Let Artists Choose Activism

Or Not. But Don’t Assume That Anyone’s Identity Should Define Their Work

This piece publishes as part of the Zócalo, Thomas Mann House, and L.A. Review of Books conference on the role of artists in weakened democracies at REDCAT this Saturday. Register to join the in-person waitlist or to watch the livestream.

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare,” Audre Lorde wrote in A Burst of Light, 1988.

After 20 years of working and volunteering in a mixture of direct anti-poverty services, Jewish community organizations, and the arts, …

In Chaotic Times, California Offers Leadership | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

In Chaotic Times, California Offers Leadership

After a Century of Earthquakes, Fires, Booms, and Busts, We Are the Masters of Disaster

America, I see you flailing—and failing—to respond to this pandemic. Why don’t you just let California handle it?

No joke. In normal times, you’d be wise to avoid letting Californians run …

Our Real “Existential Crisis” Is Bigger Than Trump’s Presidency

Philosophically Speaking, How Do We Live Free, Authentic Lives in a World Without Meaning?

Apparently, these are existential times. During the weeks leading up to last year’s presidential election, The New York Times columnist Charles Blow announced that then-candidate Donald Trump was “America’s existential …

“Frivolous” Humanities Helped Prisoners Survive in Communist Romania

Covertly Studying Language and Literature Connected Captives and Freed Their Minds

In a recent New York Times article on the movement to promote university majors promising higher employment and income, Anthony Carnevale, a professor at Georgetown University, sums up the utilitarian …