It sounds ridiculous to imagine our country’s legacy as a mustachioed poltergeist with a comical Italian accent, but really that’s not much stranger than being suddenly … Continue reading A CONVERSATION BETWEEN BLACK MEN OF DIFFERENT GENERATIONS ABOUT DATING WHITE WOMEN

Walt Whitman’s Guide to a Thriving Democracy

Filip Peraić America had a mind shaped by its Founders, but the country needed the poet to discover its spirit. by MARK EDMUNDSON Walt whitman, who was born 200 years ago this year, is almost certainly the greatest American poet. In many ways, he is also the most enigmatic. Before 1855, the year that Whitman published Leaves of Grass, he had achieved no distinction whatsoever. He had no formal education—no Oxford, no Cambridge, no Harvard or Yale. His life up to his 35th year had been anything but a success. He’d been a teacher, but he was loose and a bit indolent, … Continue reading Walt Whitman’s Guide to a Thriving Democracy

ETIQUETTE IS A BULLSHIT CODE WRITTEN BY WEALTHY ARISTOCRATS, SO KEEP YOUR ELBOWS ON THE TABLE, FELLOW PEASANTS

by Andrew Fiouzi These days, your table manners matter less than how you navigate the inevitable dinner conversation about politics I am, herein, seeking justice for my five-year-old self, who underwent military-grade table etiquette boot camp under the supervision of my loving but sometimes despotic father, a man who insisted that family dinners were a prime opportunity to teach his kids about class. I was young, impressionable and all I wanted was to fork some previously frozen peas that I didn’t even really want, without being told that I’m offensively gripping my fork. And so for him, but for us as … Continue reading ETIQUETTE IS A BULLSHIT CODE WRITTEN BY WEALTHY ARISTOCRATS, SO KEEP YOUR ELBOWS ON THE TABLE, FELLOW PEASANTS

Australian philosophy

Illustration by Matt Murphy/Handsome Frank Despite its reputation as remote and anti-intellectual, Australia has exercised a surprisingly deep influence on philosophy by Peter Godfrey-Smith is professor of history and philosophy of science at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness(2016). He lives in Sydney. Edited by Nigel Warburton In 1988 I travelled from Sydney to San Diego, California, to start a PhD in philosophy. That trip looks like a short hop now, but back then it seemed a long way. I had just finished an undergraduate philosophy degree … Continue reading Australian philosophy

How the poor became blessed

Carvings thought to depict Terra Mater (Mother Earth) decorate the Ara Pacis Augustae, built in honour of the military successes and political reforms of the first Roman Emperor, Augustus. Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Greco-Roman gods had no interest in the poor nor was organised charity a religious duty. How was Christianity different? Pieter van der Horst is a scholar specialising in New Testament studies, Early Christian literature and the Jewish and Hellenistic context of Early Christianity. He is professor emeritus in the faculty of theology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and is the author of many books, including Studies in Ancient Judaism … Continue reading How the poor became blessed