Jesse Barron

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Weekly Review — November 18, 2014, 10:43 am

Weekly Review

World leaders plan to boost GDP, the E.S.A. lands on a comet, and an artist looks for a needle in a haystack

Weekly Review — September 30, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Student protests in Hong Kong, two sex-scandal resignations, and the CIA’s lust for lemon pound cake.

Weekly Review — August 12, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Police in Missouri kill an unarmed teenager, the U.S. government expands its terrorist database, and Justin Bieber saves a Russian fisherman

Six Questions — July 1, 2014, 2:02 pm

Christopher Beha on Arts and Entertainments

Christopher Beha discusses sex tapes as literary vehicle, the celebrity impulse, and the problematic absence of religion in American literature

Weekly Review — July 1, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The U.S. Supreme Court weakens the ACA’s contraception mandate; ISIL attempts to legitimize its territorial gains in the Middle East; and Facebook gives you feelings 

Weekly Review — May 13, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The Obama Administration tries to publicize climate change, secessionists stage a referendum in eastern Ukraine, and teenage boys hold a prom-date draft in California 

Weekly Review — March 4, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Crisis in Crimea, corruption in Turkey, and the inadequate diversity of Google Doodles

Letter from Las Vegas — From the February 2014 issue

Bad Romance

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One genre and a billion happy endings

Weekly Review — January 28, 2014, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Photographic evidence of war crimes in Syria, ominous Ukrainian texting, and a South Korean tower of jawbones

Controversy — January 23, 2014, 2:47 pm

NYC vs. HEA

Romance writers, Jennifer Weiner, and the future of publishing

Weekly Review — December 3, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Walmart celebrates Black Friday with protests and police reports, Amazon experiments with drone delivery, and Republicans salute the end of racism 

Weekly Review — October 15, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

“Little boys” negotiate the U.S. government shutdown and debt ceiling, Bashar al-Assad wants his Nobel Peace Prize, and the Vatican tells the world about Lesus

Weekly Review — September 10, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

The Syria debate continues, the NSA breaks encryption routines, and a Windischeschenbach tubist complains about sex

Weekly Review — July 23, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Detroit files for bankruptcy, prison breaks outside Baghdad, and snail-mucus makeup in France

Weekly Review — June 11, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Big Barack is watching, Turkish winter is coming, and Sunday Swett is winning

Weekly Review — April 30, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

A Bangladeshi building collapses, George W. Bush’s presidential library opens, and koala chlamydia ravages Australia

Weekly Review — March 12, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Chávez cancer conspiracy theories, drone droning, and coitus leo interruptus

Weekly Review — January 29, 2013, 8:00 am

Weekly Review

Inauguration week politics, Aramaic vowel preservation, and Canadian foreskin awareness

Conversation — December 12, 2012, 12:51 pm

A Conversation With Russell Banks

"[T]o be an artist . . . you really have to blast the launch pad to get liftoff, scorching everything and everyone around you, and you cause a lot of damage sometimes."

Readings — From the November 2012 issue

Guerrillas in the Mix

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Gimme Shelter

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Body Language

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Trash, Rock, Destroy

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Gimme Shelter·

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I.

That year, the year of the Ghost Ship fire, I lived in a shack. I’d found the place just as September’s Indian summer was giving way to a wet October. There was no plumbing or running water to wash my hands or brush my teeth before sleep. Electricity came from an extension cord that snaked through a yard of coyote mint and monkey flower and up into a hole I’d drilled in my floorboards. The structure was smaller than a cell at San Quentin—a tiny house or a huge coffin, depending on how you looked at it—four by eight and ten feet tall, so cramped it fit little but a mattress, my suit jackets and ties, a space heater, some novels, and the mason jar I peed in.

The exterior of my hermitage was washed the color of runny egg yolk. Two redwood French doors with plexiglass windows hung cockeyed from creaky hinges at the entrance, and a combination lock provided meager security against intruders. White beadboard capped the roof, its brim shading a front porch set on cinder blocks.

After living on the East Coast for eight years, I’d recently left New York City to take a job at an investigative reporting magazine in San Francisco. If it seems odd that I was a fully employed editor who lived in a thirty-two-square-foot shack, that’s precisely the point: my situation was evidence of how distorted the Bay Area housing market had become, the brutality inflicted upon the poor now trickling up to everyone but the super-rich. The problem was nationwide, although, as Californians tend to do, they’d taken this trend to an extreme. Across the state, a quarter of all apartment dwellers spent half of their incomes on rent. Nearly half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population lived in California, even while the state had the highest concentration of billionaires in the nation. In the Bay Area, including West Oakland, where my shack was located, the crisis was most acute. Tent cities had sprung up along the sidewalks, swarming with capitalism’s refugees. Telegraph, Mission, Market, Grant: every bridge and overpass had become someone’s roof.

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Body Language·

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I am eight years old, sitting in my childhood kitchen, ready to watch one of the home videos my father has made. The videotape still exists somewhere, so somewhere she still is, that girl on the screen: hair that tangles, freckles across her nose that in time will spread across one side of her forehead. A body that can throw a baseball the way her father has shown her. A body in which bones and hormones lie in wait, ready to bloom into the wide hips her mother has given her. A body that has scars: the scars over her lungs and heart from the scalpel that saved her when she was a baby, the invisible scars left by a man who touched her when she was young. A body is a record or a body is freedom or a body is a battleground. Already, at eight, she knows it to be all three.

But somebody has slipped. The school is putting on the musical South Pacific, and there are not enough roles for the girls, and she is as tall as or taller than the boys, and so they have done what is unthinkable in this striving 1980s town, in this place where the men do the driving and the women make their mouths into perfect Os to apply lipstick in the rearview. For the musical, they have made her a boy.

No, she thinks. They have allowed her to be a boy.

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Trash, Rock, Destroy·

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The writer and filmmaker Virginie Despentes lives in a nondescript modern building in the Belleville neighborhood of Paris. I know it well: it has a Bricorama—like a French Home Depot—on the ground floor, where we sometimes had cause to shop back when we lived in the neighborhood. The people who work there seemed to hate their jobs more than most; they were often absent from the sales floor. In the elevator to Despentes’s apartment, I marvel that while I was trying to get someone to help me find bathroom grout she was right upstairs, with her partner, Tania, a Spanish tattoo artist who goes by the name La Rata, like someone out of one of Despentes’s novels.

In an email before our meeting, Despentes asked that we not do a photo shoot. “There are so many images available already,” she explained. Much had been written about her, too. A Google search yielded page after page: profiles, interviews, reviews, bits and bobs—she read from Pasolini at a concert with Béatrice Dalle; someone accused her of plagiarizing a translation; a teacher in Switzerland was fired for teaching her work. The week I met her, she appeared in the culture magazine Les Inrockuptibles in conversation with the rapper-turned-actor JoeyStarr. The woman is simply always in the news.

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Burning Down the House·

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Discussed in this essay:

Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright, by Paul Hendrickson. Knopf. 624 pages. $35.

Frank Lloyd Wright isn’t just the greatest of all American architects. He has so eclipsed the competition that he can sometimes seem the only one. Who are his potential rivals? Henry Hobson Richardson, that Gilded Age starchitect in monumental stone? Louis Sullivan, lyric poet of the office building and Wright’s own Chicago mentor, best known for his dictum that form follows function? “Yes,” Wright corrected him with typical one-upmanship, “but more important now, form and function are one.” For architects with the misfortune to follow him, Wright is seen as having created the standards by which they are judged. If we know the name Frank Gehry, it’s probably because he designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, in 1997. And Gehry’s deconstructed ship of titanium and glass would be unimaginable if Wright hadn’t built his own astonishing Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue some forty years earlier.

Article
The Red Dot·

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That night at the window, looking out at the street full of snow, big flakes falling through the streetlight, I listened to what Anna was saying. She was speaking of a man named Karl. We both knew him as a casual acquaintance—thin and lanky like Ichabod Crane, with long hair—operating a restaurant down in the village whimsically called the Gist Mill, with wood paneling, a large painting of an old gristmill on a river on one wall, tin ceilings, and a row of teller cages from its previous life as a bank. Karl used to run along the river, starting at his apartment in town and turning back about two miles down the path. He had been going through the divorce—this was a couple of years ago, of course, Anna said—and was trying to run through his pain.

Cost of renting a giant panda from the Chinese government, per day:

$1,500

A recent earthquake in Chile was found to have shifted the city of Concepción ten feet to the west, shortened Earth’s days by 1.26 microseconds, and shifted the planet’s axis by nearly three inches.

Sebastian Gorka, the former deputy assistant to the president who now hosts a radio show called America First, was banned from YouTube for repeatedly uploading audio from the rock band Imagine Dragons without copyright permission.

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Jesus Plus Nothing

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By

At Ivanwald, men learn to be leaders by loving their leaders. “They’re so busy loving us,” a brother once explained to me, “but who’s loving them?” We were. The brothers each paid $400 per month for room and board, but we were also the caretakers of The Cedars, cleaning its gutters, mowing its lawns, whacking weeds and blowing leaves and sanding. And we were called to serve on Tuesday mornings, when The Cedars hosted a regular prayer breakfast typically presided over by Ed Meese, the former attorney general. Each week the breakfast brought together a rotating group of ambassadors, businessmen, and American politicians. Three of Ivanwald’s brothers also attended, wearing crisp shirts starched just for the occasion; one would sit at the table while the other two poured coffee. 

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