The Theatrical Concept Powerful Enough to Break a Trumpian Spell 

The Great German Playwright Bertholt Brecht Knew How to Jolt an Audience Out of Narrative Complacency

“All the gang of those who rule us
Hope our quarrels never stop
Helping them to split and fool us
So they can remain on top.”
— Bertholt Brecht, Solidarity Song

How strange to watch Trump’s failed insurrection on Congress unfold from one’s living room TV during COVID lockdown—sidelined by stay-at-home orders, reduced to binging the way one might devour The Queen’s Gambit or Ozark into the wee hours with snacks and pets sharing the couch. Watching an attempted coup was a strangely stupefying and passive experience.

It all looked a bit …

Conspiracy and Complicity Got Our Democracy Here | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Conspiracy and Complicity Got Our Democracy Here

What Role Have We All Played in the Spread of Disinformation and the Rise of Authoritarianism?

Two phenomena have characterized the outgoing Trump administration and spilled over to other countries around the world. The first is the astonishing power of conspiracy theories. The second is the …

How to Teach an American Inauguration | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How to Teach an American Inauguration

Since 2008, My College Students Have Been Exploring—in Real Time—What the Transfer of Power Ceremony Reveals About the Nation

“Wouldn’t it be cool to go to D.C. for the inauguration?” I remember telling a fellow adjunct instructor in late 2008. Barack Obama had just been elected, and most of …

Why ‘Treason’ Usually Isn’t Treason | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Why ‘Treason’ Usually Isn’t Treason

The Constitution Defines Treason Narrowly. That Hasn’t Stopped the Overblown Rhetoric

The last four years have been a strange time to be a scholar of American treason law. The members of this tiny (and I mean really tiny) group used to …

Only You Can Defeat Vladimir Putin

Russian Interference With America Is Profound and Systematic, So the Best Self-Defense Is We, the People

Vladimir Putin has done a masterful job of sowing hatred and confusion in the West. By tampering with elections, hijacking social media platforms, and cranking out reams of bogus conspiracy …