Essays

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.

Lore & Peace: What Tolstoy Can Teach Us About Bowe Bergdahl

Long before Bowe Bergdahl dreamed of military battle, Leo Tolstoy was writing about the seductive nature of war stories and their ability to lure young men to gruesome and early deaths.

The Mall Lives

The so-called great neighborhoods of America’s cities are food courts.

Syntax Errors

She explained how each of his tweets was actually a message to her. Where the man was talking about the movie he’d seen, he was talking about Hannah, and where his dog had done something funny, he also was talking about Hannah.

Praying in the Outer Sunset

There’s a discipline to both religious faith and drug addiction: to maintain either of them you have to ritualize your own frustration. You have to continually hold out hope, see yourself disappointed, and offer your hope up again.

Objectively False

If stress makes us sick, all the more reason for us to avoid it; having medical evidence to back this up helps to bolster that argument. But surely we are not so neurotic as a society, so distrustful of our own subjective experience, that we need the supposedly objective ratification of an outside authority to make it seem valid?

Friedrich Nietzsche: Edu-hater

Why offer a set of reforms when your goal is to tear down the whole system of values upon which your current society is built?