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The NationThe Nation

The Nation July 29/August 5, 2019

The Nation is America's oldest weekly magazine and is independently published. The Nation speaks to an engaged audience as a champion of civil liberties, human rights, and economic justice. The Nation breaks down critical issues with lively editorials, in-depth investigative reporting and analysis, as well as award-winning arts coverage. Publisher and Editor: Katrina vanden Heuvel.

United States
The Nation, LP
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36 Edities


access_time2 min.

In Defense of Aesthetes I found James McAuley’s analysis of Renaud Camus [“Killer Kitsch,” July 1/8] broadly persuasive, but I think he’s mistaken to claim “the aesthete is a natural reactionary.” Certain species of aesthete—e.g., the fussy period fetishist Camus seems to be—do tend that way, and many examples come to mind (Céline, Pound, Riefenstahl, and Marinetti, all of whom McAuley mentions). But if an aesthete is someone who takes questions of beauty and representation seriously, who meditates as deeply as one can on the means and ends of art, who sees the pursuit of art as braided inextricably with life itself—and, for me, that is what an aesthete is—there is nothing natural at all about the association of the aesthetic with political reaction. There are a great many aesthetes committed to transformative…

access_time3 min.
the court: grave of liberty

The Supreme Court’s recent decision refusing to interfere with extreme partisan gerrymandering not only seriously undermines our already fragile democracy; it also brings to mind the court’s acquiescence more than a century ago in laws that denied the right to vote to millions of black Southerners. In particular, it is reminiscent of the court’s 1903 ruling in Giles v. Harris, a largely forgotten case in which the justices, as today, claimed they were not authorized to adjudicate “political” matters. In that case, Jackson W. Giles, the president of the Colored Men’s Suffrage Association, sued to overturn voting requirements openly designed to disenfranchise black voters in Alabama after Reconstruction. The state’s Constitution of 1901 allowed registrars to bar from voting those who lacked “good character” or did not understand “the duties and obligations…

access_time1 min.
by the numbers

18K Number of wasps in “super nests,” which have been proliferating across Alabama because of the warming weather 5.5M Low estimate of the additional number of people in Argentina, Chile, Canada, and the US who will be at risk of snakebite by 2050 as a result of climate change 20% Predicted increase in Lyme disease cases in the US by mid-century, assuming the average temperature rises by only 2°C 1B People who could be newly exposed to dengue fever, chikungunya, and the Zika virus between 2050 and 2080 as mosquitoes migrate to warming regions 60K Square miles of US pitch pine forests that will become vulnerable to southern pine beetles as a result of warming temperatures…

access_time5 min.
on not looking away

“I can’t photo of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and get the image out of my mind.” I received this text from my wife hours after seeing the his 23-month-old daughter, Angie Valeria, drowned in the Rio Grande. For the next 48 hours, the devastating photo was every where we looked. We are choosing to ignore evidence of atrocity, to look away. When my wife says she can’t handle looking at such awful images, I know how she feels. As the creative adviser at Independent Diplomat—a nonprofit that supports democratic groups and opposition movements fighting oppression—I’ve spent years working with images coming out of Syria, trying to draw the public’s attention to the tragedy that has been unfolding there. And I am the father of a 21-month-old, so I am understandably affected by what…

access_time3 min.
ever bigger business

For the first time in decades, the question of corporate power has become central to the US presidential campaign. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, and Bernie Sanders have all emphasized the threat that monopolies pose to our politics and our economy. Still, there’s a basic fact that the public has yet to fully internalize: US industries are far more concentrated than they were 20 years ago, and the economy may even be as concentrated as it was during the middle of the 20th century. Consider the metaphors we use to understand how our economy works now compared with how it worked in the past. For many, the period from the 1940s to the 1970s was one of Big Business and large conglomerates. We think of the TV show Mad Men, with…

access_time5 min.
take back the streets!

Remember 2017? Those were the days. In Trump’s first year, we marched and demonstrated constantly, for women’s rights, for immigrants, for science, for the planet, and for the release of his tax returns. We jammed the airports to protest the Muslim travel ban, subscribed to civic action sites like 5 Calls, and made phoning and postcarding part of our daily routines. We confronted Republican lawmakers at their town halls and even picketed the homes of Democrats like Senator Chuck Schumer, who seemed too eager to compromise with Trump. Inevitably—and rightly—protest turned into politics and the patient, sometimes frustrating local organizing that electing new leaders requires. We took back the House and made important progress in the states, including Virginia, New Mexico, New York, and Maine. Black voters mobilized, and so did…