Democracy in America, 2003  

Over the past ten years, there has been a growing gap in perception over the state of American democracy. The vast majority of the Washington press corps-including many pundits critical of the Bush administration-is inclined to see what has happened …



James Chapin, 1941-2002  

THE NAME James Chapin may not be familiar to many Dissent readers. He didn’t write a great deal for the magazine. Until the last year or so of his life—when he turned out superb political analysis for an unlikely outlet, …





Dylan’s Old Weird America  

Invisible Republic: Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes by Greil Marcus Henry Holt and Company, 1997 286 pp $22.50 Time out of Mind by Bob Dylan Columbia Records, 1997 Anthology of American Folk Music Harry Smith, ed. Smithsonian/Folkways Recordings, 1997, re-issue 6 …



The Last Page  

“All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candor,” Walt Whitman wrote in 1855. Allen Ginsberg, who was candid about his faults and about much else, died a beloved and forgiven poet. To be sure, there are those …



The Last Page  

The view from Seats 17 and 18, Row G, Main Section 26, down the left-field line at Yankee Stadium, is terrible. The left-fielder, when not obscured by the foul pole, is the only player who is easily recognizable. Everyone and …





Sean Wilentz Responds  

When Jeffrey Isaac calls for chastened political expectations, I can’t help but agree. Given the political blockages and intellectual disarray of the moment, who wouldn’t? As I write this, in early July, the New York Times reports that federal cutbacks …



Sean Wilentz Responds  

The aim of my essay was not to measure reputations, as Martin Kilson claims The aim was to assess how reputations get measured these days. The essay grew from my dismay at how the conceits of celebrity journalism have increasingly …



Race, Celebrity, and the Intellectuals  

In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois reflected on the ironies of reaching the academic heights, always sensing his racial distinctiveness, always confronting the hesitant curiosity of sympathetic whites, always coping with their unasked question: “How does it …



Populism Redux  

Populism is all the rage in this political season—an enraged and often outrageous populism. Judging from the last election, American voters have hit the boiling point. They hate taxes, big government, and spending on the poor. They hate the Washington …