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Week 3/1/20

PUBLISHED: March 10, 2020


In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do. 


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Monuments are complacent; they put a seal upon the past, they release us from dread. For Walker dread is an engine: it prompts us to remember and rightly fear the ruins we shouldn’t want to return to, and don’t wish to re-create—if we’re wise. Dread is surely one of the things we want history to cause in us, lest we forget.

But to talk of Walker’s art this way, as if history were its only concern, and our “opinions” about that history its only content, is to traduce the art itself. Much has been written about Kara Walker, too much—journalistic debates about her often threaten to subsume any real attempt to see this work in all its strangeness. (Or to allow it the intimate psychology we simply assume with an artist like, say, Tracey Emin, whose engagement with feminist ideas and feminist art history in no way precludes our noticing the personal.) Walker:

The illusion is that it’s about past events…simply about a particular point in history and nothing else. It’s really part of the ruse that I tend to like to approach the complexities of my own life by distancing myself and finding a parallel in something that’s prettier, more genteel.

Assistant Editor Heidi Siegrist
Excerpt from “What Do We Want History to Do to Us?” in the New York Review of Books


Instead, and accepting that sexism and misogyny were marbled throughout everything about the campaign, I think what did her in was her ideas. She committed herself to a campaign specifically to fight political corruption, both the legal and illegal kind. As an adjunct to that, she marshaled her long fight against the power of money in our politics and monopoly in our economy. And, opposed to Bernie Sanders, whose answer to how to wage the fight is always the power of his “movement,” which so far hasn’t been able to break through against Joe Biden, she put out detailed plans on how to do it. That made her much more of a threat to the money power than Sanders, who is easily dismissed as a fringe socialist by the people who buy elections and own the country.

Director of Center for Media and Citizenship Siva Vaidhyahathan
Excerpt from “Elizabeth Warren Was More of a Threat to the Money Power Than Bernie Sanders” in Esquire


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