Recent blog posts

  • Revolutionary at a Crossroads

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    This year marks the 20th anniversary since South Africa's first democratic elections, which in 1994 drove the final nail into the coffin of Apartheid. To commemorate this event and measure the depth of racial healing between blacks and whites in "The New South Africa," longtime Mantle correspondent Michael J.

  • A Racist Epithet: Out of the Closet - And Into Our Film

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    This year marks the 20th anniversary since South Africa's first democratic elections, which in 1994 drove the final nail into the coffin of Apartheid. To commemorate this event and measure the depth of racial healing between blacks and whites in "The New South Africa," longtime Mantle correspondent Michael J. Jordan launched a documentary-film project, The Clubhouse: A Post-Apartheid Story. Below is Part 2 of his six-part travelogue from his recent production trip, on the making of this film.

  • After the Sewol Tragedy: A Moment of Introspection

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    Relative of a Sewol Ferry victim (Photo: AP)

    (아래, 한국어로 읽으시오)

  • With Reputation at Risk, Racism to the Rescue

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    This year marks the 20th anniversary since South Africa's first democratic elections, which in 1994 drove the final nail into the coffin of Apartheid. To commemorate this event and measure the depth of racial healing between blacks and whites in "The New South Africa," longtime Mantle correspondent Michael J. Jordan launched a documentary-film project, The Clubhouse: A Post-Apartheid Story. Below is Part 1 of his six-part travelogue from his recent production trip, on the making of this film.

  • Reading Red Spectres: Russian Gothic Tales

    Thursday, July 17, 2014

  • The Internet Killed Nostalgia

    Monday, July 14, 2014

    James Wolcott made me hate my computer this week when he put nostaliga in perspective

    Nostalgia isn’t the worst narcotic, but it used to feed a different vein. It was both generational and individual, a distillation of personal experience as unrecoverable as blushing youth. When F. Scott Fitzgerald, the dewiest prose lyricist of the Jazz Age, peered back at the reckless abandon and champagne fizz of the 20s through the clouded curtains of the Depression-era 30s, he elegized himself, Zelda, and the rest of his strewn generation for who they were and what they did. Sixties nostalgia operated that way too, the pang of regret over who so many of them were (rebels, hippies, wanderers, crusaders) and what they became (reactionaries, office drones, commuters, cynics). In our media-saturated age, when every couch potato is king, this mode of nostalgia no longer applies. It isn’t about who we aspired to be as fledglings leaving the nest—full of hopes and dreams and boogying hormones—but about what we watched, played, listened to, downloaded, and identified with as junior consumers. Before the Web became our neural extension, when print and celluloid held reign, the passage of time and the discrimination of critics and enthusiasts winnowed away the flotsam and jetsam of the past, allowing its true achievements and revelatory visions (even those unheralded or derided at the time) to surface and radiate. The Internet, however, is an inexhaustible suction pump that indiscriminately dredges up the dreck along with the sunken pearls. Search engines are scouring devices, algorithms have no taste buds, and monster Web-site aggregators such as BuzzFeed—which one writer called the Hellmouth of 90s nostalgifying, with its inane quizzes (“Which ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Character Are You?”) and dipstick listicles (“32 Reasons Christmas Was Better in the ’90s”)—are to curating what hoarders are to connoisseurship.

    Everyone knows everyone. Everyone knows everything. And if they don't, they can twiddle their thumbs and be Moses. Word to James Murphy, we've all lost our cool. 

     

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  • Available for Reviews and Interviews

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    Books Available

    If you are a reviewer, The Mantle welcomes your pitches for book reviews. Please direct queries to World Literature Editor Ariell Cacciola (ariell.cacciola[at]gmail.com) with the e-mail subject: THE MANTLE - BOOK REVIEW. We consider reviews for all works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The Mantle has a special emphasis on world literature, but reviews are not limited to international literature. If in doubt, please read previous articles on our site.

  • What Is Sensation Fiction?

    Thursday, July 10, 2014

  • Why Mexico Needs Comedy, Now More Than Ever

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014

    Comedy works in mysterious ways, I always say. If you get the joke, it is because you recognize the reference to the phrase: "God works in mysterious ways." And not only do you know the reference but you also have a sense of humor. Maybe you associate the phrase with something that has happened to you, and this makes the joke personal. Comedy plays off the audience’s background, their experiences, what they know and believe.

  • Outside, Inside

    Thursday, July 3, 2014

    “Of all the specific liberties which might come into our minds when we hear the word ‘freedom’, freedom of movement is historically the oldest and also the most elementary. Being able to depart for where we will is the prototypal gesture of being free, as limitation of freedom of movement has from time immemorial been the precondition for enslavement.”Hannah Arendt

  • Finding Sisyphus in 'Chile'

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014

    The Idleness of Sisyphus (1981) by Sandro Chia

    He was sixteen—or maybe he was eighteen—years-old when he started stealing paperback books in Mexico City. Books by Max Beerbohm, Samuel Pepys, Amado Nervo, and others were purloined by this bookworm. It’s hard to tell which of these writers had a lasting effect on the teenager who would become one of Latin America’s literary giants.

  • The Archimedean Point

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    Installation views: Joana Kohen. "Untitled I" & "Untitled 2", polyester and stitch on hand-made cotton paper, 86X91 e/o (2014); "A Robber Who Broke Into Hair Salon Is Beaten By Its Female Owner And Kept As A Sex Slave For Three Days He Was Fed Nothing But Viagra", 83.5X159X2 (2014).

  • World Cup Round of 16 Posters

    Monday, June 30, 2014

     

    Check out the rest here.

  • What's in a Name? ISIS vs ISIL

    Thursday, June 26, 2014

    Pro-ISIL demontrators in Mosul on Monday June 16, 2014 (via)

  • A Lament for the Independents in Lebanon

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam (center) casts his vote to elect the new Lebanese president in the parliament building in downtown Beirut on April 23, 2014. (Photo: AFP-Joseph Eid)

  • Thought Scores / 8

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Untitled (2014) by Julie Maroh; acrylic on paper

    This one is for my friends, who understand this madness.

  • Damascus, Beirut

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    [Husain Tarabie]

  • Mapping Unstable Objects

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014

    [Kamrooz Aram at Green Art] 

  • Bringing Fresh Eyes to U.S. Foreign Policy

    Monday, May 12, 2014

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry

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