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Thomas de Zengotita
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Thomas de Zengotita is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine. He teaches at The Dalton School and the Draper Graduate Program at New York University. His book Mediated was awarded the 2006 Marshall Mcluhan Award for outstanding work in the field from the Media Ecology Association

Entries by Thomas de Zengotita

Malaysia Flight 370 or Russia and Ukraine?

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2014 | 9:36 PM

Malay flight 370 is some kind of random event. However interesting as sheer narrative, it has no long term consequences. Events in Ukraine, Russia, Crimea are evolving, potentially world changing developments.

How to account for the massively disproportionate coverage across every mass media outlet over the last few days?...

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The Rape Politics Trap -- Be Careful, Democrats

(2) Comments | Posted October 29, 2012 | 1:57 PM

A short post here, a word of warning:

Yes, it is a gift, this glimpse of the truth about the Republican right that the looney Richard Mourdock has provided -- and with Akin's "legitimate rape" remark still fresh in many minds. And it is so much fun (for...

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A Two Party System for World Politics

(8) Comments | Posted September 23, 2012 | 4:20 PM

"A woman takes pleasure in being a follower and finds ease in obeying a husband who loves her."

Another pious gem from Focus on the Family? There is that distinctive quasi-pornographic pleasure Dr. Dobson took in the idea of obedience -- for a sample, see...

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Voter Suppression and Our Rigged Tax System: The Underlying Ideology

(11) Comments | Posted August 21, 2012 | 9:34 AM

Remember Leona Helmsley? Among other notable items on her resume, she once justified cheating her country by observing that "only the little people pay taxes." And it was the tone that told the tale, as much as the substance, the same tone as in that more recent...

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After Wisconsin: Race, the 2012 Race, and Beyond

(382) Comments | Posted June 10, 2012 | 5:50 PM

Poor Ed Schultz. The exit poll statistic he couldn't get over was that 37 percent of union households in Wisconsin voted to keep Scott Walker. He thinks Wisconsin is a "wake up call" for unions in general and that they need to get "back to the classroom" with...

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Two Cheers For Our Politically Corrupt Supreme Court...

(302) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 5:22 PM

Why do I say that? I don't mean they are actually on the take. Too Third World. But they are fundamentally corrupt insofar as they tweak every decision they make that bears on politics in favor of the Republican party. That was first made obvious with the Rehnquist Court's 2000...

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Newt, The Planet

(2) Comments | Posted December 18, 2011 | 6:54 PM

It's the least gruesome, but most stunning of the movies in the Lars von Trier oeuvre -- stunning in the original sense of the word, Melancholia, I mean, a merciless cosmic bookend to Terence Malick's salvational Tree of Life. Both...

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Why Romney Will Beat Obama

(1908) Comments | Posted October 14, 2011 | 5:04 PM

Unless something very unexpected happens, something that enables Obama to show real leadership at last, Romney will almost certainly beat him in 2012. The conventional explanation is that the jobs picture is not going to improve much between now and then--and the election will hinge, above all, on the economy....

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Boo-yah America

(1) Comments | Posted April 25, 2011 | 1:22 PM

We all know that most big money interests responsible for the recent financial collapse got off scot free -- and then managed to bounce right back while the rest of us were left holding the bag. "Responsible," in some cases, even means criminally responsible for

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Obama in Tucson: The Question of the Applause

(116) Comments | Posted January 12, 2011 | 9:08 PM

"The heartbreaking events of this weekend," said one young lady, early on in the evening -- one of Gabby's interns. She got a round of enthusiastic applause. It kind of threw me. But it was just one of multiple rounds of applause to come -- they were a constant throughout,...

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Get Inside the Celebrity Factory

(1) Comments | Posted September 26, 2010 | 6:57 PM

I recently got involved in the making of a documentary about celebrity culture called Teenage Paparazzo. It was directed by Adrian Grenier, the star of Entourage on HBO. Adrian is also featured in the movie, which shows in a very personal way what it...

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Did Glenn Beck Fool Taylor Branch -- or What?

(4) Comments | Posted September 7, 2010 | 7:59 PM

Taylor Branch is a progressive to be reckoned with when it comes to documenting the history of the American civil rights movement. That's why I was so shocked to read his account of Glenn Beck's Fox-hyped rally in Washington on the anniversary of King's historic...

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Postmodern Politics and the Ground Zero Mosque Issue

(11) Comments | Posted August 19, 2010 | 6:50 PM

It's been a depressing spectacle. One of the many drawbacks of postmodern political discourse in a mediated age is how quickly and inevitably essentially symbolic "issues" become as real--or even more real, hyper-real--as old-fashioned real issues like tax policy and war. The reason it's so hard to...

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The Rand Paul Opportunity: Hang the Tea Party Albatross Around the GOP's Neck in 2010--Nationwide

(496) Comments | Posted May 23, 2010 | 10:14 PM

What's getting the most attention right now is Dr. Paul on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Bravo Rachel Maddow. And of course that is the most offensive of his loony libertarian literalisms. But that's not what Democrats should focus on going into the November elections. That issue...

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The Arrogance of Catholic Church Authorities

(54) Comments | Posted May 5, 2010 | 11:28 AM

What I want to get to is the unique sense of self-importance that informs some of the language that Churchmen have been using in response to criticism. I don't need to go into just how vile were the deeds--the actual abuse and the cover-ups. Activists among the abused are tending...

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Health Insurance Compared to Auto Insurance; Why the Republican Argument is Bogus

(17) Comments | Posted March 28, 2010 | 5:31 PM

The positive comparison says, yes, it's OK to require people to buy health insurance--we require them to buy auto insurance, don't we?

Republican Attorneys General planning lawsuits are featuring this response: you aren't required to buy a car, that's a choice. So, if you choose to buy...

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We Got Some Kind of Health Care Reform -- Now What?

(13) Comments | Posted March 22, 2010 | 12:19 PM

What is most essential now is creating a "conventional wisdom narrative." Is it going to be that Democrats defied an angry public and rammed this bill through the Congress by manipulating the system -- without a single Republican vote because they were hanging tough? Or is it going to be...

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Who Will Get Out the Vote for Democrats in 2010?

(103) Comments | Posted February 10, 2010 | 2:05 PM

Reality check: Obama carried Massachusetts by 26% in 2008 -- but he couldn't get enough people out to overcome the motivated forces behind Scott Brown. Of course, Brown could have been a pumpkin, it wouldn't have mattered. What got those forces organized was fear of Obama and his Bolshevik-Muslim agenda,...

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Hollywood Politics: Up in the Air

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2009 | 8:30 PM

I feel so ambivalent about the way Hollywood packages progressive messages -- messages I agree with, in substance. But the way they do it, it's a symptom of a basic problem.

The obvious cases are movies about the war in Iraq, from In the Valley of Elah to The Hurt...

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Halloween: Being Somebody

(1) Comments | Posted October 30, 2009 | 10:37 AM

It's a minor holiday--but only Christmas gets more build-up. Partly it's the decorations. In the stores, all over people's porches and yards. It's when the weather really starts to turn, and that's like announcement music in the background of the days. Also, it's for kids--grown-ups pretend, so kids will have...

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