November has come and gone, and as always, our editors run down some of their favourite articles from the past month.
In a short commentary piece, the Financial Times’ Gideon Rachman diagnoses the perils facing liberal democracy. A ‘perfect storm’ of stagnant wages, unemployment, immigration fears, and the decline of traditional medias have given rise to "political extremes" and nationalist movements within the United States, France, and elsewhere. Faced with this march to the right, we have to ask the question: has centrism failed?
I love books and I hate myself. For not being able to read as many as I should or could— or would, if I didn’t constantly check my emails. My ‘story’ pales in comparison to the murderous, maniacal Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov or the unsubmissive will of the sinful Sisyphus. Tony Schwartz’s literary self-deprecation, citing technology as the cause of his shameful erudition, hits close to home. Schwartz describes how he eventually worked his way "up to “The Emperor of All Maladies," Siddhartha Mukherjee’s brilliant but sometimes complex biography of cancer, which had sat on [his] bookshelf for nearly five years.”
Rosa Brooks provided the analysis so desperately needed in the days after the Paris attack earlier this month. Her ten ‘painful truths’ about terrorism are important to understand in order to help mitigate the unfortunate, yet inevitable knee-jerk reactions that followed Paris, and that will surely follow future attacks as well. "We need to stop viewing terrorism as unique and aberrational. The more we panic and posture and overreact, the more terrorism we’ll get."
Whether it be writing, painting, sculpture, poetry, television, film or game any creative output can easily fall into the trap of seeking to make us feel good as its end. Ta-Nehisi Coates, no stranger to voicing timely reminders of our imperfect world, wrestles with the idea of hope’s place in creative works and in his own writing. Critical analysis of Nas’ "One Love" gives us a glimpse of the error of hope as tautology.
I was a little irate after hearing that Turkey had downed a Russian jet over Syria—putting at risk, it seemed, the prospect of international cooperation to end the Syrian crisis, all for the sake of Erdogan’s demagoguery. This article calmed me down a bit. It lists all the material realities that’ll keep Russia-Turkey relations, and cooperation more broadly, from entering a free-fall. Yet its analysis of Turkey’s interests make one thing clear, at least to me. Turkey, quite frankly, doesn’t have the good of Syria at heart.
It is not too often that I wish for articles to be even longer, but these two powerful octogenarians reflecting on their lives left me wanting more. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Gloria Steinem may have led two very different paths, coming from two very different backgrounds, but there are quite a few parallels that can be drawn between them. With commentary on college admissions, civil rights movements, mothers, and even rap names, this interview was a real treat to read.
In a particularly intrepid piece of reporting, Gawker’s Ashley Feinberg asks the question we’ve all been thinking: which US presidential candidates have suffered brain damage? After reaching out to the camp of each candidate polling over 1%, Feinberg concludes that it remains a distinct possibility that each and every one of the candidates suffers from brain damage (aside from Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton).