Portside Culture

Posted by Portside on April 23, 2015
The Indypendent, Issue #205
Successive High Court decisions have done more than enfranchise corporations at the expense of the rest of us. The same logic in the same cases now defines public corruption down: that a direct and palpable quid pro quo must be seen to operate. Absent that smoking gun, the financial elite has no limits on bankrolling campaigns whose candidates then vote their interests. To the nation's founders, that untrammeled influence was the essence of public corruption.
Posted by Portside on April 22, 2015
The New York Times Sunday Book Review
Last week, Our Declaration, by Danielle Allen, made PEN/America Center's shortlist for the Galbraith Award for Nonfiction. The prize goes to "an author of a distinguished book of general nonfiction" "notable literary merit and critical perspective" that highlights "important contemporary issues." Allen's book was published last year to a host of lively reviews. Here is one of the earliest, by Steven B. Smith. Also included below is a link to Allen's homepage.
Posted by Portside on April 21, 2015
Ava, the robot star of Ex Machina, the dazzling sic-fi thriller, could easily be seen as an addition to the list of subservient bots in the tradition of Siri and Samantha—a machine that exists to tend every man's need, and read him driving directions without challenging masculinity. But if you push past that frustration, the film brings to the fore the idea that technology is as imperfect as its creators, and its mirror can provide a useful reflexion.
Posted by Portside on April 20, 2015
Publishers Weekly
Concerns about healthy eating and childhood obesity are helping to shape a new generation of foodies and feeding a budding publishing trend.
Posted by Portside on April 19, 2015
The Atlantic
Throughout pop-culture history, clones and robots have served similar purposes, exploring anxieties about class and labor.
Posted by Portside on April 17, 2015
"Honey Thief" (private publication)
The euphemisms of warfare proliferate--not least phrases like "collateral damage." Esther Kamkar shines a light on the drone.
Posted by Portside on April 16, 2015
Book Forum April/May 2015
Gentrification is no myth, and saying so is magical thinking. Through oral histories and a solid grasp of urban history and urban geography, journalist GW Gibson shows not just its quite palpable and direct contribution to the displacement of low-income people, but, using New York City as his template, traces the radical decline of affordable housing city-wide. Case closed!