Tagged: adam gopnik

A Five-Sided Story

This is a reminder, not an insult: There’s no dictionary you could consult, no thesaurus or magic lexicon that describes the Pentagon as a paragon of peace. More like Hollywood and Silicon Valley’s most important ally in convincing the populous that what’s best for us is constant war and mayhem, the lubricating grease on the...

Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic is one of the most powerful artists of our time. Her medium is performance, the human body as a maker and object of art. In the arresting and illuminating documentary “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present,” about her landmark 2012 exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art — entitled “The Artist is...

The Nuclear Option

Now’s the perfect time to assess our nuclear option. (We would have said “re-assess,” but for most of us a critical assessment hasn’t ever happened.) Now’s the time to make a big change. A series of scandals involving our nuclear weapons force has spurred leading war-makers, like Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel, to call for...

Revolutionary Words

“Revolutionary Words.” Sounds intriguing, and possibly…violent? Not that kind of revolution. We’re talking about the bloodless kind, the mind revolution, each individual looking deep and changing the one and only person he/she/we are able: ourselves, one at a time. “Revolutionary Words” are those that dare to speak the truth out loud. “Revolutionary Words” are those...

Century of the Self

Originally released in 2002, Adam Curtis’s “Century of the Self” was a four-part series on the BBC that examined how Sigmund Freud’s theories of human psychology have been employed (and refined) by the rich and powerful to control the dangerous impulses of the masses. Much of this dazzlingly entertaining yarn focuses on Freud’s nephew Edward...

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

Slovene philosopher Slavoj Zizek is a charming public intellectual whose accented-English, absentminded nose-wiping, and obvious enthusiasm for Ideas make him a kind of ambassador of deep thinking. In the 2012 documentary “The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology,” directed by Sophie Fiennes, Zizek delivers dazzling deconstructions of many popular films, showing how they function as instruments of...

Poem: What’s in There?

You could say our addiction to convenience and comfort has been successfully repackaged as the highest end for our brilliant technological means. Or, you could say that we’re in the grip of a nationwide plague. Of…A.D.D. Or, you could say we’re simply a country of poorly developed adult minds with the collective attention span of...

Is the Tall Man Happy?

Driector Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) is currently flummoxing viewers with his persistently inventive “Mood Indigo.” But of all his blazingly original creations, the 2013 documentary “Is the Tall Man Happy: An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky” might be his most densely wonderful work. Gondry and the indispensable linguist and social critic...

The Shape of Content

The painter, writer, and progressive thinker Ben Shahn died in 1969. But his thoughts on Art and Life read today like a freshly-digitized TED talk. His famously provocative — as in provoking genuinely new ways of looking and cogitating — series of 1950s lectures at Harvard were collected into a graciously illustrated short book, originally published...

Israel’s Final Solution

Enough already. We’re sick and tired of hearing about the conflict in Gaza, especially when there’s a new turtle movie coming out. Sure, our tax dollars pay for Israeli and Egyptian weaponry, and, yeah, OK, that sort of makes us involved. But, really, what does this decades-old grudge match have to do with us here...