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Our America

Stop! In the Name of History

- By Michael Thurston

(Photo by The Onion)

Let’s get one thing straight about the Supremes. In this moment, where hope still springs for the defeat of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court (hope that ought to be shared not only by those to the left of center but by anyone who cares about the rule of law, the basic trustworthiness and, well, judgment of their judges), it’s worth remembering that we’ve seen this before. If justice once again loses and allows the unjust elevation to “Justice” of an unworthy candidate, that’s pretty much par for the Court’s course. Many of us came of age when the Supreme...


Our America

That Foreign Face

- By Erri De Luca

WHO IS THE FOREIGNER? In principle, everyone—according to the scriptures—beginning with Abraham, caught and held by a voice that orders him to take leave of his land, of the home of his father, and head off for an unidentified destination. Abraham must become a foreigner so he will continue to hear the voice that has sent him. One night the words arrive, inviting him into the open air; under a densely crowded caravan of stars, they anticipate his countless descendants, as many as tower in the shimmering sky above.

One has to have been a foreigner for at least some time in order to catch a corner of Abraham’s enthusiasm on that night, laden with limitlessness. One needs to feel in one’s blood that instinct in order to light out for the territory and breathe...


Our America

Those Boys in the Hoods

- By Jim Hicks

(photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

If you’re reading this blog, one of two things can be assumed: either that you made a point of seeing the new Spike Lee film this past weekend, during the first anniversary of the march on Charlottesville, or that you’ve read at least a review or two, and so already suspect that we may be talking about a masterpiece here. We are. Let’s skip the plot summary, then, so we can move on to what matters more—to this country, and therefore the world, and, I suspect, even to Spike himself.

I don’t need to remind you all that the title of the filmmaker’s breakthrough movie was a call to action, written...


Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Race Traitor, Part One

- By Jim Hicks

Part One: This I believe

These dark days in the land of Weinsteins and white nats demand action, in many forms, on many fronts. Even us old straight white guys, I’m guessing, have a role to play, above and beyond our most obvious and essential obligation—to listen up. As the editor of a literary magazine, I am—in some minor fashion, in a country that places little to no value on literacy—a gatekeeper. No way around that. A British-Italian artist once told me, back in the eighties, about another artist who was then plastering London with stickers that said, simply, “Not Art”. For the next couple of days, as I recall, the two of us went around Paris pointing out places where such stickers were sorely needed—and also recognizing a...


Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Race Traitor, Part Two

- By Jim Hicks

This is Part Two of a three-part series. Read Part One here.

Part Two: de gustibus non disputandum est

The history of the Massachusetts Review offers, as I’ve just suggested, certain lessons about the contingent and variable nature of taste—and about the difficulties encountered trying to change it. That history can’t, of course, explain why, of all the lessons one might learn from a magazine like ours, this is what matters most to me. Surely, some of what I’ve learned about this subject I was taught in grad school, during those years where your cultural tool kit gets opened up, tossed out on the...


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