November 25, 2015

John Oliver

John Oliver

Thanksgiving week seems an especially appropriate time to think about citizenship (e.g. Sarah Matthews on what it takes to get a green card), statelessness (e.g. an interview with Atossa Araxia Abrahamian about her intriguing new book The Cosmopolites), migration, and refugees. The last word should perhaps go to John Oliver, from his final show of the year, this past weekend: “Every generation has had its own ugly reaction to refugees, whether they are the Irish, the Vietnamese, the Cubans or the Haitians, and those fears have been broadly unfounded. In fact there was only one time in American history when the fear of refugees wiping everyone out did actually come true—and we’ll all be sitting around a table celebrating it on Thursday.”

Meanwhile, not much turkey-pardoning going on at the LA Times.

For Jacobin, Grey Anderson traces the history of the “state of emergency” in France.

Pope Francis’s Italian publishers have just released the cover for what’s being billed as the first book of his papacy (but tell that to Melville House or, for that matter, Verso).

Newly nicer Gawker thinks its newfound rivals on the political beat (like Mike Allen of Politico) are a little too nice, especially to the great and good.

Miranda July is interviewed in The Believer, about, among other things, The First Bad Man, her first novel: “I have kind of a resistance to people who talk about their ‘practice’ and who are just so professional. Someone like Lydia Davis is as much of an insider as you could be in, like, the literary world, and yet her work maintains this outsider quality, so that when you read it you get a hint of, Oh right, there’s not any rules. You could do anything and call it your work. I’m drawn to that quality in children, nonartists, and really great established artists.”

And talk of firsts reminds us of one of the more heartwarming things to have appeared on the internet recently, Donald Antrim discussing his own first novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.  

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