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My Beijing

my beijing

Grandpa bought the place for cheap back in the sixties, a Communist blessing. Grandpa did good for high-ranking Reds. Black-and-white photographs of him with the Chairman hang where house guests will look.

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noise written in graffiti

I would have to try even harder to get back the silence, not for my own peace of mind but out of respect for the dead.

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Our Father

Chris Hedges (left) and Christian Bauman's father (right)

Entwined contemplations of author Chris Hedges (War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning) and former ad-man Bruce Bauman, and their respective relationships to this essay’s author (a ne’er-do-well novelist and ex-soldier)…

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When Dolls Talk

I was eighteen years old when my daughter, Belinda, was born—a kid having a kid. I didn’t see myself as a kid, of course. That understanding came later.

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In New York City, in the spring of 1999, a story hit the newspapers of a Long Island woman who had given birth to twins–one white and one black. The woman and her husband were white and the black baby was not theirs…

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Video Volunteers for Social Change: A Conversation with Jessica Mayberry


In a global society dominated by corporate media conglomerates and sensationalist news coverage, we forget that underprivileged voices are important not just as means to forwarding various agendas, but as ends in themselves.

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Melville and Bartleby: Facing the End of an Audience

“Bartleby” stages the terrible unworkability of faces, the equally terrible unknowability of our own.

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Hard Canvas

We’re pouring concrete into holes created by IEDs—roadside bombs. The ground in Iraq is extremely hard. A landscaper’s nightmare, it’s not made for digging and planting. Most of the IEDs are set on the top of the ground.

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Death Rattle

This clothing, this changing of the clothes, is not at all like Superman.

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NEUROSCIENCE AND MORAL POLITICS: Chomsky’s Intellectual Progeny

The emerging field of the neuroscience of empathy parallels investigations being undertaken in cognate fields.

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Bubble-gum Cameos, Pop-tab Cars, and Kansa the Buffalo

pull tab car

These people make objects out of everyday things—not just because concrete and junk and chewing gum are cheap, but because they’re there. They work with what they know.

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No Taking Pictures

I take a breath and pop it into my mouth. At least she hasn’t tried to make me eat the fish eyes or chicken feet for sale in the night markets of Taipei.

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Three Interlinked Selections from A Whaler’s Dictionary

Etching is the art that understands that the only way to reach knowledge is to suffer the opposite. Like the whalers on board Pequod, we must cross the line.

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The Commute (Hoboken, 1996)

On June 1, Simon & Schuster/Touchstone released Living on the Edge of the World, an anthology of essays from New Jersey writers about their home state. The book includes original selections from Tom Perrotta (Little Children), Joshua Braff (The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green), Jonathan Ames (Wake Up, Sir!), and many more refugee and remaining Jersey scribes. This brief piece from the anthology is adapted from Christian Bauman’s new novel, In Hoboken (Melville House, March 2008).

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Whale Winds

worlds most endangered whale

Between the coast and the end of the world is what we are here for. Because, here be monsters.

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