Essays

Portraits, Ghosts, and Winters

Though there are days when I can see snow on the peaks of the San Gabriel mountains, the only other way I know how to have a feeling of winter is to see an image of it in a painting or movie, or to read it, and sometimes to write it. I admit that I write and read partly for escape, or maybe to travel is a better way to say it.

On Avant Museology

We are caught in a loop, and the museum, tasked with preserving history, is instead watching while history leaks and circles around maddeningly.

After Before: El Libro de Carmen Boullosa

As I’ve gotten to know Carmen Boullosa’s work, her invisibility has become harder to take.

The Romance Isn’t Dead (Or, Playing the Shakespearean Video Game)

Time provides a second chance; it lets us play again.

Whitenesses

Blood you can wash off. But not whiteness. It’s underneath the blood.

Beached Reading

When we try to flip through any one of the volumes lining the desert island’s shore, we find that its pages have been bleached by sun and surf.

A History of Rivers

Think of how it must feel to lose everything you’ve ever worked for to the showy unpredictability of a nature growing over the millennia. No one is ever safe.

What Machines Know: Surveillance Anxiety and Digitizing the World

Mass surveillance and predictive policing are all the rage. And in the act of performing identity online, ordinary people help make the world more machine-readable. Why do we play along?

Like a Boss

Is the bossless office egalitarian, or does it simply camouflage inequalities and portend the further erosion of organized labor?

The Hostage Situation

Bossnappings are a symbolically potent tactic in the arsenal of labor militancy, especially now that workers are increasingly required to identify with their management.