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Nation Topics - Cultural Criticism and Analysis | The Nation

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Nation Topics - Cultural Criticism and Analysis

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Photographs are supposed to be unbiased recognitions of
reality, but they're really self-portraits of the photographer. The
Ongoing Movement
, a blend of biography and analysis, examines what
happens when photographers create deliberately untruthful pictures.

Four editors of October magazine trace the history of
contemporary art. Though Art Since
1900
seeks to be comprehensive, its writers leave out entire movements and impose moralistic
judgments on the artists and art they profile.

Pop culture does more than validate the claim that torture could help foil bombs seconds before detonation. In shows like 24, where scenes of sensory deprivation are mixed with family melodrama, torture is so routine that it seems one more plot device to create intimacy in characters. The reality is that torture isolates its victims from any sense of intimacy.

Defenders of torture dwell not only in the White House and Pentagon,
but in the halls of academia. When prominent law professors and
academics cite the fantastic "ticking-bomb theory," they not only
spread misinformation and foster a perpetual state of fear, but they
use their credentials to legitimize a culture of torture.

Perry Anderson's Spectrum journeys through the abstract worlds
of conservative and liberal intellectual thought, and leaves in its
trail insights on the substance and style of ideas.

American readers have long felt guilty about loving Lolita.
As Vladimir Nabokov's nymphet heroine turns 50, Lila Azam Zanganeh
traces the impact of a novel that has become both an icon and a
cultural cliche.

Amartya Sen's latest collection of essays explores the rich flow of
various peoples in and out of India and how they shaped the politics
and spirituality of the nation today.

The scandals suffocating the Bush Administration seem less like Nixon
and Watergate and more like Louis XV and pre-Revolutionary France. They
are harbingers of a potent cultural event that may jolt the public out
of complacency.

Jill Lepore's New York Burning paints a realistic portrait of a
purported slave rebellion in 1741 and the hysteria that followed, a
harrowing lesson of how abusers of power become haunted by the
nightmare of retribution.

Rebecca Solnit's A Field Guide to Getting Lost plumbs the
mysteries of losing oneself and finding oneself in the realm of the
utter unknown.

Blogs

The quivering throngs of teen-aged girls, The Nation’s reviewer wrote, said much more about the susceptibility of Americans to fashionable trends than it did about the talent or novelty of the group itself.

March 8, 2014

New novels, poetry and short-story collections from up-and-coming and established writers of color.

September 24, 2013

The author's absorbing debut novel chronicles a young woman’s year in Paris, where she will have to choose the home wants most. 

September 13, 2013

The conversation about diversity in Science Fiction & Fantasy reveals how racism constrains even imagination. 

September 10, 2013

Literary conversations are not representative of the diversity of modern letters. We can and I will do better. 

September 9, 2013

If you’re under the false impression that the world is falling into utter moral disrepair, turn your eyes toward Pompeii.

July 26, 2012

On the late Daniel Bell, the very archetype of a committed liberal intellectual, and The New Republic's Marty Peretz, plus reader mail.

January 27, 2011