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National Interests [private]

On July 30, 2020, we invited Anuradha Bhagwati, Jamelle Bouie, Tressie McMillan Cottom, and Jason Stanley to discuss our current state of affairs and a few of the larger political themes that animate them.

Rumor vs. Gossip

“It’s just a rumor that was spread around town,” opens the chorus of Elvis Costello’s elegiac 1982 song “Shipbuilding,” best known in its rendition by Robert Wyatt: The shipyard will soon reopen, for a war is starting, and British boys will soon be “diving for dear life / when we could be diving for pearls.”


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Illustration by Ina Jang

The Male Glance

In the spring of 2013, HBO conducted a sly experiment on the “elite” TV-viewing public. It aired two new shows—both buddy dramas—back to back. Each was conceived as a short self-contained season, limited by design to a small number of episodes. Each had a single talented and idiosyncratic director for the entire season, and each dispensed with the writers’ room in favor of a unified authorial vision. 

Sacred Objects

I’m driving down to Tennessee, but before I get there, I stop at the Kentucky state line to fuel up and pee. The dog’s in the car and the weather’s fine. As I pump the gas a man in his black Ford F150 yells out his window about my body. I actually can’t remember what it was.

My Life as a Girl

I’m a man, but I like dressing up as a woman, in women’s clothes, wearing lipstick and bracelets and bright rings and women’s shoes.