September 13, 2021
Annals of Activism
Who Lost the Sex Wars?
Fissures in the feminist movement should not be buried as signs of failure but worked through as opportunities for insight.
The Education of a Part-Time Punk
Learning to love music—and to hate it, too.
A Reporter at Large
The Other Afghan Women
In the countryside, the endless killing of civilians turned women against the occupiers who claimed to be helping them.
Can Progressives Be Convinced That Genetics Matters?
The behavior geneticist Kathryn Paige Harden is waging a two-front campaign: on her left are those who assume that genes are irrelevant, on her right those who insist that they’re everything.
Did Making the Rules of War Better Make the World Worse?
Why efforts to curb the cruelty of military force may have backfired.
A Cautionary Tale About Science Raises Uncomfortable Questions About Fiction
Benjamín Labatut’s Sebaldian “When We Cease to Understand the World” grapples with science’s moral quandaries, but what is real and what is imagined?
“The Love Songs of W. E. B. Du Bois,” “Radiant Fugitives,” “Bolla,” and “Somebody Else Sold the World.”
The Messy Introspection of Spike Lee’s “NYC Epicenters”
The original cut of the HBO documentary, which featured debunked 9/11 conspiracy theories, would have been a career-defining offense. And yet it may have inadvertently captured our collective psyche.
The Current Cinema
The Smell of Villainy Wafts Compellingly Through “Azor”
Set during Argentina’s Dirty War, Andreas Fontana’s remarkable début feature avoids overt horrors, preferring to coolly examine the inexhaustible human talent for averting one’s gaze.
The Talk of the Town
Steve Coll on the defeat in Afghanistan; the storm oracle of New Orleans; vaccine passports; Paul Schrader; Woniya Thibeault’s survival skills.
The Lessons of Defeat in Afghanistan
After twenty years, it hardly needs saying that America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were disastrous to U.S. interests and standing.
New Orleans Postcard
The Storm Oracle of New Orleans
After a twelve-hour shift on the air, the Louisiana meteorologist Margaret Orr gives out individualized advice to residents, who once celebrated her forecasting with a Mardi Gras float featuring a massive replica of her head.
San Francisco Postcard
Checkpoint Charlie, but for Panda Express
A commuter spends a day navigating bureaucracy and presenting papers in San Francisco, the first major American city to require full vaccination for indoor activities.
For Paul Schrader, It All Started on Pauline Kael’s Sofa
The director’s “The Card Counter,” starring Oscar Isaac, features the latest in a long line of troubled loners stretching back to “Taxi Driver” ’s Travis Bickle.
A Gwyneth for the Survivalist Set
Want to sew a buckskin skirt? Eat stinging nettles and roadkill for lunch? Tired of staring at screens, throngs of urban professionals have been signing up for Woniya Thibeault’s ancestral-skills Webinars.
More Talk of the Town
Shouts & Murmurs
Wedding Update: It’s Still On!
Check in to the Marriott, log into the Zoom dance party, and get ready for the Rapid-Test Roast!
More Shouts & Murmurs
“The Monkey Who Speaks”
“Has she grown to love Roscoe, a year on? Part of being a health aide is the emotional outlay.”
Puzzles & Games Dept.
The Crossword: Wednesday, September 1, 2021
A moderately challenging puzzle.
“You never know, / would listeners, if any came, be ready / to forget about themselves.”
“To be a train station of existence is no small matter.”
Goings On About Town
The Musical Art of “Sun & Sea,” at BAM
In a theatrical installation directed by Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, the cast lies on a beach onstage, addressing climate change without pedantry.
Tables for Two
Taking Care with Babushka Classics, at Tzarevna
Compared with ostentatious Russian-inspired establishments, this modern, elegantly minimalist restaurant on the Lower East Side—where the focus lies on the food, which is superlative—comes as a kind of spiritual relief.
More Goings On About Town
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