• Essay

    Could a Tattoo Cure What Ails You?

    Medicine Is an Art. Art, Too, Can Be Medicine

    by Anh Diep

    Tattoos and medicine may seem an unlikely pairing, but medical tattoos are nothing new. Religious tattoos ...

  • Sketchbook

    Kethevane Cellard is a Paris-based artist who works primarily with ink drawing and wood. She is renowned ...

Democracy Local

How You Can Spot—and Stop—the Next Putin

The Global Fight Against Authoritarianism Should Begin at Your Town Hall

by Joe Mathews

Want to join the global fight against authoritarianism?
  Then participate in your community’s local government.
  Because authoritarians do not teleport fully formed from Jupiter into the leadership of nations. They have to learn how to rule anti-democratically here on earth, usually at the local level. Stopping authoritarianism globally requires all of us to identify and defeat our hometown autocrats, and make sure that local governments are as democratic as possible.
  Imagine, for example, how much more peaceful the world might be if citizens of St. Petersburg had managed to stall the political career of deputy mayor Vladimir Putin back in the 1990s.
  Detecting would-be authoritarians isn’t necessarily easy ...

Essay

Why a Polish Resistance Fighter’s ‘Failure’ to Stop the Holocaust Resonates Today

Jan Karski, and a New Play About His Life, Remind Us of the Importance of Truth, Valor, and Memory

by Justine Jablonska

A man leaps into the air. The theater audience gasps, then relaxes as he safely lands. Jan Karski—scholar, diplomat, World War II Polish Resistance fighter, and the messenger who brought news of the then-secret Holocaust to the world when there was still time to stop it—has just escaped from Gestapo custody into the literal arms of Polish Resistance fighters, who will nurse him back to health.
  The actor playing Karski, David Strathairn, tells the audience in Karski’s melodious Eastern European accent that after the escape, the Gestapo rounded up 100 Poles in retaliation. And executed 32 of them.
  “Thirty-two lives for his one,” the play’s co-author, Clark Young, told me—describing the scene as a “profound moment of failure and trauma” for the protagonist ...

  • The Takeaway

    ‘Humor Is What Makes Us Human’

    In an Age of Political Tyranny and Deep Division, Comedy Can Help Us Understand Our Leaders, Ourselves, and Each Other

    Fittingly, the Zócalo/ASU Gammage event “What Can We Laugh About?” last night opened with a joke from Los Angeles Times columnist Gustavo Arellano, who was moderating: “Knock knock.”
    The prompt audience reply came in unison: “Who’s there?”
    Arellano: “Zócal-OK, we can now laugh.”
    There was playful booing from the in-person audience—a packed house …

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