On my BART commute under the bay to and from the City’s financial district, most of the riders around me are on their devices. Scrolling through Facebook (or, as Jorrit calls it, “MyFace”) and Twitter and Instagram feeds. Skimming and clicking through headlines. Messaging with their quick, coordinated thumbs, tapping or drawing cursive geometries across […]

In this era of post-truth politics, I’ve heard over and over again from those I’m predisposed to listen to the urge to “take back the narrative.” The Moral Majority: take back the narrative. Obamacare: take back the narrative. Entitlement programs: take back the narrative. Free speech: take back the narrative. The ubiquity of the expression, […]

On the other side of Ways of Seeing, I’ve been thinking about how the activity of figure drawing could be an antidote to the visual language of publicity. Surely, formal figure drawing sessions use a set visual vocabulary that belongs to the tradition of oil painting Berger connects to advertisement; the models I’ve drawn usually […]

Walking around the cemetery where the Black Dahlia’s buried, my friend and I talked about romantic love again. I’d revived the topic with him because it’d been poking me and he is one of the few who can remain earnest and uncynical in the face of themes so large, so muddied, so prone to platitudes, […]

“You hear that?” I asked Jorrit as we basked at our Beals Point campsite after breakfast. “That’s the sound of industry and birdsong.” Somewhere a utility vehicle’s back-up beeper was sounding off. The traffic on Auburn-Folsom thrummed, the mean hum lumped only by the whine of speeders and the volcanic farts of beaters and motorcycles. And the birds spoke […]

The drama of my first real love, who is also my love now, is almost epic, with hungry trysts and horrible rows in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Nashville, Groningen, Utrecht, Seoul, Paris, London, Stockholm, the wet borderland two-thirds way down Sweden and Norway, Californian deserts and forests and coastal trails and towns. But I won’t go […]

“My liberation is your liberation and your liberation is my liberation and my liberation is your liberation […]” —Protest chant “But I still believe that the unexamined life is not worth living: and I know that self-delusion, in the service of no matter what small or lofty cause, is a price no writer can afford. His […]