2021 Year in Review

A Year on a Hinge of History

If we want to save the republic, we will have to do it ourselves.

D.D. Guttenplan

January

The Confederacy Finally Stormed the Capitol

The Confederacy Finally Stormed the Capitol

And then, because the rioters were white, they were allowed to walk away. But just imagine if they had been Black.

Elie Mystal
How the United States Chose to Become a Country of Homelessness

How the United States Chose to Become a Country of Homelessness

For months, our leaders have known that the Covid-19 crisis could force millions of people from their homes. They decided to let it happen.

Dale Maharidge
Who Voted for Hitler?

Who Voted for Hitler?

Just as there are myths about Trump voters, there are damaging misconceptions about who brought the Nazis to power.

Dan Simon

February

46 and Done: Why Joe Biden Should Be Our Last President

46 and Done: Why Joe Biden Should Be Our Last President

Parliamentary democracies give their citizens tuition-free college, state-subsidized child care, generous paid leave, socialized medicine. We get “Hail to the Chief.”

Alexis Grenell
First, Nurses Saved Our Lives—Now They’re Saving Our Health Care

First, Nurses Saved Our Lives—Now They’re Saving Our Health Care

Throughout the pandemic, nurses have been at the forefront of the fight not only to treat the sick but also to fix our ailing medical system.

Sarah Jaffe
What Popular Culture Misunderstands About Addiction

What Popular Culture Misunderstands About Addiction

Much of the film and TV we consume misleads audiences with inaccurate and harmful depictions of recovery and treatment.

Zachary Siegel

Most Read Articles of 2021

March

The Future of Postcolonial Thought

The Future of Postcolonial Thought

A pair of books—one by Walter Mignolo and Catherine Walsh, another by Achille Mbembe—consider the unfulfilled promise of decolonization.

Arjun Appadurai
Colin Kaepernick kneeling

The Great Hypocrisy of Right-Wingers Claiming ‘Cancel Culture’

Conservatives don’t hate cancellation. They hate consequences—for themselves.

Kali Holloway
Parenting as a Radical Act of Love

Parenting as a Radical Act of Love

In our special issue, we consider the ways in which parenthood can push us to recognize our interdependence and spur us to fight harder for justice and equality.

Emily Douglas

April

Union Amazon

Blowout in Bessemer: A Postmortem on the Amazon Campaign

The warning signs of defeat were everywhere.

Jane McAlevey
Philip Roth biography

Blake Bailey’s Life as a Man

The disgraced writer’s Philip Roth biography is a document of a misogynist literary world. But I had to read the book to get the whole story.

Katha Pollitt
asleep at desk

The Tiredness Virus

Covid-19 has driven us into a collective fatigue.

Byung-Chul Han

April

The Story Behind Your Salad: Farmworkers, Covid-19, and a Dangerous Commute

The Story Behind Your Salad: Farmworkers, Covid-19, and a Dangerous Commute

Each day, Mexican farmworkers endure a grueling journey to get to their jobs in US lettuce fields. This year, that journey turned potentially deadly.
Esther Honig

It’s one in the morning and the stars are out as hundreds of people shuffle slowly along the wall that marks the US border in the small Mexican city of San Luis Río Colorado. In heavy boots and wide-brimmed straw hats, most everyone here is headed to work in the… Continue Reading >

Books of the Year

Sally Rooney’s Fiction for End Times

Sally Rooney’s Fiction for End Times

In her third novel, Rooney does more than just respond to critics; she surveys the wreckage of modern life.

Tony Tulathimutte
Brandon Taylor’s Potlucks and Parties

Brandon Taylor’s Potlucks and Parties

In his new collection of short stories, the Booker-Prize nominated novelist explores the desires and discontents of people living in small university towns. 

Jennifer Wilson
Jonathan Franzen’s God

Jonathan Franzen’s God

A multigenerational saga about a Midwestern family, Crossroads is like most of Franzen novels—with one exception: Every plotline leads to the big guy himself.

Rumaan Alam

June

Andy Biggs press conf

The Miseducation of White Children

The attacks on critical race theory are just another attempt to prevent this country from reckoning with its racist past and present—by keeping white kids ignorant.

Elie Mystal
Andrés Manuel López Obrador

AMLO Has Been a Disappointment to the World—for Mexico, He’s Been Far Worse

The Mexican president’s botched Covid response and his lean toward militarization indicate that he takes his cues from the past, not the future.

Dawn Paley
Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles

Our ‘Racial Reckoning’ Is Turning Out to Be a White Lie

Black demands for full citizenship are being treated as entitlement and calls for racial accountability redefined as white persecution.

Kali Holloway

Villains of the Year

Kyrsten Sinema

How Kyrsten Sinema Sold Out

The origin story of the Senate’s newest super villain.

Aída Chávez

Bill Gates Gives to the Rich (Including Himself)

His renowned charitable activities seem to serve mainly private interests, namely his own.

Tim Schwab

Expel Paul Gosar From Congress

The Arizona Republican, who has a history of consorting with neo-Nazis and insurrectionists, shared a video Monday depicting him killing AOC. It’s time to expel this twisted fiend.

John Nichols

July

Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles

Our ‘Racial Reckoning’ Is Turning Out to Be a White Lie

Black demands for full citizenship are being treated as entitlement and calls for racial accountability redefined as white persecution.

Kali Holloway
Utopia and Dystopia Are Twins—Both Are Born Out of Criticism

Utopia and Dystopia Are Twins—Both Are Born Out of Criticism

But it is only Utopia that allows us to dream together.

Jeet Heer
Haiti Has Been Abandoned—by the Media, the US, and the World

Haiti Has Been Abandoned—by the Media, the US, and the World

Human rights activist Antoinette Duclaire’s murder is the latest for a country in chaos—where an obsession with elections obscures a complete absence of democracy or accountability.

Amy Wilentz

TV of the Year

Succession - Jeremy Strong

“Succession”’s Repetition Compulsion

In Succession’s moral universe, no one can ever get what they want or what they deserve.

Sam Adler-Bell
“Squid Game”’s Capitalist Parables

“Squid Game”’s Capitalist Parables

Netflix’s breakout series depicts a world of violent and macabre individualism and desperation.

E. Tammy Kim
The Collective Trauma in ‘Mare of Easttown’

The Collective Trauma in ‘Mare of Easttown’

Unlike a standard true crime show, the HBO series focuses less on the mystery at its center and more on the community that must bear its consequences.

Erin Schwartz

September

The War on Terror: 20 Years of Bloodshed and Delusion

The War on Terror: 20 Years of Bloodshed and Delusion

From the beginning, the War on Terror merged red-hot vengeance with calculated opportunism. Millions are still paying the price.

Tariq Ali
Bernie Sanders’s Third Campaign

Bernie Sanders’s Third Campaign

As chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders’s big-government message has found its moment.

John Nichols
Activists protest the Texas abortion ban

This Is What the First Hours of a Near-Total Ban on Abortion Look Like

The Texas law SB 8 will force abortion clinics in the state to turn away about 80 percent of all patients.

Amy Littlefield

Obituaries

What Was Rush Limbaugh So Afraid Of?

What Was Rush Limbaugh So Afraid Of?

The late bully’s 30-year reign on talk radio traced and drove the rise of a grievance politics that led to Trump—and the January 6 violence.

Joan Walsh
‘What Would It Mean to Think That Thought?’: The Era of Lauren Berlant

‘What Would It Mean to Think That Thought?’: The Era of Lauren Berlant

Four writers on the legacy of Berlant’s thinking both in the academy and in public life.

Judith Butler, Maggie Doherty, Ajay Singh Chaudhary and Gabriel Winant
Evil Donald Rumsfeld

War Criminal Found Dead at 88

The human and economic costs of Donald Rumsfeld’s wars are staggering.

Phyllis Bennis

November

How Thousands of Black Farmers Were Forced Off Their Land

How Thousands of Black Farmers Were Forced Off Their Land

Black people own just 2 percent of farmland in the United States. A decades-long history of loan denials at the USDA is a major reason why.

Kali Holloway
Guam: Resisting Empire at the “Tip of the Spear”

Guam: Resisting Empire at the “Tip of the Spear”

The Pentagon is increasing its forces on the US territory, but Indigenous residents are fighting back.

Chris Gelardi
Wild Steampunk Cowboy with Shotgun

The Supreme Court Is Poised to Give a Giant Gift to Gun Nuts

Yesterday, the nation’s highest court heard the most significant Second Amendment case in a decade, and it did not bode well for gun control.

Elie Mystal

Q&As

Gayatri Spivak: ‘The Subaltern Speaks Through Dying’

Gayatri Spivak: ‘The Subaltern Speaks Through Dying’

A conversation on the educational empowerment of rural poor in India, and the evolution of Spivak's thinking about state and citizen.

Francis Wade
Charles Mills Thinks Liberalism Still Has a Chance

Charles Mills Thinks Liberalism Still Has a Chance

A wide-ranging conversation with the philosopher on the white supremacist roots of liberal thought, Biden’s victory, and Trumpism without Trump.

Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins
Desire in Our Times: A Conversation With Amia Srinivasan

Desire in Our Times: A Conversation With Amia Srinivasan

An interview with the philosopher about her new book, The Right to Sex, the need for more internationalist feminism, the politics of consent, and much more.

Nawal Arjini

Films of the Year

Denis Villeneuve’s Humanistic “Dune”

Denis Villeneuve’s Humanistic “Dune”

His adaptation was the first to understand the scale—both intimate and epic—the sci-fi novel required to translate to film.

Erin Schwartz
‘Minari’ Is a Landmark for Asian American Cinema

‘Minari’ Is a Landmark for Asian American Cinema

Lee Isaac Chung’s poignant immigrant drama is the kind of film that can be felt with all five senses. 

Kristen Yoonsoo Kim
Joanna Hogg and the Art of Life

Joanna Hogg and the Art of Life

Her remarkable two-part film The Souvenir examines how an artist turns the fragments of their personal history into an enduring story.

Devika Girish