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In Conversation

An American Griot: Gil Scott-Heron with Don Geesling

I played for Shirley Chisholm, I played for Ken Gibson, I played for anybody who was trying to do something positive for black people—just count me in and I’ll be there,” Scott-Heron says.


Living in New York has changed my language. That, more than anything has signified the difference between home and here. Home, Cape Town, a twenty-five hour flight and two security checks away, means different food, slower internet connections, more obvious racial segregation, interfering aunties and a constant awareness of one’s physical safety. Those are the clear differences, the ones I can weigh and see and hold.

Weapons of the Weak?

The United States government has two full statistical agencies monitoring the state of the economy, another monitoring our agriculture and yet another to monitor our education.

A Real Man of War

Given the degree to which Iraq and Afghanistan have disintegrated into little more than venues for stomach-turning violence, corporate plunder, and doomed efforts at state-building, it’s surprising to find someone outside the West Wing still clinging to the false promise of American Empire. And yet here he stands: Robert Kaplan, beltway darling and correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, arguing in his new book for a greater application of American military involvement overseas.

In Conversation

New Orleans’ African Retentions: Willie Birch with Billy Sothern

“In New Orleans, you still hear those drum beats coming out of Congo Square,” says Birch.

Docs In Sight

Starving the Christmas Beast: Rob VanAlkemade with Williams Cole

Rob VanAlkemade is the director of What Would Jesus Buy?, a film about performance artist/activist Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping that is produced by Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me! fame. The message of What Would Jesus Buy is clear as the blond shock of hair on the top of the Reverend’s head—time to take a step back from consumption at a time of year when buying is the primary activity.

Alumni Week

A friend of mine hooked me up with Dr. Groovy. I’d been plagued by a mild, but enduring fever and a persistent tingling feeling behind my left ear; the word encephalopathy was in the air that summer. I’d just moved back to New York and my old doctor had developed a sudden attitude about overdue payments, so I was grateful for the referral.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2007

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