Thomas Piketty: Capital in the twenty-first century


Piketty presents himself as politically engagé, so it would be natural to cut to the chase and announce my view of whether he is a good guy or a bad guy, a comrade or an enemy.  That impulse is all the stronger because his title is a deliberate allusion to Marx’s great work, Das Kapital.  The title, after all, is CAPITAL in the Twenty-First Century, not Capital in the Twenty-First Century.  But I shall resist the temptation, because it would be a mistake.  There is a great deal to learn from this book whether or not one situates oneself where Piketty does on the ideological spectrum [as I do not], and that must be the focus of my attention in the first part of this discussion.

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Robert Paul Wolff — 3:AM Magazine

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The secret life of airports


Uncovering the secret life of airports through movies. This needull is for frequent travelers who have are spending disproportionate time at airports.

So next time you find yourself trudging down a dank tunnel that seems to lead to nowhere, in the nether regions of an airport, suddenly alone and perhaps feeling a bit of existential dread, or maybe just exhaustion and boredom—remember that you are taking part in the secret life of airports. These non-simple spaces are indices for our broader culture, sites to interact with and interpret—sites that can make us feel exhilarated or stranded, by turns. This is what I call airportness, and it spreads out into all sorts of surprising things, and seeps into unexpected places. Airports can be used to propel entire stories, from Home Alone 2 to Make America Great Again. But with their narrative potential comes all the other parts of textuality, as well: the ambiguities, the uncertainties, and the tensions. The secret life of airports is brimming with these things, and there’s no escaping them. It’s one thing to imagine effortless transitions from one place to another; it’s quite another thing to fully inhabit these spaces, these awkward times on earth, and be conscious of them—aware that this is us, this is the pinnacle of mobility, human progress in the making, at least for now.

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Christopher Schaberg — 3:AM Magazine

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Young girl beautiful: a review of surveys by natasha stagg


Another needull which is a book review! I seem to be in a literary mood this week. Surveys is a novel by Natasha Stagg which tells the story of a girl who becomes celebrity suddenly.

Twenty-three-year-old Colleen, the girl at the centre of Surveys by Natasha Stagg, is unknown and anonymous and, one would guess, pretty, and works in a mall in Tuscon, Arizona. Then, quite suddenly, she becomes internet-famous. It’s a big deal, though you wouldn’t believe it from just how casual she is about it. “Once I was legit famous,” she shrugs, “it was hard to tell when the change had occurred.” Because the book understands the way youth works, Colleen has her first stalker long before she’s a celebrity. Because it knows how young girls work, she starts hooking, and then says she wished she had done it first when she was “cuter”, i.e. younger than twenty-three. “You wake up,” she muses while travelling home from her first assignation with two hundred dollars in cash, “and someone puts a price on you. You grow old, and your price diminishes.” Thirty under thirty lists agree with her. So do most pimps. “Once you are at an age that is both young, according to old people, and old, according to young people,” she later reasons, “you can choose to forget this pressure.” The pressure in question is “dignity,” which “becomes a stand-in word for innocence” — which “is not really a thing anymore”, the new thing being “knowing that everyone is jealous”.

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Philippa Snow — 3:AM MAGAZINE

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