Thomas Pynchon’s “The Secret Integration” and The Saturday Evening Post
Terry Reilly

Thomas Pynchon’s writing can be seen as a series of interlocking puzzles. The texts themselves have been regarded as “dense,” difficult,” and “confusing,” or, to paraphrase Tony Tanner’s description of the narrative of Gravity’s Rainbow, sometimes it’s hard to tell if we’re reading about a bombed-out building or a bombed-out mind.


Naïve minds think that the office of kingship lodges in the king himself, in his ermine cloak and his crown, in his bones and veins. As a matter of fact, the office of kingship is an interrelation between people.

If You Make It Trend, You Make It True
Renée DiResta

The pioneering public relations consultant Edward Bernays’s words are nearly a century old, but today, in an era of rampant misinformation and insidious disinformation campaigns online, they seem startlingly apt. The rulers Bernays was talking about were public relations specialists, and at the time propaganda was not a pejorative.

Reginald Dwayne Betts

This is a story I tell myself about who I am, a story that, in the nature of all telling, conceals as much as it reveals. I am an ex-convict. A felon. Formerly an inmate. When people call me formerly incarcerated or a returning citizen, I do not feel like they are less likely to deny me employment, or housing, or to shake my hand.

Francine Prose

For many years, I used to harbor mixed feelings about Leni Riefenstahl’s films. That continuum ranged quite widely, from visceral revulsion to a grudging admiration for her most well-known works: Triumph of the Will, her poetic and dramatic record of the spectacular 1934 Nuremberg rally, and Olympiad  .  .  .

Jabari Asim

In my childhood home, we were not allowed to call each other liars. It fueled my father’s indignation. Slung with the casual malice that only bickering siblings can summon, Liar! somehow set off a warning beacon, alerting my father wherever he was.

Cailin O’Connor
James Owen Weatherall

Roger Revelle was one of the most distinguished oceanographers of the twentieth century. During World War II, he served in the navy, eventually rising to the rank of commander and director of the Office of Naval Research–a scientific arm of the navy that Revelle helped create.

Frederick Douglass
David W. Blight

Late in 1854, and especially during the first half of 1855, Frederick Douglass spent many weeks at his desk writing his ultimate declaration of independence, My Bondage and My Freedom, his second, more thorough and revealing autobiography.

Deborah Baker

Hatibagan, 139 Cornwallis Street, Calcutta, Early Twentieth Century

Calcutta, the capital of the province of Bengal, was once known as the Second City of Empire. Like London, the First City of Empire, it sat astride a river, the Hooghly, that carried traffic rivaling the Thames.

Tom Sleigh


I wanted to blow up the tanks of words, the RPGs of words, the bayonets of words that had only

one definition, one derivation, one root that went back before  .  .  .