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The Spider’s Gambit

On January 29, 2019, African-American actor and singer Jussie Smollett called Chicago Police to report that he had been assaulted and subjected to racist and homophobic abuse by two masked men. According to Smollett, the two assailants put a rope around his neck, doused him with a chemical substance, and told him that Chicago, including the wealthy Streeterville neighborhood where the alleged attack occurred, was “MAGA country.”

While subsequent developments of the case might tempt us to dismiss it as an overheated farce, the responses to those developments have much to tell us about our competing national mythologies. For the sake of this analysis, we can divide those mythologies into two categories: the dominant, foundational mythology of the normatively patriarchal, white supremacist nation-state; and the numerous mythological traditions of the oppressed and marginalized, of which we shall examine one: the West African trickster, Anansi.

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Nature Holds No Sway

Princesses don’t even have to go to the bathroom. They just sit on their wonderful chairs all day.

— 5 yr old J.P.

In the Deeps

I went on a voyage of self-discovery and identified a previously unknown species of stupidity.

Job Seekers Rejoice

Republicans’ handling of the Kavanaugh confirmation is likely to have longstanding effects on the courts and the balance of political power in our country. But its greatest influence may be to start a radical democratization of employment practices across the country.

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Golf, Explained

President Trump loves to play golf. He’s spent more time on the course than any other president at this point in his first term. The question is why. Understanding a man’s loves tells you something he’d probably rather you didn’t know.

Golf could be beautiful. A walk through swathes of green, extending for miles, like a recreation of the fields and meadows sung about by poets when poets still knew how to play the lute. The game itself adds a point of concentration within the ungovernable elements, an intermittent narrowing of awareness to how to align all the force one can muster toward a quick impact. There’s a joy in perfecting such a skill, no matter how inconsequential.

But look at how golf is actually played by Trump. [Read more…]