Skip to main content

Politics

Author: The JT LeRoy Story. Directed by Jeff Feuerzeig. Amazon Studios / Magnolia Pictures, 2016. 110 minutes.

Extras

Disgrace is a public phenomenon, defined by public measures—of perception, opinion, consensus. To suffer disgrace is to arouse a collective sense of betrayal, bounds demolished, moral or social compacts violated. Reprieve from disgrace is also a public phenomenon, something a certain kind of documentary makes plain. Having suffered disgrace, occasionally a public individual will sit for a documentary portrait, as both former New York congressman Anthony Weiner and Laura Albert, the writer behind the literary persona JT LeRoy, have recently done. Weiner and Author: The JT LeRoy Story apply documentary means to restorative ends, where a kind of suspense attends the effort to marry a frayed reputation to a private self, disgraceful behavior to mitigating context, image to some more tangible thing. 

Of Movements, Rebellions & Revolutions

A revolution is an opinion that has got its hands on some bayonets. So said Napoleon Bonaparte, who knew about such things. Fair enough: Throughout history, most revolutions have been brought about at the point of a spear or the end of a gun barrel—for, Mohandas Gandhi and Václav Havel notwithstanding, violence often precedes political change.

By Juan Carlos

Prince of Peace

San Salvador’s upstart mayor, Nayib Bukele, has promised a new way forward for a city besieged by decades of violence. His biggest obstacle, however, may not be the city’s gangs, but the city’s idea of itself.

Can Taxes Be Lowered?

I The average citizen thinks of Government as a remote, incorporeal agency, that takes away a large part of his income if he is very rich, and gives him a large part of his income if he is very poor. What the government does with its money is of rel [...]

Election 2004: What Happened?

[Editor's note: This essay was originally delivered as a lecture at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and appears by their courtesy and the author's.] I have no way to prove it statistically, but the 2004 President [...]

Will the Real Mr. Putin Please Stand Up?

The four authors under review here lead us, through a variety of perspectives, from obscure confusion to plausible conclusions. Appropriately, they tell us that to understand the nature of Putin's politics, we must understand the nature of the challenges that face him, and those challenges consist most immediately of the legacy of Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin's legacy is made up largely of four defining moments: (1) the robber-baron style of voucher privatization of 1992, when the apparatchiki/nomenklatura of the doomed Communist Party exploited their threatened positions in the old regime to seize the most advantageous economic assets of the new one; (2) the October 1993 attack on the Duma/parliament, the West's indifference (approval?), and the subsequent design and ratification of the superpresidential constitution; (3) the so-called "loans for shares" compact of 1995–96, whereby the oligarchs/plutocrats/new Russian capitalists financed Yeltsin's reelection campaign with large loans secured by the collateral of still more state property; and finally, (4) the apparently disastrous financial meltdown, default, and currency devaluation of August 1998, which actually served as the bottoming-out base of a lively economic rebound.