Month: December 2019

Breathing Room: Dingell v Trump

Breathing Room: Dingell v. Trump Bonnie Honig   Watching Trump in Michigan this week talking about Debbie and John Dingell, I was struck by how he spoke the words as well as by what he said. Commentators noted the offenses against Dingell, the universally liked, longest serving Congressman from Michigan, who is recently deceased and unable therefore to respond to the suggestion he may be in Hell not Heaven right now. But the real target of Trump’s ire was not the man but his widow, Debbie Dingell, who at that moment was in Washington D.C. voting for his impeachment....

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Telling “the widest story”: A Review of “Inventing Tomorrow”

Telling “the widest story”: A Review of Inventing Tomorrow Diana Rose Newby British modernism, as with other movements of its kind, defined itself as much by what it wasn’t as by what it was. Take Virginia Woolf’s seminal essay-cum-manifesto “Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown” (1924), which heralded a new class of writing attentive to the real “depths” of character over and against the flatness of Edwardian fiction, with its casts of “soulless bodies … cumbering our tables and clogging our minds.” Among the writers she charged with the crime of vitiating literature’s “character-making power” was H. G. Wells. For...

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Killing Times: Theory and the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Killing Times: Theory and the Abolition of the Death Penalty Fonda Shen   In the introduction of Killing Times: The Temporal Technology of the Death Penalty (Fordham University Press, 2019), David Wills, currently Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Brown University, declares his book to be abolitionist, meant to lead the reader to pronounce time of death on the death penalty. There is certainly no dearth of such treatises. They attack the practice from every possible direction, pointing out injustices of all sorts: racist policing; elected judges overriding jury recommendations of life; tortuous method of lethal injection. If...

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Woodstock, Altamont, and the Sixties

Woodstock, Altamont, and the Sixties David R. Shumway   Last August, we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Woodstock festival, and analyses of the event’s significance were seemingly everywhere. Most took the event seriously, and my impression is that most commentators saw the event in positive terms. What was notably missing from these discussions, however, was the second part of the narrative that emerged in 1969, the one that ends at the December 6th Altamont festival, where one of the attendees, Meredith Hunter, was stabbed to death by Hell’s Angels who were engaged to provide security for the performers....

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