Category: Media

Educating welfare mothers

[This is an expanded version of a letter sent to the New York Times and not printed.]

“A Dangerous Method”: Freud, Jung, and Spielrein

     David Cronenberg’s new film “A Dangerous Method” begins in the opening years of the twentieth century with the delivery to the Burghölzli Clinic of the Zurich Hospital of a young woman named Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightly) who, suffering from hysteria, becomes one of the early patients to undergo psychoanalysis. Spielrein, a wealthy, well-educated, and lovely young Russian Jewish woman—whose hysterical outbreaks express themselves in fits, tortuous postures, tormented speech, and bizarre behavior—comes under the care of Dr.

New Politics 2.0

New Politics is passing quite a milestone – or two of them, come to think of it. The first issue of its original series appeared in the fall of 1961. After it suspended publication in 1978, our founding editors, Phyllis and Julius Jacobson, still had the itch to foster radical ideas and debate, resulting an anthology, Socialist Perspectives (1983). They relaunched New Politics in 1986, which means that we can now celebrate both its 25th and 50th anniversaries.


An Intellectual Publisher or a Successful Huckster?

"The Eisenhower years have been years of flabbiness and self satisfaction and gross materialism . .. . The loudest sound has been the oink and grunt of private hoggishness. . . . It has been the age of the slob."

William Shannon, New York Times writer quoted by
Richard Rovere in The American Scholar, Spring, 1962

Invidious Comparisons

       The New York Times ran a truly despicable story on its front page today. The article, by Scott Shane, argues that Pfc. Bradley Manning is not being treated so badly. But what moves this piece from the category of apologetics to contemptible is its opening paragraphs that try to contrast the plush circumstances of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with the grim conditions under which Manning is being held:

The political gangbang of WikiLeaks

I’m with Peter Tatchell in supporting WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, who are exposing the U.S. government’s lies and its support for human rights abuses. Tatchell wants Brits to protest the U.S.-led attacks on WikiLeaks and argues that the charges against Assange have to be pursued in the court of law.  Where I disagree is in estimating the probability of a frameup, and I think comparison with  Daniel Ellsberg and the  Pentagon Papers supports my case.

Green Is the New Green: Social Media and the Post-Election Crisis in Iran, 2009

The Persian language blogosphere is rich, varied, and dynamic. Of the 100 million blogs registered around the world in 2005, 700,000 were Persian language, either inside Iran or in the diaspora. Of these, over 60,000 are updated frequently. With over 20 million Iranians connecting to the internet, and over 600,000 Iranians signed up on Facebook by the presidential election of the summer of 2009, the Iranian cyber community is by far the most dynamic such community in the Middle East, and one that is unambiguously diverse.

Worcester on NP & Covers

Former New Politics editor Kent Worcester has written a nice appreciation of New Politics and its covers by Bob Gill.

All the news that's fit to print?

"All the news that's fit to print" is, of course, the slogan of the New York Times. But who determines what's "fit" and why? We read much liberal hand-wringing about what will become of democracy without daily newspapers and reporters who serve as watchdogs of government. We need an independent press, for sure. But we don't have one. Consider today's post on Doug Ireland's blog, about a young Honduran LGBT activist, Walter Trochez, who was assassinated.

Propaganda or reportage? The New York Times and education reform

The New York Times provides a steady diet of glowing PR about the neoliberal policies implemented throughout the world to defund, privatize, and fragment public control of education.

Interested in "bad guys" – but not bad systems

While researching a book on The Great Recession (or whatever we wind up calling this economic downturn) I noticed that I couldn’t find any unemployed bankers who had actually handled the “toxic assets” that supposedly caused the crisis. I started to look for them systematically and eventually discovered that they were still employed. Furthermore, their activity of creating and trading collateralized debt obligations and the SWAPS that insured them was, in fact, booming.