ISA HOPKINS

Raconteur. Adventurer. Kimchi Enthusiast.

A White Girl Like You

Forgive me. I have not yet fully worked this all out. But Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn describes the prisoners headed to the Soviet Gulag as waves flowing underground. These waves “provided sewage disposal for the life flowering on the surface.” I understand this to mean that the gulag was not just mindless evil—was not just incomprehensible insanity—but served some sort of productive and knowable purpose. Could it be that believing our police to be constantly.. Read More

To Be A Teacher

There’s a fascinating article in The New Yorker which discusses the notion – the contemporary American religion, perhaps – of performance improvement.  The subject is introduced via a discussion of athletics, where performance (as RBIs or race times or free throw percentages, or whatever the contest may be about) is fairly easily to quantify and compare.   For that alone, the article is interesting enough.  Towards the end, though, there is a turn.. Read More

Come Healing

I wrote this two weeks ago.  I sat on it for a bit but have decided to go ahead and put it into the world now. behold the gates of mercy/an arbitrary space and none of us deserving of the cruelty or the grace… (sincerely, l. cohen.) Like so many others I am surprised by the weight of my reaction to Robin Williams’s suicide; he seemed a fixture in the universe, a font.. Read More

Pride Goes Before…

Generally speaking, I don’t recommend staying up late at night by oneself to watch a television show about a serial killer.  Unless that show is “The Fall.”   “The Fall” is a BBC show with one five-episode season under its belt – barely a blip, by American television standards – and a second due in 2015.  The first series aired last year and is available on Netflix; I’d had it recommended to me.. Read More

The Inheritance of Plunder

Sometimes facts that we’ve known for a long while can become remixed to have new meaning – an “aha” moment, such as it is, and I had one earlier today while watching the film “The Corporation”*.  The history of corporate personhood in the US finds its roots in an 1886 Supreme Court ruling, in a case entitled Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (or, more commonly, Santa Clara).  Corporate personhood was read into the fourteenth amendment.. Read More

A Cry for Classical

Haven’t you heard?  Classical music is dead.  Again.  Another time.   I just put on “Pictures at an Exhibition” (on vinyl, no less) – “Symphony for a New World” was still spinning, restless and soundless on the turntable from which Dvorak had emanated just minutes earlier.  I may still be living on a couch but I’m at my aunt and uncle’s for the moment, and on Saturday my aunt and I – brutally.. Read More

This Is Black Hoodie Rap

A textual collage exploring inspiration, technology, and identity.   On Wednesday night I finally saw “Fruitvale Station” (not out in Australia, at least not yet).  A phenomenal film; an imperfect one, yes, but then perfection is a meaningless concept outside of abstract mathematics anyway.  Some reviewers have come in armored with preconceptions, that this is a Message Movie, or else so programmed by the preponderance of anti-hero narratives that they find a deeply.. Read More

Iron Lady to Iron Throne: Westeros as an Argument for “Society”

This post contains spoilers for all books in “A Song of Ice and Fire” and the entire series to date of “Game of Thrones.”   “There is no such thing as society.  There are only individuals, and families.” -Margaret Thatcher   “I am yours.  And you are mine.” -Ygritte to Jon Snow; Shae to Tyrion; Osha to Bruni (referenced)   You guys.  “Game of Thrones” has been so good this season.   The.. Read More

The Virtues of Foreignness

Is this how it’s supposed to be? Is learning forever winding through these strange and foreign places?  Is study the opposite of home?   –TNC   I’ve been thinking about teaching and learning quite a bit lately (an appropriate reaction when one is, uh, becoming a teacher); I’ve also been very much enjoying Mr. Coates’s missives from Europe, where he has finally ventured after two years of studying French.  I’ve been sharing his.. Read More

Nobody Knows How to Fund This: A Brief History of the Arts

The “Veronica Mars” Kickstarter project has just closed, but the conversations about how it might impact film financing have only just begun.  The idea of bottom-up financing for major projects – with profits going to the rights-owning studio, rather than to the individuals who have invested in the project – is disconcerting, to say the least (it also runs afoul of SEC regulations as written, although the crowdfunding bonanza has them rethinking some of.. Read More