Left-Wing Snobs and the Style of Contempt  

Political impotence doesn’t always weaken the critical faculties, and some degree of aloofness from the well-known corruptions of power and money is essential for an independent social observer. Less known, though, is the effect on those faculties of going years …



Ethiopia’s Prisoners of Blood  

I have come back here to die,” Desta Abdissa told me in Addis Ababa, “and the sooner the better.” Desta is an Oromo, the largest of Ethiopia’s eighty ethnic groups, comprising as much as half the population. He comes from …



The Poor and Us  

Two years ago I came to know a forty-year old woman living in a housing project in a decayed industrial city north of Boston. When I met Lois, she had just lost her job at Head Start after her car …



Read ‘Em and Weep  

Economists have begun using the term “winner-take-all economics” to describe the fact that the salaries of investment bankers, software designers, and basketball players continue to rise while the wages of photocopy attendants and paramedics stagnate or fall toward the official …



Why Are We in Haiti?  

The occupation of Haiti, the first progressive American military intervention since World War II, has also been one of the least supported. In the days leading up to the bloodless invasion, it was nearly impossible to find any American backers …





The Novel, the Mob, and Morrison  

I set out recently to read the complete novels of Toni Morrison with a mix of expectation and resentment that was probably unavoidable. What Lawrence called the “mob-self” had heard the tremendous chorus of celebration, crescendoing in the Nobel Prize. …



Update: Haiti’s Agony  

It’s hard to imagine how Port-au-Prince could be a worse place than the city I visited last March, but eight months later reports say that the bodies are turning up in greater numbers than at any time since the September …



Remembering Irving Howe  

When I got the telephone call with the news of Irving’s death I was writing an article for Dissent, an article he commissioned but never saw. And the first contact I ever had with him was a reply to another …



Choke Hold on Haiti  

After dark in Port-au-Prince the only people on the streets are the desperate, the vicious, and those with private cars. As my Haitian friend drove through the city center, he gave me a tour guide’s narration of the night sights. …



Robert Stone: The Funny Apocalypse  

For a quarter century Robert Stone has been the American Baudelaire—poete maudit of Catholic mysticism and controlled substances, critic of modern folly, romantic pessimist in love with apocalypse. His five novels are all alike in structure and atmosphere, carrying two …