Reviews

Books

Spirituality in a Broken World

Larry Rasmussen reviews Spirituality: What It Is and Why It Matters by Roger S. Gottlieb.
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Books

Queering Palestinian Solidarity Work

Wendy Elisheva Somerson reviews Israel/Palestine and the Queer International by Sarah Schulman.
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Books

An End to Easy Answers: Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s New Memoir

Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore describes decades of queer activism in her new memoir, which is often scarring, startling, and never easy. But Sycamore confronts the problems in her life with real feeling, showing that emotion—if genuine—can often break us out of the corporate-sponsored numbness which so inundates our culture.
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Books

Hark! The Psychiatrists Sing, Hoping Glory for that Revised DSM Thing!

The DSM-5 is full of labels and misconceptions. Avoid it, if you can. If you can’t, at least know how it manipulates medical information to turn various mind-states into “disorders” and “diseases” which must be “cured.” The truth is, psychiatry can be a wonderful and holistic discipline, when not in the clutches of Pharma and the often useless drugs that industry peddles.
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Books

Dollarocracy and the Fight to Get Money Out of Politics

That the corporate-driven “medium” overcomes almost any conceivable “message” is one of the clearest lessons of the election of 2012. A review of Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America by John Nichols and Robert W. McChesney
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Film

Three New Movies: We Steal Secrets, Hannah Arendt, and Fill the Void

Hollywood hasn’t been igniting many intellectual sparks lately, but imports and indies are stepping in to fill the void, if I can borrow the title of a current movie. They vary in quality but share an urge to get audiences thinking and discussing. At a time when serious journalism is in crisis, some observers see documentary film as the best hope for putting crucial information and unpopular points of view before the public eye.
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Film

Film Review: Hannah Arendt and the “Banality of Evil”

Van Trotta’s film on Arendt and “the banality of evil” not only restores memory but also might remind us of contemporary violent conflicts, including the Israeli-Palestinian one. The narratives told on both sides promote an unremitting hostility that over the past century has stymied efforts to make peace. These narratives, combining personal memory with cultural tradition, have fostered distrust and demonization of the Other. As Rabbi Michael Lerner points out, both sides “embraced nationalist rhetoric …. Both sides were traumatized by their own history, and by outrageous acts of violence perpetrated by the other.”
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Books

With What Will I Fill the Space You Left Behind?

Where Karen Bender’s A Town of Empty Rooms truly succeeds is not in the petty arguments that move the plot along, but in how we, as readers, can observe how invested these characters are in those arguments. What emerges, then, is a novel about the unsaid, the unspeakable, and the ways we talk past the dividing lines between us.
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Books

Does Zionism Have a Future?

The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist: A Personal and Political Journey by Antony Lerman. Review by Svi Shapiro
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Justice & Prisons

The Criminal Caste

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, Review by Ben Bloch
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Culture

A Visual Critique of Racism: African American Art from Southern California

One of the most valuable functions of socially conscious art is its power to personalize and humanize what can easily become an abstraction. This power was evident again and again at BAILA con Duende, a recent Los Angeles exhibition featuring the works of seventy-four black artists.
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Film

The Good, the Bad, and the Oscars

The outcome of the recent Academy Awards sweepstakes was a very mixed bag. Argo, the winner of the best-picture prize, is a nice little movie with a timely theme, a feel-good ending, and reminiscences of the 1997 comedy-drama Wag the Dog. Yet while it’s ably directed by Ben Affleck and engagingly acted by a talented cast, it doesn’t have the artistic or emotional heft that distinguishes the best best-picture winners.
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An Alphabet

Air, element we take inside and send back altered, Be lucid: show us the swift’s passage in twilight, the earliest stars; Calm the undervoice that yammers what is the point? Dishevel our hair, carry away our hats and umbrellas. Even …
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Three Views on Israel/Palestine: A Convenient Hatred, Our Harsh Logic, and Wrestling in the Daylight

By Phyllis Goldstein, Breaking the Silence, and Brant Rosen
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Red Letter Revolution

by Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo
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