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Jo Freeman Captures the Republican National Convention

Noted feminist, political scientist, and photographer Jo Freeman went to the Republican National Convention. Amongst the madness, Freeman managed to capture a humanity rarely seen on the political stage. It’s a reminder to us all that, at the end of the day, the foundation of our nation’s political economy lies with the American people. Here they are. 

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The 1950s, American Greatness, And Trump’s Brand Of Nostalgia

If you’re unfamiliar with the advertising firm of Ogilvy & Mather, consider this: What James Madison did for the US Constitution, Ogilvy did for advertising. Ogilvy was a champion of pragmatism and a fierce romantic, a combination that made for advertising that reflected the cultural fantasies of the moment while remaining accessible to consumers. Ogilvy built an empire on giving consumers precisely what his advertising made them want: “In the modern world of business,” he proclaimed, “it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.”

If we analyze historic ad campaigns to discover why they were successful, we probably would hear the Marlboro Man speaking to us from beyond the grave (though quite likely through a voice box). …

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A Kurdish Paradox in Turkey’s Wine Country

It is June and I’m in Elazığ, a city of just over a quarter of million in eastern Turkey. Streets bustle with families and packs of young men clutching their tespih or prayer beads. It is a modern city, but at its height in the 1930s and 1940s, Elazığ served as an important administrative center for Turkish Republican rule in the east. In the last sixty-five years however, much of the city’s historical role of governance has evaporated. Hardly a single vestige of the city’s Ottoman or Republican past remains. Elazığ, I am told, has suffered much.

I am picked up from the airport by a colleague of mine, Bora, who knows the city well. He’s jovial and Kurdish, originally from a small village in between Mardin and Diyarkbakır, two large cities to the southeast of where we stand. We get in his car and drive into the countryside. …

EssaysFeatureLiberal Democracy in Question

You’re Fired!

Donald Trump and the History of Failure

Ridicule is Donald Trump’s most prominent rhetorical strategy. Like the schoolyard bully, his attempts to humiliate and dominate others seize on a snippet of public identity, physical appearance or personal history. You can access many of these taunts on his Twitter account: in case you don’t want to sift through the whole thing, The New York Times has created a list of the 250 people, places and things Trump has most frequently heaped with shame here. 

These tweets, and Trump’s verbal assaults, purposely do not respond to facts or reveal new information that might respond to criticism. Instead, they are designed to shame and overwhelm people who ask questions or in any way impede his path to political success. He has characterized The New York Times as “failing” newspaper; claimed that Jeb Bush came out against Super PACs to obscure his “failed campaign;” and called for a boycott against Macy’s, a “very disloyal company.” …