Macron overreaches!

December 12, 2019 Roger 1

From a strategic pov, the Macron/Eduard Philippe proposals are curious. After all, the points system seems both so blurry and so technocratic that its real […]

The strike in France

December 5, 2019 Roger 0

There is no more telling symbol of my lackadaisical – my bobo – leftism than the fact that as I write this, I am enjoying […]

dynastic wealth

April 14, 2020 Roger 0

Ethnographic field studies of peasants, hunter gatherers, farmers, powerful village men, etc. are common. Field studies of rich American families are less so.   Off hand, […]

depoliticizing Trump

March 10, 2020 Roger 0

It is difficult to wipe away our images of things and see the things themselves. Take Trump. If America was simply a white nation, Trump […]

On Free Lunches

February 3, 2020 Roger 1

I want to cull this from  page 2 of Greg Mankiw’s popular Essentials of Economics – used by hundreds of Econ 101 classes, tucked under […]

The No Alternative bullshit

November 26, 2019 Roger 0

There is something comic about a politician standing up before God and man and free will and mouthing the phrase “no alternative”. Except in the […]

The receipts: links

November 12, 2019 Roger 0

  I have grown to like the twitterterm, receipts. These are not proofs but finds – finds like a photograph of one person next to […]

Prizes and prophets

October 22, 2019 Roger 0

  When I was in the second grade, a now dim tidelet of a memory, a weak link over the cholesterol and the neural network, […]

On gags

October 11, 2019 Roger 0

Gag is a strangely ugly word. Its repetition of the g seems to enact the throttling that is the meaning accorded to it primitively by […]

Hard work deconstructed

September 22, 2019 Roger 0

  In the American mind, the real economy is always mixed up with the moral economy. This mix produces monsters. One of the monsters is […]


September 9, 2019 Roger 0

There’s a moment in that wild interview Stuart Pivar gave Mother Jones about his friend, Jeffrey Epstein. Pivar was trying to give an idea of […]

Yesterday’s Papers

June 28, 2019 Roger 0

 “Who wants yesterday’s papers? Who wants yesterday’s girl?” I have always been a Beatles-over-the-Rolling-Stones type of old slag. This lyric represents the reason. How could […]

Where did capitalism come from?

June 24, 2019 Roger 0

“This institutional gadget, which became the dominant force in the economy—now justly described as a market economy—then gave rise to yet another, even more extreme […]

Whose posterity is it?

June 13, 2019 Roger 0

  There’s a popular literary game, which consists of predicting which writers will “endure”. Whenever the waters of clickbait grow still and old, some webzine […]

The hatred of paradise

May 22, 2019 Roger 0

The Dialectic of the Enlightenment was the first in a series of post-war books that variously attacked the Cold War consensus on both sides. I’d […]

War Machine reflections

May 2, 2019 Roger 0

My father never killed anyone. He never, for example, burned the skin off a child. He never shot anyone in the stomach. He never shot […]

Buridan’s Internet

April 29, 2019 Roger 0

  Buridan’s ass would doubtless have hated the internet. The same old blues, he’d think, multiplied infinitely. Or perhaps, and this is the bet every […]

Notes on Neoliberalism 1

April 7, 2019 Roger 1

Ellen M. Wood’s “The Retreat from Class” , published in 1983, is uncannily predictive of the course of neo-liberalism. Though she is pretty highhanded with […]

The Killing Joke: Brexit

April 3, 2019 Roger 0

Oliver’s army is here to stay Oliver’s army are on their way And I would rather be anywhere else But here today – Elvis Costello Heroic […]

MYTHS: the cereal box

March 26, 2019 Roger 0

Breakfast cereal is an emblem of the industrialized food system. If the system had a totem, surely the faces of Captain Crunch, Tony the Tiger, […]

On the Sackler Watch

March 21, 2019 Roger 0

  Fans of justice, who’ve been given a battering over the last, say, 30 years, got a small peek into a better world this week […]


February 27, 2019 Roger 0
In the Hippias Minor, Socrates challenges Hippias… a vain sophist, over the matter of who is the better man: Achilles or Odysseus. Hippias holds that […]

Macron in Candyland

December 7, 2018 Roger 0
Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it As was obvious from the beginning, Macron is unsuited, temperamentally and intellectually, to be the president […]
No Image

Fin de régime

December 3, 2018 Roger 0
  Macron’s first instinct, after the uprising Saturday, was to go around getting photographed shaking hands with the cops. He of course cold shouldered anybody […]

Poke their eyes out

November 28, 2018 Roger 0
You have to poke out the eyes of painters like you do with songbirds, to make them sing better. – Picasso The Beaubourg advertises its […]

When American Conservatives met Russian Nationalists: a love story from the Cold War (magazine version)

November 1, 2018 Roger 0
 The two dominant factions among the country clubbers who lord it over the morlocks in the United States of Dreamland consist, on the one hand, of a rightwing group who spend a lot of time producing and decrying fake news, and a center-right group of Eloi who have produced a fake consensus history and spend a lot of time contrasting the present barbarians with the beautiful normality of once upon a time.The murder of 11 mostly elderly Jews in Pittsburgh has produced a lot of articles about how a

Internautica October 29

October 29, 2018 Roger 0
I have given much thought, in my life, to a certain intellectual history that characterizes the stages from the early modern age until now in […]

Internautica October 21

October 21, 2018 Roger 0
Internautica   Here are the reads for the upcoming week: For those who’ve forgotten: We’ve been at war in Afghanistan for 17 years. Our adolescent […]

Internautica October 14

October 14, 2018 Roger 0
Here are the reads for the upcoming week: Rachel Z Arndt pins down linguistic and attitudinal similarities between Go Dog Go and Malone Dies. The […]

Patience and the Restless Sleeper

October 11, 2018 Roger Gathmann 0
There’s a thing about living in France that always amazes some outward suburban zone of my American brain: I go into the store, I get checked out by the cashier, I pull out my credit card, I put it in the little credit card machine, and a word appears on the screen: Patientez.
Be patient. In the United States, when dealing with machines, the signs and recordings are rarely rooted in such a quasi-moral, such a Ciceronian admonition. Rather, they tell you that they are busy processing your informa


October 8, 2018 Roger 0
Willett’s will compile, every Monday, a list of likely links for our readers.  We’ll add to it all through the week. Here are the reads […]

What Democrats can learn from the Abe Fortas Case

October 6, 2018 Roger 0
Roger Gathmann Mother Jones, a magazine that has taken up the mantra of tut-tutting neoliberalism and run with it, has published an article that claims that it is a “liberal fantasy” to think of impeaching Brett Kavanaugh. The writer of the piece is their correspondent for covering the court, Stephanie Mencimer, so presumably she knows what she is talking about. This is her “wake up to the coffee” graf:It’s never going to happen. If the Democrats can’t stop Kavanaugh’s confirmation in the Senate
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Carswell: Even if he is mediocre…

October 5, 2018 Roger Gathmann 0
THE SECOND IN OUR SERIES OF SUPREME COURT REJECTSOn December 5, 1970, the New Yorker published one of its then typical uberlong pieces, entitled Decision, by Richard Harris, under the Annals of Politics rubric. The article explores every nook and cranny of the dealing that went into the rejection of Nixon’s nomination of a Florida judge, G. Harrold,  Carswell, for the Supreme Court post vacated by Abe Fortas.  Harris later made the piece into a book entitled Decision. It was reviewed by William

The politics of misogyny

October 1, 2018 Roger Gathmann 0
Who will guard us from the guardians? “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” – this is a question posed by a satirist, Juvenal. It is funny, really: you would imagine that the question would first turn up in Plato or Aristotle, reach its canonical form there – that great rounded form of the thing finally said, as though the whole ocean of discourse had washed over it and worn away every unnecessary edge. But it does not crop up there, nor in Cicero, but in a poem directed against women. “I know the ad