Category Editorial

Ai Weiwei as Antibuddha

“I have an ego.” -Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei in an October 2015 interview with ArtSlant on the occasion of the inauguration of his guest professorship at the Berlin University of the Arts They have a nickname for Ai Weiwei in China—“Ai Shen”—which suggests that he’s a god. And, while I know little about Chinese […]

Workers’ Power and Photogenicity

By Amien Essif Ever go to a pro-worker website and scroll through their articles only to find that every photo looks the same? It’s an eye-level shot of a group of picketteers, probably taken by the writer. Part of the blame for the monotony lies on the budget of the publication which is usually (read: […]

A Close-up of How Class Society Perpetuates Itself

Times had been tough lately. My income—a mix between freelance journalism and french tutoring—was barely cutting it. But when I landed a job as a bike delivery guy at Papa John’s Pizza I found out I could make $100 in one, long night rather than over the course of a week of rough drafts and […]

An Allegory About How Crime Is an Economic Problem

I hate artless metaphors that are supposed to illustrate economic problems, where widgets stand in for real products and free markets stand in for the way markets actually work. But I’m going to try one out on you, just because this is a blog, and bloggers are allowed to be artless while still being relevant. […]

Harper’s Ads Are Lame (And I Approve)

I usually keep a subscription to at least one magazine, and this year, Haper’s magazine is my main squeeze. Three issues in, I’m convinced that it’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a magazine (though I said that when I took The Believer, my former honey). Harper’s is sophisticated, it’s lefty, it has a column called […]

When You Say ‘Millennials’ Do You Mean Your Rich Friends?

If you haven’t read Jesse Meyerson’s article published on in early January, you should go read it. Or, if you’re a Millennial and don’t have the time to go read it, here’s a summary: The piece is titled “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For” and it’s pretty straightforward: Guaranteed work for everybody. […]

This Is Your Brain on Magazine Internships

From a journal entry during my Fall 2012 internship at In These Times in Chicago: The duties at the internship here at In These Times prescribe information processing beyond any speed I’ve attempted. But I’m adapting. I’m becoming a processor. Actually it feels more like my brain is becoming a processor while the lower half […]

Is Starbucks the New Johnny Appleseed?

If you believe, the company’s CEO Howard Schultz is a true American hero. “In 1983, Howard traveled to Italy and became captivated with Italian coffee bars and the romance of the coffee experience. He had a vision to bring the Italian coffeehouse tradition back to the United States. A place for conversation and a […]

At His Lyrical Best

A Look at Two of Chopin’s Preludes, Which After Having Heard Them, Are The Most Valuable Things I Own I visited Chopin’s Paris grave to thank him for his Prelude No. 13 in F-sharp. It’s the only religious thing I’ve done this year. I first heard the song on a $1 record I bought at […]

Drunk and Considering My Bookshelf

What is a bookshelf? What is it really? Just a place for books, like a face is a place for features? Why can it make a room? How does it calm me down when I leave the world behind at midnight? The names. Donald Barthelme. Georges Perec. Stanislaw Lem. Roland Barthes. Martin Amis. Don Delillo. […]