ISA HOPKINS

Raconteur. Adventurer. Kimchi Enthusiast.

How does the rest of the world view the government shutdown?   And right now, they look at the stalemate in Washington the same way they look at the periodic gun massacres that afflict the United States: with a bafflement that America, mighty America, for so long the most innovative, creative, energetic society on the planet, cannot solve problems that smaller, poorer, feebler countries cracked long ago.   –NYRB   America’s sense of.. Read More

Duly Noted

I’ve been negligent in my linking duties around here lately.  Chalk it up to a summer of adventure.   And now, some of the backlog:   – Democracy is not a steady-state condition.   – The Boston Marathon bomber, Trayvon Martin, image, physicality, criminality: what does it mean to “look like a monster”, anyway?   – Taking stock of the two-state solution.   – A morning-after HIV pill exists.   – Remember when.. Read More

Duly Noted

Couple points of interest: – Legislative misuse of graphics can be entertaining.   – How the NSA surveillance program fits into a post-9/11 authoritarian paradigm.   – Documenting gun violence: homicides, suicides, and accidents.   – Perhaps the most perfect example of America’s dysfunctional health care system: childbirth.   – White privilege in a couple of nutshells: the idea that being called racist for one’s racist behavior is somehow a greater injury than.. Read More

Duly Noted

To keep you occupied over the holiday weekend:   – A fascinating (and vitally important) detailing of the process by which laws are actually enacted.  It’s not short, but then, it is a complicated process, and one in which significant pieces of publicly supported legislation endure dramatic alterations in often-underreported fashion.   – Who has two thumbs and is super amped for the S3 “Game of Thrones” premiere?  LOTS OF PEOPLE!  Including this.. Read More

The Calculus of Courage

Do you read Zen Habits?  The Minimalists?  The Four-Hour Workweek?  Any one of dozens – hundreds – of other blogs purporting to simplify your life, to offer solutions towards a stripped-down, out-of-the-rat-race kind of happiness?   These blogs tend to share a few common characteristics: namely, they’re written by successful white guys.  By “successful,” I don’t just mean guys who have been successful at writing blogs – I mean guys who had achieved.. Read More

Activism in Action

I haven’t seen “Enlightened,” but I’m intrigued now: apparently, it fully explores the consequences of standing up against an entrenched interest.  All too often stories of activism are presented simplistically, in the vein of “Erin Brockovich,” wherein the activist struggles but is ultimately triumphant; rarer are the stories in which the activist is ultimately beaten down by their own sacrifice, in which they must grapple with whether or not their actions had any.. Read More

Duly Noted

Lots of interesting things have been making their way through my browser lately:   – Retirement as Ratzinger’s most progressive legacy.   – Reconceptualizing the way we think and talk about sex… with a metaphor which actually implies – nay, requires! – the agency and consent of all participants.   – As a comedian, I find it enormously tiresome when people claim “BUT IT’S COMEDY!” as a way to excuse all kinds of.. Read More

Blasts From the Past

I’ve been going through past writing and trying to put things where they need to go.  What follows are two pieces that I wrote almost five years ago, before this blog even existed – the specifics, of Prop 8 or the Obama/McCain election, are no longer relevant, but the broader political themes are still very much at issue.  The latter two entries are on the matter of theoretical architecture, the most enduring of.. Read More

The Princess Diaries

I just saw Sofia Coppola’s “Marie Antoinette,” a film that manages to be lightweight, ahistorical, and yet weighted with deep truths about royalty all at once.  How does it pull off this bizarre trifecta?  Well, by taking as its subject a female royal: while kings, emperors, and tsars were leaders of nations, the women who wore crowns were almost unanimously empty vessels; their purpose in life was to be a decorative womb.  (There.. Read More