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Disposable.

Before (the picture upon being taken):

Before.

After (the picture upon being published):

After.

The explanation:

There was no ill intent. AP routinely publishes photos as they come in and when we received additional images from the field, we updated the story. AP has published a number of images of Vanessa Nakate.

Subsequently (the picture anent the explanation):

After after.

Something of an apology:

We regret publishing a photo this morning that cropped out Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate, the only person of color in the photo. As a news organization, we care deeply about accurately representing the world that we cover. We train our journalists to be sensitive to issues of inclusion and omission. We have spoken internally with our journalists and we will learn from this error in judgment.

The subsequent more-of-an apology:

The rationale:

David Ake, the AP’s director of photography, told Buzzfeed UK that, under tight deadline, the photographer “cropped it purely on composition grounds.”

“He thought the building in the background was distracting,” Ake said.

Free as in just fuckin around.

“None of this free time just arises like water from an artesian well. Even though we all live in the stream of time, which flows toward us until we die, much of what is ironically called ‘our’ time is doled out in advance: working to live, to service debt, to keep our own houses in order. Any free hour rests in an intricate web of other people’s work: those who are keeping you fed, warm, sheltered, those who raised you or are raising your offspring, those who are picking up the garbage today or checking in on your aging parent or making sure the roads are patched and the subways are running. Free time is about as spontaneous and random as a cherry tree in Central Park. It is also just as gorgeous, and within it we can be as spontaneous and random as if we were just splashing through time’s current. It is both the homeland of individuality and the crowning collective achievement.” —Jedediah Britton-Purdy

reformacons, blood-and-soilers, curious liberal nationalists, “Austrians,” repentant neocons, evangelical Christians, corporate raiders, cattle ranchers, Silicon Valley dissidents, Buckleyites, Straussians, Orthodox Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Tories—

“It did all raise a question. What if Trump had dialed down the white nationalism after taking the White House and, instead of betraying nearly every word of his campaign rhetoric of economic populism, had ruthlessly enacted populist policies, passing gargantuan infrastructure bills, shredding NAFTA instead of remodeling it, giving a tax cut to the lower middle class instead of the rich, and conspiring to raise the wages of American workers? It doesn’t take much to imagine how that would play against a Democratic challenger with McKINSEY or HARVARD LAW SCHOOL imprinted on his or her forehead. There seemed to be two futures for Trumpism as a distinctive strain of populism: one in which the last reserves of white identity politics were mined until the cave collapsed and one in which the coalition was expanded to include working Americans, enlisting blacks and Hispanics and Asians in the cause of conquering the condescending citadels of Wokistan. Was it predestined that Trump would choose the former? Steve Bannon was already audience-testing Trumpism 2.0, wrong-footing the crowd at the Oxford Union with complaints about the lack of black technicians in Silicon Valley. Why couldn’t Trumpism go in this direction in reality? The shrewdest move for the NatCons would surely have been to attract as many non-whites as possible to the Ritz and strike fear into the hearts of the globalists with a multiracial populist carnival—a new post-Trump pan-ethnic coalition that would someday consider it quaint that it had once needed to begin conferences with the profession: We are not actually racist.” —Thomas Meaney

A better solution to the problem.

Firefighters’ calendar featuring Portland homeless camps” is one hell of a 2020 mood.

Fire officials haven’t identified the firefighter who made the calendar. It surfaced at Portland Fire Station No. 7, one of the city’s busiest stations in the Mill Park neighborhood at 1500 SE 122nd Ave., and firefighters from other stations apparently expressed interest in having one of their own, according to Fire Bureau members. Twenty-four firefighters are assigned to Station 7.

It case it’s not clear from the jump, the calendar wasn’t laudatory.

Alan Ferschweiler, president of the Portland Fire Fighters Association, said the calendar, while insensitive, highlights greater problems that aren’t getting enough attention from city leaders: “the friction between firefighters and the houseless population” and an “overstressed work force.”

Firefighters, he said, usually are sent to deal with low-level medical calls at homeless camps or to put out fires at the camps. Because Portland police aren’t responding as often to these calls, firefighters often feel unsafe or face aggression from people who are abusing drugs or alcohol, Ferschweiler said.

“Those negative interactions have a resounding effect on our members,” he said. “Police have responded less and less and less to those calls with us. That’s part of the situation too. I feel there’s calls where I wish the cops were here.”

Of course, there are very good reasons to keep interactions between the Portland Police Bureau and the houseless population at a minimum.

And one might be thankful it’s paramedics showing up for medical emergencies, and firefighters for fires, and not armed police, and one may lament that our first responders must so often respond firstly to situations and circumstances for which there is no clear-cut training, with resolutions far beyond the immediate scope of their admirably focused powers, but one can also take note of the curious rhetorical figure in Ferschweiler’s statement, “the friction between firefighters and the houseless population,” which whisks us with breathtaking suddenness to some notional arena where two unitary sets of stakeholders, firefighters and the houseless population, might set their competing agendas to duking it out with, sadly, some little friction.

—It’s understandable, to be charitable, that one would be so despondent at the abjunct between what one is tasked with doing or even what one can do at all, and what must needs be done, that one turns one’s efforts to what one can reach, metonymically speaking; thus does fighting homelessness become fighting the houseless population, much as what happened with the war on drugs. —And one could be so horrified by the idea of one’s own precarity that one might choose to assert one’s security by insisting such horrors happen only to a certain certain sort, you know, the houseless population, those people, THEMlook, there they are now, over there, not me, nope, nossir! —But such seductive turns of thought however understandable turn in your hand, lead you astray, make you think you’ve grabbed hold of something that isn’t there at all:

“Let’s have some talk about the problem we’re having,” he said.

A stranger’s stabbing Saturday night of an off-duty fire lieutenant who was at a Portland bar celebrating his wedding anniversary further highlights the problem, the union president said.

And surely we all can agree no matter how figurative our rhetoric that to see this incident as a skirmish in the “friction” between firefighters and the houseless population (McClendon, the estranged “stranger” who stabbed above, has no fixed address)—that would be dizzyingly unhinged. Yet here we are, at the end of our discussion, wrapping it up with this, as if it says anything at all about a Fire & Rescue station, frustrated by friction, letting off steam through the “dark humor” of a calendar that mocks homeless camps.

“We want to have a better solution to the problem,” Ferschweiler said. “We want people like Paul to be able to come downtown, have a good time with his wife and be able to go home safely.”

The borders of US and THEM, downtown and safety, are easy enough to sketch with a map like that. —Myself, I want people like Debbie Ann Beaver to be able to take the medicine they need in peace. This friction kills.

Painstakingly æstheticized chisme.

“After a few days,” says Myriam Gurba, “an editor responded. She wrote that though my takedown of American Dirt was ‘spectacular,’ I lacked the fame to pen something so ‘negative’.” Let’s make sure she has fame enough to pen as negative as she wants in the future. —Some additional background on Oprah’s latest bookclub pick. Remember, kids: the fail condition of condemnation is reification!

American Dirt.

Quinnipiac in retrograde.

“But received wisdom about electability is powerful precisely because it defies reason and is resistant to critical scrutiny. Like many of the other concepts that shape electoral punditry and political discourse—charisma, qualification, momentum, authenticity—electability is a shibboleth of a political mysticism that ‘tickles the brain’ only because it cannot fully engage it—a drab, gray astrology, maintained by over-caffeinated men.” —Osita Nwanevu

“—I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly—”

While I was poking about, looking for what I’d said back in the day about ostranenie and the unheimlich (mostly I was trying to remember that push-me-pull-you refrain, oh I see, oh I get it, which I didn’t end up using, but make what you will of the fact I forgot), anyway, I ended up over at the Mumpsimus, contemporaneously, and saw a link in a linkdump that said, “Elves killed by punk rock,” and of course I clicked on it. —Wouldn’t you?

Magic—or more precisely, the “magical”—was one of the first casualties of punk rock. As guitar solos contracted and song structures were shaved to a stump, with amazing speed we lost our dragons, our druids, our talking trees—the whole seeping, twittering realm of the fantastic was suddenly banished, as if by a lobotomy. It survived, lurkingly, in the lower realms of heavy metal and Goth, but no one would ever again fill a stadium by singing about Gollum, the evil one. Punk rock had killed the elves.

And, well, I mean, you know what I’m gonna say about that.

Borderland; Bordertown.

Magic will not be contained. Magic breaks free. It expands to new territories, and it crashes through, barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but, ah, well. There it is. Magic, uh, finds a way.

—And we can quibble about category errors and gestures and deeds and what does or doesn’t count as punk rock to a high school kid in 1987, casting about for whatever wonder-generating mechanisms are in reach, and maybe it’s less punk and more sludge, I don’t know, you can head over to YouTube to listen to the subjects of this fifteen-year-old review for yourself, but mostly the reason I’m mentioning this at all is something from the end of it, said by Dead Meadow’s singer and guitarist, Jason Simon. “These writers,” he says, “to me—”

(—he’s talking about the writers that the writer says he said are his favorites, and these writers of course are folks like H.P. Lovecraft, Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, and Arthur Machen—)

These writers, to me, are just a celebration of pure imagination. And it seems like the imagination is suffering these days—so many images coming at you, so shallow and so fast. We’re trying to create songs with some space in them, some imaginative space, to give people some room.

It’s an importantly counterintuitive point, about how the imagination suffers under the onslaught of imagination, and how absolutely vital it is to give the audience some credit.

Tripping the light.

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams,” says the man, and, okay? I guess? I mean, I dream in English, and I’d bet he does, too, mostly, but I don’t think he means the best fantasy is written in English, I think he means the best fantasy is written in the language you grew up with, that you know in your bones, because that’s where the tricks work best: your feet think they know the stones of this path, and follow them without thinking; a clever gardener can then lay them to lead them all-unaware through shadowy copses by undrunk brooks to sudden breathtaking impossible vistas that couldn’t, shouldn’t be where they seem—and yet—

All the farm was shining with the hideous unknown blend of colour; trees, buildings, and even such grass and herbage as had not been wholly changed to lethal grey brittleness. The boughs were all straining skyward, tipped with tongues of foul flame, and lambent tricklings of the same monstrous fire were creeping about the ridgepoles of the house, barn, and sheds. It was a scene from a vision of Fuseli, and over all the rest reigned that riot of luminous amorphousness, that alien and undimensioned rainbow of cryptic poison from the well—seething, feeling, lapping, reaching, scintillating, straining, and malignly bubbling in its cosmic and unrecognisable chromaticism.

H.P. Lovecraft

William Dean Howells wrote ten horror stories between 1902 and 1907. The stories are not highly regarded by most critics of horror; a typical comment is S.T. Joshi’s sneer that “the element of terror, or even the supernatural, in these stories, is so attenuated… that the overall effect is a kind of pale-pink weirdness entirely in keeping with the era in which they were written.”

Jess Nevins

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think.

George R.R. Martin

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams,” he tells us, but it turns out he’s more concerned with imminence, and evanescence, something “more real than real” that only lasts for one “long magic moment before we wake.” —And, I mean, okay, I don’t know about you, but as for me, I barely remember my dreams; I wake up knowing I have dreamed, but mostly I’m left with a (yes) color, a tone, a vector or at least a sense of motion, scraps that dissolve even as I try to pin them down, and there’s something in that grasping-after, that sense of having lost what I never knew I’d had, that gets at something in fantasy, sure, but—

“Fantasy is silver and scarlet,” he says, “indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli,” and here I’m brought up short—is that it? Why stop here? “Obsidian veined with gold,” I mean, you can find that in the bathroom of a Trump hotel. You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling:

She spoke, and the first low beams of the sun smote javelin-like through the eastern windows, and the freshness of morning breathed and shimmered in that lofty chamber, chasing the blue and dusky shades of departed night to the corners and recesses, and to the rafters of the vaulted roof. Surely no potentate of earth, not Crœsus, not the great King, not Minos in his royal palace in Crete, not all the Pharaohs, not Queen Semiramis, nor all the Kings of Babylon and Nineveh had ever a throne room to compare in glory with that high presence chamber of the lords of Demonland. Its walls and pillars were of snow-white marble, every vein whereof was set with small gems: rubies, corals, garnets, and pink topaz. Seven pillars on either side bore up the shadowy vault of the roof; the roof-tree and the beams were of gold, curiously carved, the roof itself of mother-of-pearl. A side aisle ran behind each row of pillars, and seven paintings on the western side faced seven spacious windows on the east. At the end of the hall upon a dais stood three high seats, the arms of each composed of two hippogriffs wrought in gold, with wings spread, and the legs of the seats the legs of the hippogriffs; but the body of each high seat was a single jewel of monstrous size: the left-hand seat a black opal, asparkle with steel-blue fire, the next a fire-opal, as it were a burning coal, the third seat an alexandrite, purple like wine by night but deep sea-green by day. Ten more pillars stood in semicircle behind the high seats, bearing up above them and the dais a canopy of gold. The benches that ran from end to end of the lofty chamber were of cedar, inlaid with coral and ivory, and so were the tables that stood before the benches. The floor of the chamber was tessellated, of marble and green tourmaline, and on every square of tourmaline was carven the image of a fish: as the dolphin, the conger, the cat-fish, the salmon, the tunny, the squid, and other wonders of the deep. Hangings of tapestry were behind the high seats, worked with flowers, snake’s-head, snapdragon, dragon-mouth, and their kind; and on the dado below the windows were sculptures of birds and beasts and creeping things.

Nothing excedes like excess.

“Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer,” and now I can only sigh: we were talking again just a couple of weeks ago about how flavor’s the very essence of a sylph, and to mistake the flavor for its ingredients is one of those, whaddayacall ’em, category errors; to set “rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer” as our sylphs against the (by implication) drab reality of “beans and tofu” is to not only lose the vegetarians in the audience, or those who’d quail before a cellar of nothing but sweet wine: it loses that astounding little plate of hiyayakko we had in that strip-mall sushi joint in North Carolina, just a chilly silky geometrically perfect cube of tofu topped with flakes of ginger and slivers of scallion and tendrils of bonito and oh, that one first perfect bite, and it loses what you can make with a bag of dried black beans and a couple of cloves of garlic and salt and pepper and a cup of plonk and some water and laughter and time. —It’s precisely the same error that tells us fantasy’s only to be found in Minas Tirith or Gormenghast or Camelot, and never in plywood or plastic or (yes) strip malls. It’s to mistake the gesture for the deed, confusing the things the wonder-generating mechanisms have been attached to with the wonder-generating mechanisms themselves—my God, if you can’t conjure with a name like “Burbank,” or “Cleveland,” you’ve no business being in this business. —Multi-million–dollar empires aside.

George R.R. Martin, a Face of Fantasy.

And I know, I know: this passage is flavor text from an album intended to be carted about at conventions, collecting autographs; it was written a quarter-century ago, long before Martin’s fantasy ate the world, or at least HBO; well before the fuck-you money, which maybe helps to explain why his images of fantasy are so luxurious, drawn from Harry & David and Conran, set against beans and rice. (Oh, but that’s uncharitable, coming from me with my Japanese appetizers and cellars of peppery wines and those tricksily landscaped gardens there, up at the top.) —It’s old, and it’s slight, this passage, it’s silly, sure, but it keeps coming back

—and silly or slight or old as it is, one of the most important lessons fantasy has to teach us is that you are what you pretend to be. The gesture may not be the deed, but performing the gesture is itself a deed, and if you keep telling us fantasy’s written in the language of dreams, that it fulfills wishes, that it gives you the tastes you yearn for and the colors you want to find again, it’s gonna raise a lot of terribly pointed questions when the fantasy you’re most known for, the deed your gesture performs, the work you put into the world is so very full of white folks and rape. —There’s something else going on here, something more, and to paper it over with something so silly and so slight is to turn those words to ash with the slightest consideration.

Into the West.

(“They can keep their heaven,” he says; “When I die, I’d sooner go to Middle-earth,” and, I mean, I’ve been to the Shire? Like, actually been there? Drove out on a whim fourteen years ago, when our car was new. —Whole place went under just a bit later, in the Crash of ’08.)

“The triplex, sir, is a good tripping measure;”

I’m reading Neveryóna, which is not, I hasten to add, in any way, shape, fashion, or form, a sword-and-sorcery story; it isn’t even a fantasy—it’s wholly, cheerfully, entirely SF: it’s just that the novum that estranges us past a conceptual breakthrough into a topia isn’t so much cybernetics or ballistics, but the very act of reading (in its expansive, semantic screwdriver sense) and its turn in turn to writing

(Yes, I know there are dragons in it. That doesn’t make it a fantasy. I mean, there are dragons in Stars in my Pocket like Grains of Sand, and you wouldn’t call Pocket a fantasy, now, would you?

(Actually… Now that I think about it…

(Oh, for God’s sake, the Nevèrÿon books are [mostly, somewhat] explicitly part of the Informal Remarks toward the Modular Calculus! Which include Trouble on Triton! Which is the largest moon of the planet Neptune! And they include the Harbin-Y lectures of Ashima Slade! Who died when the gravity was cut to the city of Lux, on Iapetus! The third largest moon of Saturn! It’s SF!)

—But I digress.

I’ve been (re)reading Neveryóna, and I’ve gotten to what I remember having been one of my more favorite bits (after the Tale of Old Venn, anyway, which is a tour-de-something-or-other), when the dragon-rider, Pryn (née pryn), a “loud brown fifteen-year-old with bushy hair,” is invited to the house (castle) (cavern) (palace) (compound) of the Earl Jue-Grutn, and begins to see (as we begin to see) how intimate and implacable is the power that rules this fantastic and philosophical empire. —The earl invites her to see his collection of different kinds of writing systems, which includes on a shelf on a wall a collection of painted statuettes—

“—three cows, followed by two women bent over three pots, followed by those pyramids stippled all over; I have it on authority they represent heaps of grain—”

“And those are trees there!” Pryn pointed. “Five, six… seven of them.”

“The same authority informed me that each tree should be read as an entire orchard. The barrels at the end are most likely lined with resinated wax and filled with beer, much like the brews you help Old Rorkar produce.”

To either side of this display is a picture in a frame. The one—

“—there to the right, is inked on a vegetable fiber unrolled from a species of swamp reed.”

Pryn looked more closely: simple strokes portrayed three four-legged animals. From the curves at their heads, clearly they were intended to be cattle—no doubt the same cows that the statuettes represented; for next to them were more marks most certainly indicating two schematic, sexless figures bending over three triangular blotches—the pots.

And the other:

Left of the sculptures, in the other frame some dry, brownish stuff was stretched. On it were blackened marks, edged with a nimbus that suggested burning. “What’s this?” Asking, she recognized the even clumsier markings as even more schematic animals, people, pots, trees, barrels, grain…

“The same authority assured me it was flesh once flayed from his own horridly scarred body—he was a successful traveling merchant when I knew him, which lent its own dubiously commercial reading to the three pieces he sold me. Myself, I’m more inclined to suppose it is the branded skin of some slave’s thigh, stripped from the living leg; all too often—five times? six times? seven?—I saw my father oversee the commission of such atrocities on the bodies of the criminals among our own blond, blue-eyed chattels. From even further north than you, that scarred black man had, no doubt, as many reasons for speaking truth as he had for lying. But consider all three—”

Yes, let’s. —Delany (the earl) (Pryn) (we) rather immediately ascribe the three as art (concerned with representation, yes, but also the exercise of craft required to wring that representation from the materials chosen, or available), as writing (smooth, dispassionate, a meaning apart from the context that gives it meaning), and as pure ideological imposition, as terror, as violation, as revelation, as (?) POWER; but then rather immediately moves past these simple descriptions to a (much) more interesting question: which came first?

“Which one of the three inspired, which one of the three contaminated, which one of the three first valorized the subsequent two in our cultural market of common conceptions?”

And those of you who’ve been paying attention over the years, or who noticed the title, or can count at least to three, you’re maybe already thinking you know where I’m going with this, the maid-mother-crone, the creator-sustainer-redeemer, the Cluthian Triskelion of fantastika, the model I’ve been borrowing, the argument of the thing-that-argues, the prick against which the sermon kicks—

“Again, the initial apprehension of beauty, in an entirely different way from the initial apprehension of disinterest, redeems both modes of later inhumanity it engenders on the grounds that they are, still, misreadings—one an underreading, one an overreading certainly, but nevertheless both misguided, because impoverished, because unappreciative of the mystical, beautiful, originary apprehension which a more generous reader can always reinscribe over what the misguided two chose to inflict in terms of pain or boredom.”

—but I’m not saying that Delany’s saying (Pryn is saying) (the earl is saying) that one of these things is fantasy, and one SF, and one is horror (no)—

“Observe the three, girl. One of these is at the beginning of writing—the archetrace: but we will never know which. The unanswered and unanswerable question—that undismissible ignorance—signs my authority’s failure. And I foresee the trialogue, now with one voice silenced, now with another overweeningly shrill, now with the three in harmony, now with all in cacophony, continuing as long as people cease to speak—and all speech is, after all, about what is absent in the world, if not to the senses—before the wonder, the mystery, the confusing, enciphered presence of a written text. But certainly you have seen these..?”

—what I’m saying is, is one of these (fantasy) is trying, Ringo, is trying real hard, to recapture (recover, receive, to understand) what has been lost, by trying to represent what is in what’s available, what’s been chosen; and one of these (SF) coolly abstracts what might well could be possible from what undoubtedly is, breaking through to a brave new world; and one of these (horror) is—is—is—

On the one hand; on the other.

From the opinion filed today in Juliana v. United States, 6:15-cv-01517-AA, reversing the certified orders of the district court and remanding the case with instructions to dismiss for lack of Article III standing:

Contrary to the dissent, we do not “throw up [our] hands” by concluding that the plaintiffs’ claims are nonjusticiable. Diss. at 33. Rather, we recognize that “Article III protects liberty not only through its role in implementing the separation of powers, but also by specifying the defining characteristics of Article III judges.” Stern v. Marshall, 564 U.S. 462, 483 (2011). Not every problem posing a threat—even a clear and present danger—to the American Experiment can be solved by federal judges. As Judge Cardozo once aptly warned, a judicial commission does not confer the power of “a knight-errant, roaming at will in pursuit of his own ideal of beauty or of goodness;” rather, we are bound “to exercise a discretion informed by tradition, methodized by analogy, disciplined by system.” Benjamin N. Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process 141 (1921).

From the dissent:

Seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the Nation.

Freeze, peach!

How poetically telling, that the concept of kettling disruptive elements away in a First Amendment zone has been extended from protestors to reporters.

It is easier to clean the kitchen if you keep the kitchen clean

is one of those astringently parsimonious bromides that isn’t worth the wisdom it reveals, but I can’t help but think it applies to the problem with bringing back blogs. I couldn’t begin to tell you why I’ve suddenly resumed a former, blistering pace, but I can say that hiatuses be damned, this blog, this long story; short pier, is now old enough to vote in most American elections. Go on, then; have a haggis—

A haggis.

Message: I care.

The peculiar fusion of public and private, market forces and administrative oversight, the world of hallmarks, benchmarks, and stakeholders that characterizes what I’ve been calling centrism is a direct expression of the sensibilities of the professional-managerial classes. To them alone, it makes a certain sort of sense. But they had become the base of the center-left, and centrism is endlessly presented in the media as the only viable political position.

For most care-givers, however, these people are the enemy. If you are a nurse, for example, you are keenly aware that it’s the administrators upstairs who are your real, immediate class antagonist. The professional-managerials are the ones who are not only soaking up all the money for their inflated salaries, but hire useless flunkies who then justify their existence by creating endless reams of administrative paperwork whose primary effect is to make it more difficult to actually provide care.

This central class divide now runs directly through the middle of most parties on the left. Like the Democrats in the US, Labour incorporates both the teachers and the school administrators, both the nurses and their managers. It makes becoming the spokespeople for the revolt of the caring classes extraordinarily difficult.

I liked this, from David Graeber, which is of course about much more than last year’s depressing election in the UK. —It provides a certain clarity lacking in recent heated disputations, and recalibrates what’s seemed to be ineluctable math: I mean, if we’ve got to have an US and a THEM (and when there’s a fight, we do, yes, we do), then give us an US that everyone wants and a THEM no one wants to be (not so much the people that comprise it as the systems and rules and expectations, the bullshit, that generates and enforces the roles they end up playing; one is attempting, as ever, not to become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal). Care-giver versus administrator! (And not Brahmin Left versus Merchant Right, or PMC against Chapo Dirtbag.) —This a battle we all can join with a sunny heart.

The answer, I think, lies in the emerging structure of class relations in societies like England, which seems to be reproduced, in one form or another, just about everywhere the radical right is on the rise. The decline of factory jobs, and of traditional working-class occupations like mining and shipbuilding, decimated the working class as a political force. What happened is usually framed as a shift from industrial, manufacturing, and farming to “service” work, but this formulation is actually rather deceptive, since service is typically defined so broadly as to obscure what’s really going on. In fact, the percentage of the population engaged in serving biscuits, driving cabs, or trimming hair has changed little since Victorian times.

The real story is the spectacular growth, on the one hand, of clerical, administrative, and supervisory work, and, on the other, of what might broadly be termed “care work”: medical, educational, maintenance, social care, and so forth. While productivity in the manufacturing sector has skyrocketed, productivity in this caring sector has actually decreased across the developed world (largely due to the weight of bureaucratization imposed by the burgeoning numbers of administrators). This decline has put the squeeze on wages: it’s hardly a coincidence that in developed economies across the world, the most dramatic strikes and labor struggles since the 2008 crash have involved teachers, nurses, junior doctors, university workers, nursing home workers, or cleaners.

And if this move seemed odd, a bit redundant, somewhat unnecessary—“service work” does a fine-enough job delineating that US as it is, and of the three classes he’d cleave away (clerical, administrative, supervisory), it’s only ever really the clerical that gets fitted with a pink collar—the need to refine gives us just enough room to make sure the “care” in care-giver’s expansively defined, increasing our US, decreasing THEIR thems.

Whereas the core value of the caring classes is, precisely, care, the core value of the professional-managerials might best be described as proceduralism. The rules and regulations, flow charts, quality reviews, audits and PowerPoints that form the main substance of their working life inevitably color their view of politics or even morality . These are people who tend to genuinely believe in the rules. They may well be the only significant stratum of the population who do so.

But of course I’m going to latch onto this: I’m a professional manager in a decidedly PMC workplace—but a workplace with a mission to give what care we can to folks cataclysmically enmeshed in those rules, those regulations, those procedures, our laws. —I know which side I’m on, y’all. I know where I need to stand.

Comforts th’ comfortable; afflicts th’ afflicted.

“It may seem like humorless scolding, but the consequences of this type of demonization are real. A key feature of these stories—as seen in follow-up stories about the Taco Bell break-in by The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Fox 5 Atlanta, and several others—is mug shots that spread to hundreds of websites complete with the arrestee’s name. As I’ve reported elsewhere, this process of ‘mugshot shaming’ ruins lives and stains one’s online reputation for decades to come. At the other end of these clickbait stories is a real human being, and to the extent that these are ‘news,’ they are only so because the police see to it that they are.” —Adam H. Johnson

Having the right to play.

“But Rosie nevertheless holds on to her joy at being alive. That joy isn’t naïve, or rooted in a denial of reality. Rather, it is an act of defiance, which makes a more powerful anti-fascist statement than any of the film’s mockery of its Nazi characters—a refusal to be made cruel and dejected by a world that has turned into a nightmare. ‘Welcome home, boys! Go kiss your mothers!’ Rosie cheerfully calls out to a truck full of defeated, injured soldiers headed into town, and when asked what she’ll do when the war ends, she answers, ‘dance,’ even as she lessens her odds of reaching that day by hiding Elsa, and leaving messages of defiance around the town. It’s not the sort of story one tends to see about this period, and I couldn’t help but wish that it was the story Jojo Rabbit had chosen to tell.” —Abigail Nussbaum