The search for authenticity in consumer culture
Milan Kundera begins his novel Immortality with a description of a gesture made by a woman he is observing at a swimming pool. This woman, who we will come to know as Agnes in the story, smiles and waves at the lifeguard who has just been giving her swimming instructions. There is something charming and elegant for Kundera about this hand wave that reminds him of the gesture of a young woman “playfully tossing a bright colored ball to her lover.” This unique gesture reveals to Kundera the essence of Agnes’ charm, and he is dazzled and strangely moved by it. Later in the novel we discover that this gesture is not as unique as it initially seems. ...
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On the Commons
October 14th, 2014
4 responses (anythingtrue?, Zachary Sunderman, others)
Along with most, if not all, the contributors to Public Seminar on the war in Gaza, I am critical of the actions of Netanyahu’s policies and the actions of the IDF, and I am concerned about where the center of gravity is in Israel. I see fundamental problems with the very notion of a Jewish and democratic state, and recognize the suffering of the Palestinians, understanding and supporting their resistance to the injustice of occupation. Yet, I am also very uncomfortable with the passion of some anti-Zionists, especially those from the European killing fields. I think that the confusion of violent ...
Post Public Seminar
Public Seminar Review Volume 1, Issue 2
Second Semester/Summer 2014
The second semester of the Public Seminar is over, and the papers are now in, presented in this our second issue. Here you find short and long essays, supplemented by visual presentations around five major themes: Capitalism and its Alternatives, Democracy and its Enemies, Identities, the Arts and Literature, and Media, Memory and Miscellaneous. Note, though, that the pieces in fact address each other between and among these categories, as they consider “fundamental problems of the human condition and pressing problems of the day, using the broad resources of social research,” staying true to the mission statement of Public Seminar, and to the scholarly and public project of our academic home, The New School for Social Research. -Jeffrey Goldfarb