Thinking the Present

George Packer

Far from beginning to close the gap, the financial crisis and the recession have opened it even wider. It’s like nothing stops it. Every week there’s a story that is essentially that story.

What Would Lynne Tillman Do? – Lynne Tillman

Fiction writers’ opinions on current events have a basic, ironic appeal: Credentials, qualifications — they have none.

Change in the Land: Willa Cather’s Midwest

The mysterious work of the novel in regard to climate change seems less about politics and more about calm, diverse reflection.

Janet Roitman

You can’t say that this object is a world with crisis and this object is a world without crisis. Empirically we can’t do that; it’s a logical distinction, we can only have crisis and anti-crisis.

Earthmasters – Clive Hamilton

“Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun. I will do the next best thing: block it out.” — Mr. Burns

The Art of the Troll

When an ordered society depends on maintaining a hierarchy of images, the ability to wield this kind of ironic superposition has a concrete political power.

Silence of the Animals – John Gray

It enlivens the brain as it masticates, swallows and then defecates out the spirit.

God In Proof – Nathan Schneider

Schneider mixes together philosophy, memoir, journalism, and a good bit of sociology to get at a fundamental question: not, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” but rather, “What role do proofs of God play in human life?”

Algerian Chronicles – Albert Camus

In Algerian Chronicles we get both the settled position of Camus on Algerian independence and a study of what led to this exasperated tone – namely the insufficiencies of humanist principles to get a fair hearing during a particular kind of political sequence.