For all the crude xenophobic placards and slogans at this week’s Russian March, one stood out for its—dare I say—cleverness.
“The good half of the population already hates the regime. Soon you will get to know the bad half,” read a sign carried by a marcher.
Not only was it clever, but it also rang true. In a recent editorial, Gazeta.ru wrote that “for the first time, nationalist marches are taking on an oppositionist character.”
After years of successfully manipulating nationalists for their own purposes and cultivating xenophobia among the population, the Kremlin is now standing face-to-face with the monster it helped create. “Those nationalists who did not join up with the authorities in time attached themselves to the protest movement—you have to avoid your own marginalization somehow,” political analyst Andrei Kolesnikov wrote in arecent commentary.
In addition to the predictable chants of “Russia for Russians,” “Stop Feeding the Caucasus,” and various anti-migrant diatribes at this year’s Russian March, there were plenty of calls for the end of Vladimir Putin’s “Chekist regime.”
Read more. [Image: Maxim Shemetov/Reuters]
Jason Parkinson, a 29-year-old electrician from Cleveland, doesn’t consider it much of a handicap that he never obtained a four-year college degree after high school. “It doesn’t do any good anymore,” he says. “You get a four-year degree, you work at a fast-food restaurant. You can go to trades and manufacturing…. I’m not big on going to college for a career that might not even be there in 10 years.”
Jose Stathas, a 47-year-old assistant to the owner at a pottery company in Buena Park, Calif., didn’t finish college either, but he believes he would be better off if he had. “I don’t have a four-year degree, and I’ve learned the hard way that it can affect how much you make,” he says. “It gives you opportunities to get jobs in the competitive marketplace we have now.”
Those contrasting responses from Parkinson, who is white, and Stathas, who is Hispanic, point to one of the most intriguing findings in a new College Board/National Journal Next America Poll. While minorities worry more than whites about affording the cost of higher education, they are more likely to see a payoff from the investment for themselves and for the country overall.
The survey, which measures assessments of the pathways to opportunity, found broad agreement among whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asian-Americans that the U.S. still provides young people from any racial background an adequate chance to succeed—and that the primary and secondary schools in their neighborhood are preparing them to do so. But on several fronts, the poll said minorities were considerably more optimistic than whites that more access to education will mean more opportunity, both personally and throughout the economy.
Read more. [Image: Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters]
A Pussy Riot member imprisoned at a Russian camp hasn’t been heard from for 10 days, her family has said.
Nadya Tolokonnikova was moved from her prison colony in the Russian republic of Mordovia on 21 October. She is currently serving two years for her band’s performance of a crude song in a Moscow church in February 2012.
In 1964, LIFE photographer Michael Rougier chronicled Japanese youth in rebellion, and came away with an intimate, unsettling portrait of a generation willfully hurtling toward oblivion.
(Photo: Michael Rougier—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Writers who have day jobs outside the literature industry aren’t a new thing. Oscar Wilde wrote, “The best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for their daily bread and the highest form of literature, Poetry, brings no wealth to the singer.” Essays at The Millions, Ploughshares, and elsewhere feature stories of folks who have made the double life of writer and Joe or Jane Worker fruitful and rewarding. Short story writer Lorrie Moore wrote, “First, try to be something, anything, else,” in her essay “How to Be a Writer.”
Poet Amy Woolard, named one of the 50 Best News Poets of 2013 by Best New Poets editor Brenda Shaughnessy, has tried “something, anything, else”—including, most recently, working as a child-welfare lawyer. But she has also kept writing. I spoke with her about what it’s like to maintain a career in poetry while also maintaining a demanding, white-collar day job. A condensed, edited version of that email conversation follows.
Read more. [Image: Flickr/Tony Hall]
When historians write about the civil-liberties crisis of this decade, the story will be full of vivid figures—Bradley, now Chelsea, Manning, the fragile soldier who broke in a battle zone and has paid a high price; Edward Snowden, the high-school dropout who did a data-dump of the government’s deepest secrets and ended up cowering in Sheremetyevo Airport; Julian Assange, the flawed prophet of global leaks seeking refuge from sex-abuse charges in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
But if there is any good outcome to the current miserable situation, it will also be the work of a figure a who is a good deal less colorful but much more durable: Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.
For years before the Snowden leaks, the Democratic lawmaker had been carefully balancing two imperatives: his own oath as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee to keep the secrets conveyed in confidence to the committee; and his larger commitment to the American people, who were being fed a diet of soothing lies.
Ideally, the committee would represent the people, advocating their interests behind closed doors. But, Wyden says, “Congress can’t do vigorous oversight if they can’t get straight answers.”
Read more. [Image: Cliff Owen/Associated Press]
John Clellon Holmes, author of the seminal Beat Generation novel Go, wrote in 1952 that for the free-spirited rising stars of American literature known as the Beats, “how to live seems to them much more crucial than why.” In those years, young people in the U.S. were in the process of inheriting both economic prosperity and stifling societal mores from their parents. So for many, the Beat Generation of writers—with their stupendous refusal of social and cultural norms and their way of life governed by the pursuit of pleasure, belief, and truth—was a godsend.
Today’s young people experience problems of a bit of a different ilk. Feeling free and adventurous won’t avail you of your student loan debt, poems penned in the days between drug-fueled nights probably won’t make it into your favorite lit mag—and, if they did, you’d probably be asked to write for free anyway, you know, “for the exposure.” But this hasn’t stopped a veritable resurgence over the last few years of Beat obsession, beginning with the film Howl (2010), and continuing with On the Road (2012) and two new films, Kill Your Darlings, in theaters today, and Big Sur, opening November 1. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg—the authors of On the Road and Howl, respectively—have been the focus of two films each.
Read more. [Image: Sony Pictures]
A new global report (pdf) by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development finds that Americans rank well below the worldwide average in just about every measure of skill. In math, reading, and technology-driven problem-solving, the United States performed worse than nearly every other country in the group of developed nations.
Read more. [Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures]