“A Radical Demonstration of ‘America First’” | An Interview with Adam Tooze

The Drift

A year into a crisis of world-historic proportions, and what have we learned? After flubbing every aspect of the pandemic response, from masks to contact tracing, the U.S. has been rewarded with a return to what seems a lot like normal life. The market — following a series of erratic plot twists and what looked like it should have been another Great Depression — seems to have bounced back stronger...

“An Impossible Feedback Loop” | The Year in Mental Health

Andy Hyatt, Anne Larsen, Anonymous contributors, Beth Blum, Brianna Suslovic, Jess Bergman, Mike Rosmann, Rachel Connolly, Şerife Tekin, Tarpley Hitt

It’s no secret that the profound losses and disruptions to daily life of the past year have had a major emotional and psychological impact on nearly all of us. Many of the effects are obvious — loneliness, grief, disorientation, anxiety — and yet, aside from a profusion of dubious self-care tips and misused therapeutic language on social media, we have barely begun to reckon with their enormity and complexity, not...

Personal Hell | The Climate Anxiety Novel

Rithika Ramamurthy

In March of 2017, the American Psychological Association officially announced that feelings are valid: climate anxiety is real. In a sixty-nine page primer on therapeutic practice in the era of ecological decline, experts identify a range of negative emotional reactions including ecoanxiety (“a chronic fear of environmental doom”) and describe the psychosocial links between these states of mind and the state of the climate. The preface to the report explains...

A Jerusalem of the Mind | Academic Freedom After Edward Said

Andrew Marzoni

Joseph Massad started raising eyebrows on the Columbia campus around 2002. That spring, students circulated a petition calling for the political scientist’s dismissal; one, writing in The Columbia Daily Spectator, cited a lecture from Massad’s elective, “Palestinian and Israeli Politics and Society,” as evidence of a growing climate of anti-Semitism, likening the talk to a swastika tagged on the wall of a campus bathroom. At a pro-Palestine rally that April,...

Good Immigrant Novels | Jhumpa Lahiri and the Aesthetics of Respectability

Sanjena Sathian

When I was in tenth grade, my favorite English teacher pulled me aside ceremoniously to deliver some news. That year, Jhumpa Lahiri’s 1999 story collection The Interpreter of Maladies was replacing Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart on our “World Literature”-themed syllabus. (Never mind that most of those Pulitzer Prize-winning short stories take place in the U.S.) This was 2006, before the emergence of the bromide “representation matters,” but that was...

Eternity Now! | Jeff Bezos's 10,000-Year Plan

Josh Marcus

Over the course of a week at the end of 2020, the air tens of thousands of feet above the North Pole heated 100 degrees in what’s known as a sudden stratospheric warming event. This phenomenon, which scientists predict could become more common with climate change, wobbled the great atmospheric turntable of the jetstream, sending waves of Arctic air towards the U.S. Two months later, Winter Storm Uri arrived, blanketing...

The Underlying Issue | Fiction

Pete Segall

Slaughter Rule My son said he wanted to play baseball. I didn’t know if he really wanted to do it or was just being charitable: I had a lot of free time that summer. His teammates were changelings, gnomes, humanoids. The whole outfield were creatures out of Herodotus. A boy with a German Shepherd’s head; a boy with a face in the middle of his chest; a boy with his...

The Late Year | Fiction

Lily Meyer

Hester learned to be frank from her father. At home, he rarely spoke. Every day after school, though, Hester did her homework in his office at the Fairfield Park-n-Shop, where, if she sat beside the heating duct in the spare consultation room, she could hear his conversations with the nurses as clearly as if she were sitting between them. With them, he was voluble. Hester learned about illegal abortions, fallen...

Objects of Desire | Fiction

Clare Sestanovich

  The two of them live in a small apartment, small enough that it is impossible to ever be truly out of sight. In the room that is both the living room and the bedroom, there is a lofted bed. They have learned, faster than they anticipated, to navigate the ladder in half-sleep, when one of them needs to pee or retrieve a glass of water or confiscate the cat’s...

The ISIS Beat | Why Caliphate and Everyone Else Got It Wrong

Rozina Ali

In March 2019, I arrived in eastern Syria to witness the demise of the Islamic State. The movement had been largely defeated, having surrendered major cities like Raqqa and Mosul. All that was left of the Caliphate, which had gripped our collective fears for the past six years, were a few square miles of desert along the Iraqi–Syrian border. The towns here appeared to be deserted. Car doors were left...

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