- From the Editors: Consider the Snowflake
How ever-present complexity and fragility shapes our world, and our thinking, is a question worth asking. So too is the question of what is lost when so much of our time is spent tracing the interiors of intermingling snowflakes, with less time spent considering the consequences wrought by the blizzards in which they're carried.
- Democracy is Troublemaking: Lewis Lapham in conversation with The Straddler
Democracy is geared to ceaseless argument and change, the friction between labor and capital, men and women, matter and mind, the government and the governed. It's like a suspension bridge; it needs the balance of opposite stresses. That's why it's a volatile substance, just the way freedom is. Democracy is not a trust fund, and it's not a monument; it's the antithesis of empire.
- Perpetual Meadowlands: Among the Reedbeds of the Hackensack
The Meadowlands are a place of contradictions. Decades of dredging and dumping have altered the Jersey marshland's ecology, ridding it of forests and species of animal and plant; changing the courses of bodies of water. Today the Meadowlands are home to several active landfills as well as experiments in conserving those, like PJP, that have been closed. The Meadowlands are a sanctuary for migratory birds and a Superfund site.
A Photo Essay by James Wrona & Elizabeth Murphy
- Occupy by Analogy: in Conversation with Christopher Mackin
I am of the opinion that we can't address the problems we've got just with the standard fare of income-based measures and government transfers. Given the scale of problems that exist when thinking about economic inequality, the idea that we can bridge the gaps that exist through these traditional strategies, through government transfer payments, earned-income tax credits, or whatever you may come up with, is really not enough.
- Towards the New City: Fiat Finds a Use for the Poor by Dan Monaco
If the poor are to have any role at all in the affluent cities led by indispensible mandarins who, like Michael Bloomberg, embody capital's rectitude, sapience, and data-driven inevitability, it will surely be in but one of two areas: (1) as background set pieces in the never-ending celebration of the wisdom, munificence, and humanity of great wealth, and/or (2) as eager sales representatives on the floor of a showroom whose goods they cannot afford, but whose mere existence (that of the goods, that is) testifies to the superiority of the status quo.
- T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" on Stage
Photos from our staging of "The Waste Land," which combined the poem's inherent theatricality with its satirical social criticism in a re-imagining that combined elements of vaudeville, melodrama, and the minstrel show.
- Poetry by Olivia Ciacci, John McKernan, and Rich Murphy:
- On Giving a Dog a Bad Name: The Battle for History on Film by G.K. Peatling
Losses of the opportunities for liberty are important aspects of the story of the Second World War, and from certain perspectives these were the most important story. Racial attitudes prevalent at the time and influential upon governments contributed to these disasters. A new version of The Dam Busters introduces an opportunity to engage not only with these other perspectives, but with the difficult task of representing history on film.
- Down the Road with the Rest of America:
Some Bus People only hope that where they end up isn't worse than where they're coming from. Some have a direction, a hope that there is something—a job, a someone—at the end of the road. But they speak of such things with caution.
A Report From the Endless Highway by Todd Pate
- The Straddler Review: The Value of Access by Ted Barron
Greater access to film through technologies such as BluRay, DVD, and streaming media should create viewers who are more informed and inclined to seek out less conventional work. While these ideas comfort me as I sort through piles of advance screening copies of the latest independent and international films in pursuit of quality programming, deep down I know that the more options people are presented with, the more likely they are to settle for less.