When I turned in my thesis last month, the world seemed to exhale deeply. A great monomania had evaporated, leaving a gaping hole that one’s supposed to think of as room to explore. And yet aside from the standard-grade senioritis, I found myself at a loss for what to do with my freedom.
I once bought into the feel-good canard that what you studied as an undergrad didn’t really matter—but four years later, I have a revision to offer for those coming after me: Study something that teaches you to think in new and unintuitive ways, and immerse yourself in like circles.
While the struggle over Ukraine does indeed pit Western interests against Russian interests however one slices it, America should recognize that Russian realpolitik, when its strategic goals intersect with ours, is a force to be harnessed, rather than repelled altogether.
Within a matter of months, the Israeli government will be expelling between 30,000 and 40,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their traditional villages, razing their homes, and resettling them in state-built townships according to its own semi-private master plan.
But most importantly, I submit that my exercise in political [dys/u]topia is exactly the kind of act of “applied imagination” that a student of history, politics, and culture should be engaging in—infinitely more stimulating and attention-sustaining than Facebook or Gawker, while less time-consuming than writing a political novel.
We’ve all been to yogurtland. The neon-and-antiseptic walls, the nave-like proportions; the blessed infinity of choices. The soulless negative of a charming, family-owned ice cream shop, but less likely to stop your heart. Self-serve frozen yogurt is the undisputed “in” dessert of the global bourgeoisie—but nary a good enough yogurt joint for the job in Harvard Square, the fermented dairy delight’s ideal market.