The period November 2016 through January 2019 has been existentially dislocating. A period just over two years long has felt more like two decades, with time slowing in inverse proportion to the speed of events. We, or at least I, have been exhausted and bewildered. What has changed since that fateful election night, and how have I changed?
Anthony Bourdain was — is — one of my heroes. Here’s how his life, and loss, affected me.
Visiting friends this weekend in Shanghai made me ponder the universal problem of culture wars, and their thorny roots in information distribution.
Speaking with my students about their hometowns in a changing China, the benefits, and costs, of building a nation spread out in front of me.
How often do we truly contemplate how history has shaped us individually? And how we individually shape history?
The North Korean nuclear crisis just gave us whiplash again, as Pyongyang threatens to pull out of talks. Why the sudden change in language? And what does it signal about Kim Jong Un’s long-term strategy?
Watching the developments surrounding the North Korean nuclear crisis would be enough to give anyone whiplash. Things seem to be settling down, but for how long? And what would a new North Korea mean for the world?
A serendipitous connection with a stranger made me think of why it is we’re all grasping for something to belong to.
Reconnecting with a local friend here in Wuhan, I had an experience that summed up some of the contradictions in my experience; individuals are so patient and welcoming, but in aggregate, it’s hard not to notice bubbling nationalism under the surface.
The Brood: Halfway through my experience in China, I arrived at a breaking point. The feeling of being a foreigner in a foreign land transformed from an anthropological experience into … Continue reading The White Monkey Trophy
I just spent the last four months traveling and readjusting to life in China. But the blog floundered. What brooding thoughts prevented me from writing? What even is this blog anyway?
Doug Jones won Alabama’s Senate Seat by a 1.5% margin. It’s a victory for the country at large — but one that we shouldn’t be too comfortable with. Only 30% of White voters cast their vote for the winning candidate. That should be a clarion call for white progressives.
MuniciPals is back after a brief break to discuss the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico. Brit recently returned from working in San Juan, and shares some perspective on the ongoing natural and unnatural disasters, as well as some thoughts on the local urban form.
Our Baby Boomer and Gen X parents told us that America always found a way. Today, we have come of age into the world they built — and we are furious. What do we replace it with?
The resurgence in white nationalism and a reckoning with the darker aspects of our national character have left many asking if America is worth saving. In fact, what is America, anyway? In one of the most complex nations on earth, this reckoning is inevitable. But it need not be a defeatist death knell.
Learning Mandarin Chinese is notoriously difficult for native English speakers. As I’ve recently come to realize, however, its not just difficult because of its differences with English. The logistical, financial and emotional obstacles are also high.
Every Thanksgiving, it seems, someone on the left reminds us that Thanksgiving’s origins are less than pure. There are arguments to abandon the holiday altogether. In this time of cultural revolution, Thanksgiving is a good case study when asking the question: If we want to drastically change the culture, what do we want to remain?
The FCC is considering changing the rules regulating the internet, giving telecommunications companies the power to reward or punish companies that compete with them, and silence any views contrary to their interests. It’s only one other way that Free Speech is being threatened by the digital age.
The national conversation around sexual assault, gender inequality and power imbalances has catalyzed a lot of soul-searching. Every man is, to varying degrees, complicit in structures that oppress women. What should we, those men, do about that?
In the midst of the ongoing deluge of sexual assault accusations, something fundamental seems to be changing in America. Not all at once, and certainly not universally, but the modern conception of consent is radically reshaping our social contract in a way that is more in-line with America’s aspirational creeds.
When government is shared between progressives, who believe the government is a force for good, and radical conservatives, who believe the government is an irredeemable force for waste that must be eliminated until it “can be drowned in a bathtub”, there is not much room for compromise.
Progressives, champions of justice at home, are uncomfortable critically engaging with injustices abroad, and America’s often “problematic” responses to them. Can progressives find a way to navigate the world’s gray areas?
Free Trade. Proponents say its excellent for creating wealth, preventing war, and promoting cultural exchange. But blue collar backlash throughout the western world has provoked a major re-think. What is free trade, where did it come from, and do we need to change it?
American Progressives take strong moral stances on human rights in the areas of feminism, sexuality, racial diversity, and voting rights. Why don’t they have a similarly cohesive message on foreign policy?
The “Zuckerberg Assumption” is that exposure leads to broad coalitions. We now know this isn’t true.
The wars of the future won’t be fought with arms, but with behavioral psychology.
A small reflection on what White Americans could learn about race by living in China.
Presidential pardons have been abused in the past, and recently by the pardon of Joe Arpaio. Why do pardons exist in the first place?
After Vegas, is there a reasonable middle ground for gun control that America can compromise to, or are we inevitably going to have to change the second amendment?
Are we wasting time trying to avoid a war with North Korea? It’s a country as strange as it is dangerous. It’s a country whose main points of fame revolve around its enigmatic leaders, their bizarre, ironic fascination with the outside world, and its quest for nuclear weapons.
Living in political limbo means Puerto Rico doesn’t have the means to face a hurricane, and no one gets in trouble for the end result.