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Our America

Peace, Love, and Understanding

- By Jim Hicks, for the editors

The Hampshire College Seal and Motto ("to know is not enough")

Frankly, when I read the shocking news from Hampshire College this week, it brought back memories. Shortly after I got anointed or conned into taking the job as MR editor, I received an email from my Dean at UMass, asking me to give her a few talking points about the history and importance of the magazine, in order to prep the Provost for a meeting with the Deans Council. Oh shit, I thought, this is trouble. I quickly cobbled something together, of course, but also immediately began doing some serious spadework. Eventually, with the help of our friends, we put...

Our America

Beyond Maternal Instinct

- By Erri De Luca, translated by Jim Hicks

Matthais Grünewald, detail from the Isenheim Altarpiece, Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar

During my days at sea with Médicins Sans Frontières, I brought the Aeneid with me to read. As is true of the Odyssey, I was more taken by the maritime crossings than the episodes on land. It’s the unfavorable, not the fair, winds that determine their voyages.

A tempest lands Aeneas on the Libyan coast, where he is welcomed as a hero by Dido, Queen of Carthage.

At her request, Aeneas tells the story of the fall of Troy, of its last valiant resistance, of his own salvation, the voyage at sea and losing their way.

One of the lines Virgil has Aeneas speak is so extreme it seems paradoxical: Una salus victis, nullam sperare salutem. For...

Our America


- By Erri De Luca, translated by Jim Hicks

Photo by Nicole Parson, from Buzzfeed and The Hill.

I report here testimony gathered by the French journalist Jean Hatzfeld. Hatzfeld managed to interview in prison numerous perpetrators of the massacres in Rwanda, nearly entirely done with machetes. During the 90s, the Tutsi population was hunted down by Hutus and the killing was everywhere.

One of these exterminators said that, “During the time of the killings I never...

Our America

The Anthem in My Stomach

- By James Janko

Jasper Johns, Poster, (Flag) Moratorium, 1969
USA lithograph on paper; 52.2 × 72.4 cm (20 9/16 × 28 1/2 in.)
Gift of Various Donors; 1981-29-52
Cooper Hewitt collection

At Soldier Field, Home of the Chicago Bears

If I had really good eyes, I might see the threads that join me to the crowd, or even to one old man, this fellow next to me, for example, his cheeks as flush as a Christmas card Santa, his eyes moist, his hand over his heart as he gazes at the flag and sings. He is, by all accounts, normal. He sings like a patriot, as do 40,000 or more others, all of them as normal as football on a Sunday afternoon....

Our America

The Women and Children of Dilley, Part Three

- By Katherine Silver

Read Part Two here.

Twisted Minds

Before traveling to Dilley, I could not help but think of Oświęcim, the town that hosted the camp we know of as Auschwitz. I thought of the scene in Shoah when Lanzmann interviews a group of local residents about what they knew about the camp, about their neighbors who had disappeared, how he drew out their deeply held negative feelings about their Jewish neighbors.  Most of the residents of Dilley are first, second, or third generation from south of the border. According to Wikipedia, “As of the census of 2000, […] the racial makeup of the city was 66.93% White, 10.40% African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.76% Asian, 18.81% from...

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