A Generation of Intellectuals Shaped by 2008 Crash Rescues Marx From History’s Dustbin
For those too young to remember the Cold War but old enough to be trapped by the Great Recession, Marxism holds new appeal
Eight years ago Jay McInerney, poster boy for a certain kind of glossy 1980s literary chic, anointed Benjamin Kunkel as the voice of a new generation. Writing on the front page of the New York Times Book Review, he hailed Kunkel’s first novel, Indecision, for making “the whole flailing, postadolescent, prelife crisis feel fresh and funny again.” He wasn’t alone; many critics were impressed by Kunkel’s evocation of a privileged young man’s passivity and ennui. They were less sure of what to make of his narrator’s culminating conversion to radical politics in South America. “Explaining socialism to the postironic, ambivalent, hopeful, generous twentysomethings of 2005, I suppose, is what sequels are for,” Michael Agger wrote in Slate.
Next March, Kunkel will release his second book, Utopia or Bust. Though not a sequel to Indecision, it will in fact seek to explain, or at least explore, what socialism means now through a series of essays on contemporary leftist thinkers like Fredric Jameson and David Harvey. After the success of Indecision—a spot on the best-seller list, translations into a dozen languages, a Hollywood option—Kunkel didn’t milk his newfound literary stardom in the manner of, say, Jay McInerney. Instead, after falling into a deep depression, he followed the example of his own narrator, moving to Buenos Aires and immersing himself in anticapitalist political theory. In a draft of the introduction to his new book, he writes, “To the disappointment of friends who would prefer to read my fiction—as well as of my literary agent, who would prefer to sell it—I seem to have become a Marxist public intellectual.”
In a strange way, though, Kunkel hasn’t entirely escaped the zeitgeist business. His new book is emerging at a moment of newly fervent interest in Marx among young writers, activists, and scholars, who have begun, the wake of the financial crisis, to identify capitalism as a problem rather than an inevitability.
It’s too simple to say that Marxism is back, because it never truly went away. In the United States after the fall of the Berlin Wall, though, it was largely confined to university English departments, becoming the stuff of abstruse, inward-looking and jargon-choked cultural critique. Then came the economic crash, Occupy Wall Street, and the ongoing disaster of austerity in Europe. “Around the time of Occupy in particular, a lot of different kinds of lefties, working at mainstream or literary publications, sort of found each other, started talking to each other, and found out who was most interested in class politics,” says Sarah Leonard, the 25-year-old associate editor of Dissent, the social-democratic journal founded almost 60 years ago by Irving Howe. “We have essentially found an old politics that makes sense now.”
Read it all at the Tablet.
7,000+ bags of ornamental gold and silver, obviously looted from private homes by the Nazis, were discovered after Gen. Patton ordered the vault door blown open. All the articles had been flattened by hammers and were intended to be melted down into gold or silver bars. Spring 1945
“I call on the Justice Department of the United States of America to arrest Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Speaker of the House John Boehner, and other decision-making House Republican leaders for the crime of seditious conspiracy against the United States of America.
The House GOP leadership’s use of the Hastert Rule and H. Res 368 to shut down the government and threaten the U.S. economy with default is an attempt to extort the United States government into altering or abolishing the Affordable Care Act, and thus, is self-evidently a seditious conspiracy. Arrest the perpetrators in Congress immediately and bring them to justice.” —Petition at MoveOn.org
THINKING OF SITTING THINGS OUT IN 2014? Consider That Mainstream Democrats Now Openly Call for Arrests of Political Opponents
Ayman al-Zawahiri Urges Syria Jihadis to Create Caliphate
Sheikh Ayman al-Zawahiri, who became the top leader of following the killing of Osama bin Laden, released a new audio-taped message to several Islamist websites and gave his opinion on a number events occurring in the Middle East, especially in and Egypt. Zawahiri is heard counseling the Islamist fighters in Syria to unite in a common struggle against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regime. He also warned them to end their collaboration with non-Islamist forces that oppose setting up a once Assad is defeated and ousted from office, said the report.
“In our assessment, he was referring to the dispute between the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda in Iraq) and the Al-Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra, the branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria directly subordinate to Ayman al-Zawahiri). Thereby he urged the two rival organizations to end their dispute and unite.”
Much more HERE.
“Progressive” used to mean socially enlightened and forward looking. Now it’s just another word for a creepy liberal racist.
Daniel Greenfield on Video: You Know Sultan Knish, Right? War in Syria a Fantastic Terrorist Theme Park
Go and read more and do view the video at Maggie’s Notebook.
Hitler, Stalin, Mao and DHS Nominee Jeh Johnson
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie—deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth—persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.”
JOHN F. KENNEDY
If the Biblical saying (Hosea 4:6) “My people perish from lack of knowledge.” is indeed true, Americans should be placed at the top of the endangered species list.
Read all of this now HERE.
Socially conscious witches.