What’s Wrong with Public Intellectuals?

Mark Grief reflects on the history of the Partisan Review, and offers a new understanding of public intellectual work that challenges more than entertains. Suppose we try a different, sideways description of the old public intellectual idea. “Public intellect” in the mid-20th century names an institutionally duplicitous culture. It drew up accounts of the sorts… Read more »

Animal Play

What if our animals create us? That is the question Justin Lawrence asked in his essay about the symbolic meanings we give to animals that then shape our sense of the world. Here David Graeber asks a different question about the behavior of animals. Why are we so often blind to the possibilities of animal… Read more »

The Image of Yourself You Always Wanted to See

The fantasy of an unlived life, a life we imagine for ourselves but never actually experienced, was something Sandie Friedman explored in her essay Warhol’s Last Starlet. But what of the double life we do create for ourselves, the digital personas that we craft with ever more precision?  Here, Rosa Inocencia Smith finds in Dostoevsky’s… Read more »

Comedy’s Split Personality

In illuminating the history of sad clowns, Andrew McConnell Stott wonders why suffering is so often the story of our comedians. “Is it a condition of comic genius to be perpetually wrestling with demons? From Canio, the iconic, stiletto-wielding clown of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s 1892 opera, Pagliacci, to modern greats like Richard Pryor, Andy Kaufman, and John… Read more »

Molly Lynch: Safety Dance

Lynch writes on the controlled freedoms at Canada’s largest electronic music festival @ The Walrus. Montana is a twenty-six-year-old pipefitter who lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Apart from a yellow parasol, electric-blue short-shorts, and flip-flops, she’s got nothing on. She and her boyfriend drove over thirteen hours to this 200-hectare farm in southeastern British Columbia’s… Read more »