Superman, Fanon, Reality, Foucault, Babe

Mixed-Race Superman

Will Harris | 1st July 2019

“A mixed-race superhero is a contradiction in terms,” because “superheroes build their identity around a clearly established sense of Self (buttressed by its opposition to an evil Other).” The mixed-race experience embodies the fear that “one is too few and two is too many,” that “no single idea can make sense on its own, but no two ideas can be grasped simultaneously.” Keanu Reeves, mixed-race superhero, tries to get us “to see race differently: not as a fixed sign but as a fluid signifier” (897 words)

Frantz Fanon And The CIA Man

Thomas Meaney | The American Historical Review | 4th June 2019

“The image is not lacking in irony: Frantz Fanon, the intellectual father of Third World revolution, lying in a Maryland hospital bed, watched over by a blue-blooded agent of the CIA.” The author tracks the still-living C. Oliver Iselin III (captain of the Harvard crew team, writer for the Lampoon, and student of “colonial history”) to his horse-ranch in Virginia. Iselin claims to have developed a good rapport despite Fanon’s suspicions, though their views of Algeria and its future seem hard to reconcile (6,111 words)

House Hunters

Elizabeth Newcamp | Slate | 20th June 2019

Reality TV is even less real than you think. These participants on House Hunters had already bought the winning home and lived in it for a year before filming; the other houses they consider are actually AirBnBs. The producers demand conflict where none exists; the author is later identified at an airport as “Crazy Bathtub Lady” because of her invented sine qua non, while her husband is eviscerated on Twitter “for not letting his pregnant wife have the house she wanted,” which in fact she already had (2,117 words)

Michel Foucault’s LSD Trip

James Penner | LARB | 17th June 2019

Two young Americans lure Michel Foucault to the Valley of Death for an “epic LSD trip” that could “blow the fuses of the philosopher’s mind.” Foucault experiences “a lengthy bout of indecision” because, unexpectedly, he “had somehow made it through the 1960s without sampling the drug.” Getting “the greatest thinker of our time, perhaps all time” high doesn’t reveal the secrets of the universe, but Foucault enjoys it. “The only thing I can compare this experience to in my life is sex with a stranger” (2,877 words)

The Wild Ride At Babe.Net

Allison P. Davis | The Cut | 23rd June 2019

Obituary for Gen Z women’s tabloid Babe. Writers were given “the old Gawker archives to read in order to nail the tone” because “with an average age of approximately 23” they had rarely “heard of Gawker — much less did they know about its fall.” The author is shown a Potemkin office with fake meetings full of pre-scripted remarks. Eventually, the writers rebel against “racial and gendered power imbalances” and the CEO tries to sell the site “like a failed restaurant with a kitchen all ready to go” (5,557 words)

Video: 9 Ways To Draw A Person. Hypnotic animation by Sasha Svirsky, though not necessarily useful if you actually want to learn to draw a person (6m 29s)

Audio: Utopia In Our Backyard | Nice Try. Race and the suburbs (34m 11s)

“People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories”
— Chinua Achebe

Editor’s Note: Browser Editor Robert Cottrell is taking a well-earned holiday from July 1st to July 14th. During this time, The Browser is being edited by Publisher Uri Bram, with podcast selections by Lindelani Mbatha and videos by Nontsikelelo Mapoma

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