12 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2019
  2. Mar 2018
    1. This was always a worry about the American experiment in capitalist liberal democracy. The pace of change, the ethos of individualism, the relentless dehumanization that capitalism abets, the constant moving and disruption, combined with a relatively small government and the absence of official religion, risked the construction of an overly atomized society, where everyone has to create his or her own meaning, and everyone feels alone. The American project always left an empty center of collective meaning, but for a long time Americans filled it with their own extraordinary work ethic, an unprecedented web of associations and clubs and communal or ethnic ties far surpassing Europe’s, and such a plethora of religious options that almost no one was left without a purpose or some kind of easily available meaning to their lives. Tocqueville marveled at this American exceptionalism as the key to democratic success, but he worried that it might not endure forever.

      Capitalism, corporate capitalism at least, seems to work against everything that conservatives profess to believe in. I wonder if the two can ever be separated?

  3. May 2016
    1. She needed those relationships. But she also relied on filmed verification of her impact on others. The reciprocal gaze that marks her early photographs would be furthered and intensified in the collaborative form of portraiture in her mature work

      Here is a reason to appreciate such photos although I've tended to dislike them, especially if the expression is cold.

    1. And if they fail in Indiana or Cleveland, as they likely will, they need, quite simply, to disown their party’s candidate. They should resist any temptation to loyally back the nominee or to sit this election out. They must take the fight to Trump at every opportunity, unite with Democrats and Independents against him, and be prepared to sacrifice one election in order to save their party and their country.

      But they won't.

    2. Trump is their man, however inarticulate they are when explaining why.

      And their explanations sound like those of Sanders supporters.

    3. Muslims and Mexicans are the new Jews

      Thank goodness for one big difference: there are a whole lot more of them.

    4. Mass movements, he notes (as did Tocqueville centuries before him), rarely arise when oppression or misery is at its worst (say, 2009); they tend to appear when the worst is behind us but the future seems not so much better (say, 2016).

      I don't think that the Arab Spring occurred during a time after the worst had passed.

    5. Hence many Democrats’ frustration with him. Those who saw in his campaign the seeds of revolutionary change, who were drawn to him by their own messianic delusions, came to be bitterly disappointed by his governing moderation and pragmatism.

      And these people fucked us by not voting in 2010. Real smart, progressives.

    6. In the end, all these categories were reduced to one thing: traffic, measured far more accurately than any other medium had ever done before.

      So, there is money in politics, only it is from a different source.

    7. But it is precisely because of the great accomplishments of our democracy that we should be vigilant about its specific, unique vulnerability: its susceptibility, in stressful times, to the appeal of a shameless demagogue.

      We couldn't have had a demagogue before? This is a sincere question, but it seems to me that we have come very close. Thinking of Huey Long, Joe McCarthy....

    8. And when all the barriers to equality, formal and informal, have been removed; when everyone is equal; when elites are despised and full license is established to do “whatever one wants,” you arrive at what might be called late-stage democracy. There is no kowtowing to authority here, let alone to political experience or expertise.

      Beginning to sound as if this hurts Sullivan where he lives.

  4. Mar 2016