Postcard — January 16, 2019, 10:00 am

Close to Home

Liberia’s unmarked graves

Weekly Review — January 15, 2019, 1:47 pm

Weekly Review

Trump brought candy to meeting with Schumer and Pelosi; the governor of Ohio was sworn in on nine Bibles; a woman was banned from Walmart after drinking wine from a Pringles can while riding an electric shopping cart

Art, Monday Gallery — January 14, 2019, 1:46 pm

“Rangers John and Steven Ukuqtunnuaq and Simon Tucktoo, King William Island,” a photograph from the series Arctic Front by Philip Cheung, whose work is on view this week at Circuit Gallery, in Toronto. 

In this series, Cheung documents the Canadian Rangers, a part-time military unit comprised largely of Indigenous volunteers. At a time when Canada’s far north is rapidly warming because of climate change, there is increased  international interest in control of the  Northwest  Passage’s ice-free  shipping routes and the abundant natural resources in the region.

© Philip Cheung. Courtesy Circuit Gallery, Toronto

Podcast — January 10, 2019, 3:11 pm

Machine Politics

Rather than creating a more equal society, the internet has given rise to a new age of authoritarianism

Editor's Note — January 10, 2019, 1:44 pm

Inside the February Issue

Kishore Mahbubani on the nonexistent China threat; Matthew Wolfe follows a search for a missing migrant; Ann Neumann asks if homicides among the elderly are acts of mercy or malice

Weekly Review — January 8, 2019, 1:49 pm

Weekly Review

Jair Bolsonaro eliminated Brazil’s Labor Ministry; a coup failed in Gabon; “yellow vest” protesters walled up a member of Parliament’s garage

Art, Monday Gallery — January 7, 2019, 10:11 am

“If only (composition for now with detritus) 5,” a photographic C-print from an eight- by ten-inch negative by Amy Finkelstein, whose work is on view this week at Elizabeth Houston Gallery, in New York City.

Courtesy the artist and Elizabeth Houston Gallery, New York City

Postcard — January 2, 2019, 10:42 am

Brazil on the Eve of Authoritarian Rule

It’s all true: life in Belo Horizonte before the election of Jair Bolsonaro

Weekly Review — January 1, 2019, 1:20 pm

Weekly Review

Debate over Trump’s wall that maybe isn’t a wall continued; Ukraine ended martial law; fireworks banned on the Galapagos Islands because they cause animals to tremble

Art, Monday Gallery — December 31, 2018, 1:17 pm

Syrinx, a painting by Jesse Mockrin, whose work is on view this week at Night Gallery, in Los Angeles. Courtesy the artist and Night Gallery, Los Angeles

Syrinx, a painting by Jesse Mockrin, whose work is on view this week at Night Gallery, in Los Angeles. 
Courtesy the artist and Night Gallery, Los Angeles

Weekly Review — December 26, 2018, 2:17 pm

Weekly Review

“Mad Dog” Mattis resigned; Trump’s spiked slats forced a government shutdown; Canadian boy bit by coyote upset he hasn’t turned into a werewolf

Conversation — December 26, 2018, 9:12 am

Northern Aggression

Dana Frank, the author of The Long Honduran Night, discusses the parties who orchestrated the 2009 coup and the resistance that has risen to fight against them

Art, Monday Gallery — December 24, 2018, 10:40 pm

A scrapbook compiled by Virginia Becker, 1941–43, part of the exhibition Scrapbook Love Story: Memory and the Vernacular Photo Album, which is on view through January at The Walther Collection Project Space, in New York City.

Courtesy The Walther Collection, New York City

Satire — December 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The Revolution’s Elusive Messiah

A plea to the left to reconsider efforts focused on “the greater good”

Podcast — December 20, 2018, 5:32 pm

The Gatekeepers

Unknown knowns: the limits of racial discourse in a system almost exclusively controlled by white people

Publisher's Note — December 20, 2018, 5:05 pm

The Yellow Fault Line

The crisis in France is gnawing away at what’s left of the lower classes’ pride and possessions

Weekly Review — December 18, 2018, 9:00 am

Weekly Review

Michael Cohen sentenced to three years in prison; Mitch McConnell announced a Senate vote on long-delayed bill to decrease the prison population

Art, Monday Gallery — December 17, 2018, 1:44 pm

Untitled (After Bosch), a painting by Cecily Brown, whose work is on view this week in the exhibition Where, When, How Often and with Whom, at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, in Humlebæk, Denmark.

Credit: © Cecily Brown. Courtesy the artist

Editor's Note — December 13, 2018, 2:10 pm

Inside the January Issue

Fred Turner explains how the internet subverts democracy; Michel Houellebecq admires Donald Trump; Barry Lopez reports from Antartica

Podcast — December 13, 2018, 12:46 pm

John Cleese and Iain McGilchrist

Two-brain solution: two nights of insightful conversation with the esteemed comedian and the internationally renowned psychiatrist

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February 2019

Going to Extremes

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“Tell Me How This Ends”

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Without a Trace

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What China Threat?

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What China Threat?·

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Within about fifteen years, China’s economy will surpass America’s and become the largest in the world. As this moment approaches, meanwhile, a consensus has formed in Washington that China poses a significant threat to American interests and well-­being. General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), has said that “China probably poses the greatest threat to our nation by about 2025.” The summary of America’s 2018 National Defense Strategy claims that China and Russia are “revisionist powers” seeking to “shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.” Christopher Wray, the FBI director, has said, “One of the things we’re trying to do is view the China threat as not just a whole-­of-­government threat, but a whole-­of-­society threat . . . and I think it’s going to take a whole-­of-­society response by us.” So widespread is this notion that when Donald Trump launched his trade war against China, in January 2018, he received support even from moderate figures such as Democratic senator Chuck Schumer.

Shanghai Broadcasting Building, by Cui Jie (detail) © The artist. Courtesy private collection
Without a Trace·

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In December 2015, a twenty-­two-year-­old man named Masood Hotak left his home in Kabul, Afghanistan, and set out for Europe. For several weeks, he made his way through the mountains of Iran and the rolling plateaus of Turkey. When he reached the city of Izmir, on the Turkish coast, Masood sent a text message to his elder brother Javed, saying he was preparing to board a boat to Greece. Since the start of the journey, Javed, who was living in England, had been keeping tabs on his younger brother’s progress. As Masood got closer to the sea, Javed had felt increasingly anxious. Winter weather on the Aegean was unpredictable, and the ramshackle crafts used by the smugglers often sank. Javed had even suggested Masood take the longer, overland route, through Bulgaria, but his brother had dismissed the plan as excessively cautious.

Finally, on January 3, 2016, to Javed’s immense relief, Masood sent a series of celebratory Facebook messages announcing his arrival in Europe. “I reached Greece bro,” he wrote. “Safe. Even my shoes didn’t get wet.” Masood reported that his boat had come ashore on the island of Samos. In a few days, he planned to take a ferry to the Greek mainland, after which he would proceed across the European continent to Germany.

But then, silence. Masood stopped writing. At first, Javed was unworried. His brother, he assumed, was in the island’s detention facility, waiting to be sent to Athens with hundreds of other migrants. Days turned into weeks. Every time Javed tried Masood’s phone, the call went straight to voicemail. After a month passed with no word, it dawned on Javed that his brother was missing.

A screenshot of a December 2015 Facebook post by Masood Hotak (left), in Istanbul
Going to Extremes·

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When Philip Benight awoke on January 26, 2017, he saw a bright glow. “Son of a bitch, there is a light,” he thought. He hoped it meant he had died. His mind turned to his wife, Becky: “Where are you?” he thought. “We have to go to the light.” He hoped Becky had died, too. Then he lost consciousness. When he opened his eyes again, Philip realized he wasn’t seeing heaven but overhead fluorescents at Lancaster General Hospital. He was on a hospital bed, with his arms restrained and a tube down his throat, surrounded by staff telling him to relax. He passed out again. The next time he came to, his arms and legs were free, but a drugged heaviness made it hard to move. A nurse told him that his wife was at another hospital—“for her safety”—even though she was also at Lancaster General. Soon after, two police officers arrived. They wanted to know why Becky was in a coma.

Three days earlier, Philip, who was sixty, tall and lanky, with owlish glasses and mustache, had picked up his wife from an HCR ­ManorCare nursing home. Becky had been admitted to the facility recently at the age of seventy-­two after yet another series of strokes. They drove to Darrenkamp’s grocery store and Philip bought their dinner, a special turkey sandwich for Becky, with the meat shaved extra thin. They ate in the car. Then, like every other night, they got ice cream from Burger King and drove to their home in Conestoga, a sparse hamlet in southern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Philip parked in the driveway, and they sat in the car looking out at the fields that roll down to the Susquehanna River.

They listened to the radio until there was nothing more to do. Philip went into the house and retrieved a container of Kraft vanilla pudding, which he’d mixed with all the drugs he could find in the house—Valium, Klonopin, Percocet, and so on. He opened the passenger-­side door and knelt beside Becky. He held a spoon, and she guided it to her mouth. When Becky had eaten all the pudding, he got back into the driver’s seat and swallowed a handful of pills. Philip asked her how the pudding tasted. “Like freedom,” she said. As they lost consciousness, the winter chill seeped into their clothes and skin.

Illustration by Leigh Wells (detail)
“Tell Me How This Ends”·

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America in the Middle East: learning curves are for pussies.
—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, June 2, 2015

In January 2017, following Donald Trump’s inauguration, his national security staffers entered their White House offices for the first time. One told me that when he searched for the previous administration’s Middle East policy files, the cupboard was bare. “There wasn’t an overarching strategy document for anywhere in the Middle East,” the senior official, who insisted on anonymity, told me in a coffee shop near the White House. “Not even on the ISIS campaign, so there wasn’t a cross-governmental game plan.”

Syrian Arab Red Crescent vehicles in eastern Ghouta, March 24, 2018 (detail) © Anas Alkharboutli/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Chance on any given day that the only “vegetables” served in a U.S. public school are potatoes:

1 in 2

Horticultural scientists reported progress in testing strawberries to be grown in spaceships. “The idea is to supplement the human diet with something people can look forward to,” said one of the scientists. “Fresh berries can certainly do that.”

In Wichita Falls, Texas, a woman was banned from Walmart after drinking wine from a Pringles can while riding an electric shopping cart; she had been riding the cart for two and a half hours.

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Happiness Is a Worn Gun


Illustration by Stan Fellows

Illustration by Stan Fellows

“Nowadays, most states let just about anybody who wants a concealed-handgun permit have one; in seventeen states, you don’t even have to be a resident. Nobody knows exactly how many Americans carry guns, because not all states release their numbers, and even if they did, not all permit holders carry all the time. But it’s safe to assume that as many as 6 million Americans are walking around with firearms under their clothes.”

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