Editor's Message From The Editor
Men of La Mancha
For most of us who grew up in the 20th century, two things seemed certain never to happen in our lifetime: a black person getting elected president of the U.S., or the Cubs winning the World Series. At the outset of July, I am now absolutely convinced that at least one of these campaigns will succeed this coming fall. Sad to say, only one of the two quixotic efforts excites me at the moment.
I’m not sure what to make of the formerly inspiring presidential candidate known as Barack Obama. That he has been so eager to dash past the center towards the right on a variety of issues suggests that his presidency would be business as usual—the Democratic base taken for granted, military spending unchecked, corporations unregulated. Obama’s spineless stance on telecom immunity has rightly earned him the ire of the party’s netroots. There is no natural constituency to call him out for his utterly absurd criticisms of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling against capital punishment for child rapists. Yet Obama, a legislator in Illinois when that state’s death penalty process was exposed as hopelessly biased by race and class, has now endorsed the expansion of capital punishment to include non-murderers—a favorite weapon of the Jim Crow South.
By using the law-and-order card to score cheap political points, Obama has deployed the same tactics the Republicans have relied on since the 1960s. In doling out centrist mush, he’s following the playbook of the 2000 Al Gore and the 2004 John Kerry. His economic agenda is far closer to Wall Street than Main Street. Like Kerry, Obama is betting that popular distaste for Bush’s pathetic legacy will be enough to propel him into office. In truth, the Dems are doing McCain and the Republicans a favor. As less and less separates the two candidates in terms of issues, the election becomes a referendum on personalities. And the Republicans have been pretty skillful in turning harmless characters—from Mondale and Dukakis through Gore to Kerry—into menacing threats to the heartland. The candidate’s race, moreover, was not a factor in those smear efforts.
As for where his campaign goes from here, that’s up to Obama. Personally, I’m far more inspired by what’s happening on the North Side of Chicago…In any event, enjoy the summer!
Haruki Murakami’s First Person SingularBy Andrew Ervin
APRIL 2021 | Books
For all our reminiscing, Murakami seems to say, its the things we dont remember that might haunt us the most. After all, memory is itself another liminal space, one where we experience both now and then at the same time. Likewise, finishing First Person Singluar requires thinking back to everything weve just read about these characters lives, and to everything we didnt.
from The President ShopBy Vesna Maric
FEB 2021 | Fiction
Mona is sprawled across the park sofa. She can see the wisp of a cloud threaded into the blue of the sky. She can see the tree branches moving. The silver birch leaves shimmer like coins.
25. 20th Century; Havana, CubaBy Raphael Rubinstein
OCT 2022 | The Miraculous
She is the toast of Havana, a wealthy courtesan who consorts with presidents and generals, who owns numerous houses and nine splendid automobiles, which she drives herself (she is said to be first woman in Cuba to possess a drivers license).
Dread Scott with Charles M. Schultz
NOV 2021 | Art
There are those who believe a work of art doesnt exist until it is discussed. As a young artist in Chicago, one of Dread Scotts first audiences was the Supreme Court of the United States from whom a discussion on the merits of a work of art can stimulate a populace. The particular aspect of Scotts work that disturbed them: standing on the American flag. The sitting President made a statement; the conversations led to change. Dread Scott (b.1965) was just getting started. Since then his performance work has inspired and provoked a generation of artists for whom political and historical reckoning are central to their practice. On its most fundamental level much of Scotts work comes down to how a person engages an environment: What they do, or dont do.