• How Whiskey and Chew Toys Dragged the Supreme Court Into a First Amendment Fracas

    The Supreme Court joined millions of Americans last week in taking up whiskey right before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The justices said last week that they would hear Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products LLC, a curious mix of alcohol, dog toys, trademark infringement, parody, and the First Amendment. It’s a case with an undeniably amusing factual basis, but it has the potential to turn this term into a potentially major one for intellectual property, free speech, and the lines...

  • Kevin McCarthy’s Pledge To Impeach Mayorkas Is A Gift To Democrats

    House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy’s pledge to impeach Homeland Security secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is an early signal that the new Republican House majority will scramble to appease its MAGA rump in ways likely to help Democrats in 2024.“I’m calling on the secretary to resign,” McCarthy said at an appearance in El Paso on November 22. He cannot and must not remain in that position. If Secretary Mayorkas does not resign, House Republicans will investigate every order, every action, and...

  • Cormac McCarthy’s Respite From Loneliness

    A man walks across a barren landscape. He may be wounded, or ill, but he is strong enough to survive. As he walks, he pays close attention to the landscape, noting changes in the wind and light, scanning for traces of animal or man. He must be careful—his very life depends on it. For the man, though strong and quick, is vulnerable: He is utterly alone, far from home and far from help, blessed and cursed by solitude.This man is the typical Cormac McCarthy hero—as well as the typical anti-hero. He...

  • The Culture Workers Go On Strike

    Earlier this month, I spent a morning with Rachel Urkowitz on the picket lines in front of Parsons School of Design and the New School, which is part of the latter. Rachel is my closest friend, an artist who has taught at Parsons for nearly 20 years, instructing a generation of students about color, light, and the history of visual culture. At all the schools under the New School umbrella, 87 percent of instructional staff are adjuncts like Rachel. Yet although they make up the vast majority of...

  • Newsom’s Cynical Flip on Proposition 30 Should Disqualify Him From the Presidency

    California Governor Gavin Newsom likes to brag about how much his administration has done to address climate change. In September, after he signed legislation investing in a series of climate measures, he boasted that his state was leading the nation—even the world!—on the issue. “That’s climate action done the California Way,” he enthused. “And we’re not only doubling down, we’re just getting started.”Many assumed, then, that the governor would support a referendum on the ballot to tax the rich...

  • Elite Conservatives Have Taken an Awfully Weird Turn

    An inkling of the Republican Party’s shocking underperformance in the midterms could be seen in a literal, not figurative, crusade. Allen West, former congressman and Texas Republican Party chairman, decided in September that the time was ripe to join the Knights Templar, the infamous sect of medieval soldier-monks. Photographed standing in a white robe emblazoned with a red cross draped jauntily over his tuxedo, West—a close ally of Donald Trump—tweeted that he had taken “an oath to protect the...