ICYMI Tumblr Fans: The New Republic’s post-election issue features Timothy Noah on obstacles to the Obama agenda, Alex Pareene on jokes and the political class, John B. Judis on permanent majorities, and David Greenberg on the myth of second term failure. Also, don’t miss Joshua Cohen on the ghosts of Atlantic City, Will Blythe on how to save college basketball, Jed Perl on Andy Warhol’s legacy, and Leon Wieseltier’s lessons from Hurricane Sandy.
What do you do when half of your country’s youth is unemployed?
“Like so many others throughout Spain, Mario’s voice has that brittle, dry quality of an old confidence that’s begun to splinter. He tells me that he’s “not particularly hopeful” about what’s in store. To his left sits Raquel—another Toledo native, the same age as Mario, and a self-professed optimist. She cuts in: “I have two degrees, but I may as well not have studied anything at all.” When I ask her about her next move, she says that she’s thinking of leaving the country. She mentions a secondary school in Italy where she could teach humanities. Flushing slightly, she quickly adds that job prospects there are only marginally better than in Spain.”
(Photo courtesy of spiegel.de)
Welcome to The Plank. The original TNR group blog has been on hiatus since 2009—during which time, from what we can tell, the internet decided that the term “plank” is best used in reference to lying prostate in public. That won’t do. We’re back to reclaim planking in the name of informed and lively conversation about the world of politics.
Happy May Day: Here’s a selection of photos from the May 1st general strike, pushed by the Occupy movement, along with labor activists worldwide. As many as six have been arrested in New York City alone in the protests, intended to show the “1 percent” what life without the “99 percent” would be like. (From top left, via Photo Gallery, Swanksalot, Lennon Ying-Dah Wong, Takver, Petteri Sulonen, Hossam el-Hamalawy, Barbro Uppsala, Amine Ghrabi, and Trowbridge Estate.)
Should Obama run as a populist?
“Obama is nobody’s idea of “just folks.” He’s too cosmopolitan, multiracial, professorial, self-controlled, and physically fit to present himself as an incarnation of the American common man. His otherness has always inclined him toward an E Pluribus Unum approach rather than Us Against Them.”
- Geoffrey Kabaservice, Should Obama Run as a Populist? Part One of a TNR Symposium
Photo courtesy of The Moderate Voice
Will the Supreme Court do the right thing?
“The policy consequences of overturning the Affordable Care Act, even in part, would be severe: Many millions of Americans would lose access to health insurance while many more would lose crucial consumer and financial protections. For some, it might literally be the difference between life and death.”
- The Editors, Judgment Day
Photo courtesy of Scene-Stealers
“In pop music, normalcy is a commodity of fluctuating value, and its scarcity, like the gold that is electro-sprayed onto million-selling records, is manufactured—controlled and varied to suit the conditions of the market. Every phase in popular music calls for its own measure of apparent ordinariness: hayloads of it during the folk-music craze, considerably less of it in the disco era, more in the days of punk and grunge, and not so much in the extravagant luxury hip-hop of Kanye and Jay-Z, or in the high pop theater of Lady Gaga. This year the biggest star on the music charts is the English singer Adele, whose staggering popularity is rooted squarely in her image as both an extraordinary musician and the world’s most ordinary person. “In England I’m thought of as common as muck,” she said in an interview with The Sun, and she has nurtured that mode of thought successfully, flawlessly, while rising to the most rarefied strata of musical stardom. Adele has brought into line the fine-weight prices of muck and gold.”
Photo courtesy of Reuters