"We no longer like to think about bureaucracy, yet it informs every aspect of our existence. It’s as if, as a planetary civilization, we have decided to clap our hands over our ears and start humming whenever the topic comes up. Insofar as we are even willing to discuss it, it’s still in the terms popular in the sixties and early seventies. The social movements of the sixties were, on the whole, left-wing in inspiration, but they were also rebellions against bureaucracy, or, to put it more accurately, rebellions against the bureaucratic mindset, against the soul-destroying conformity of the postwar welfare states. In the face of the gray functionaries of both state-capitalist and state-socialist regimes, sixties rebels stood for individual expression and spontaneous conviviality, and against (“rules and regulations, who needs them?”) every form of social control. 

With the collapse of the old welfare states, all this has come to seem decidedly quaint. As the language of antibureaucratic individualism has been adopted, with increasing ferocity, by the Right, which insists on “market solutions” to every social problem, the mainstream Left has increasingly reduced itself to fighting a kind of pathetic rearguard action, trying to salvage remnants of the old welfare state: it has acquiesced with—often even spearheaded—attempts to make government efforts more “efficient” through the partial privatization of services and the incorporation of ever-more “market principles,” “market incentives,” and market-based “accountability processes” into the structure of the bureaucracy itself. 

The result is a political catastrophe. There’s really no other way to put it. What is presented as the “moderate” Left solution to any social problems—and radical left solutions are, almost everywhere now, ruled out tout court—has invariably come to be some nightmare fusion of the worst elements of bureaucracy and the worst elements of capitalism. It’s as if someone had consciously tried to create the least appealing possible political position. It is a testimony to the genuine lingering power of leftist ideals that anyone would even consider voting for a party that promoted this sort of thing—because surely, if they do, it’s not because they actually think these are good policies, but because these are the only policies anyone who identifies themselves as left-of-center is allowed to set forth. 

Is there any wonder, then, that every time there is a social crisis, it is the Right, rather than the Left, which becomes the venue for the expression of popular anger?

 The Right, at least, has a critique of bureaucracy. It’s not a very good one. But at least it exists. The Left has none. As a result, when those who identify with the Left do have anything negative to say about bureaucracy, they are usually forced toadopt a watered-down version of the right-wing critique.”

Read David Graeber, guys.

(photo courtesy of the great and powerful openbookstore)

    That year, Harry and Neville celebrated their birthdays together. The Leaky Cauldron was packed; every seat, counter, and potted plant was taken. At 11:59 PM, Ron raised his butterbeer, joined by forty others in the crowd. “To the new king of Gryffindor!” He slapped Neville’s shoulder, and the brass crown slipped off the grinning birthday man’s head. The announcement had arrived yesterday: Neville was the new Gryffindor Head of House.
    The mechanical dragon on the clock pendulum roared, signaling midnight. Ginny pushed Harry up onto the raised hearth, next to Neville. Dean and Seamus was hoisting a goalpost-sized treacle tart through the crowd as Neville raised a new toast. “And to Harry! Still saving the world!”
    Harry protested the statement, but no one heard him over the cheers. Ron handed him a new mug. “Just take it, mate. Honestly, youngest Head Auror in Ministry history. I reckon you’re doomed to make the rest of us look bad.”


"The New World Series I &II" | Anonymous Places of the 20th Century

Design: Robert G. Achtel & Jens Bambauer of Geebird&Bamby | Limited editions of 100 per piece, PLEXIGLAS sealed Kodak exposures, laminated on DIBOND

"The New World" revisits anonymous places of the 20th century. It is set in a time characterized by the conflict of Modernist and Postmodernist convictions, its influence on later 20th century history, and ultimately, the world we live in today. - Via: 1 | 2

***Thank you to our reader, Steve!***

It’s very strange, seeing the Great Hall half-empty. Even more empty now that so many have gone home for the holidays. So many gone, though, not home but elsewhere. So many gone, to Beauxbatons, to Durmstrang.

So many dead.

But Flitwick and she have spent the whole day, enchanting the Great Hall so that it snows gently, with the snowflakes melting and disappearing just before they reach the tables and everything is beautiful and the students are all smiling and laughing as they file into the hall. Some of them pause to ooh and ah over the snow and the brightly lit tree in the corner. They are so young. Uncomplicatedly happy. Untouched, or as untouched as they can ever be, by memories of the war.

That is not a burden for them to bear. They have not, after all, walked these halls for fifty odd years and seen generation after generation walk through them. Children, just like them, laughing and marveling at whatever delicate intricacies they had managed to conjure up by the way of decoration.

(Delicate coloured lights that hung suspended and turned the hall a glorious mix of reds and blues and greens and purples. Ice sculptures. Four hundred blazing candles, for each student. The stars on the roof, enchanted to enact the myths and stories they were named after.)

Children who then grew into young men and women, whose funerals she had all attended.

Such morose thoughts, on Christmas day.

Her lips twist into a smile, seeing these children laugh, the fear and the terror of the previous year long forgotten. A promising bunch. Resilient, as they all had to be, now more so than ever. All brave, not merely her own. All laughing with friends and for once, there is peace in her heart, because there is no threat. No danger, no promise of death hanging over their heads.

This is what Christmas is for, she thinks. A pause between one year and the next, to look back at the year and forget the shadows and remember only the light. Age, it seems, brings wisdom that is self-evident to the young.

“A knut for your thoughts, Minerva,” says Slughorn leaning over, “You look far too serious for a Christmas feast.”

She shakes herself, “Oh this and that. That they all look so happy.”

“Ah, that they do. They’re a very bright bunch, this year. Great promise.”

Minerva McGonagall smiles, “Aye. And wiser than we have ever been.”

Slughorn looks at her strangely, then shakes his head and continues drinking his soup.

The night passes and they break open their crackers and later on, with the rest of the staff, they share a drink or two and sing their old favourite carols, albeit drunkenly and Christmas, 1998, passes and everyone sleeps – or passes out – with a smile on their face.

(For minerrvas.)

closes Jan 7:

ZERO: Countdown to Tomorrow, 1950s–60s

Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Ave., NYC (at 89th St)

first large-scale historical survey in the United States dedicated to the German artists’ group Zero and ZERO, an international network of artists that shared the group’s aspiration to redefine and transform art in the aftermath of World War II. Featuring more than 40 artists from 10 countries, the exhibition highlights the points of intersection, exchange, and collaboration that defined these artists’ shared history. “One of the most experimental of all postwar European art tendencies finally receives a full-dress survey in an American museum, one that was built and opened during its first flowering. While the work’s pursuit of newness — moving parts, mirrored surfaces and glowing lights — wears thin, the seamless pairing of exhibition and architecture is perfect. Both seem alternately radical and quaint.” — Roberta Smith, NY Times

pictured: Otto Piene, Light Ballet (Lichtballett), 1961–69

Gryffindor’s graduating class of 1999 are known across the country, and for good reason. By now every witch, wizard and squib has heard the story of the so-called ‘Golden Trio’ of Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, and how they sacrificed their teenage years to save the world. Recent data has shown that, during the past decade, Hogwarts’ exam results hit a record low, and commentators have questioned the school’s latest generation’s prospects as the future of our fine nation. However, the graduating students of one very golden house have defied all the odds to prove beyond a doubt that Britain is in very capable hands. The Daily Prophet caught up with five Gryffindor graduates and found out what they had been up to since leaving the school.

Keep reading

When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon’s founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the American west.

Waddles Coffee Shop in Portland, Oregon was a popular restaurant in the 1950s for both locals and travelers alike. The drive-in catered to America’s postwar obsession with car culture, allowing people to get coffee and a slice of pie without even leaving their vehicle. But if you happened to be black, the owners of Waddles implored you to keep on driving. The restaurant had a sign outside with a very clear message: “White Trade Only — Please.”

It’s the kind of scene from the 1950s that’s so hard for many Americans to imagine happening outside of the Jim Crow South. How could a progressive, northern city like Portland have allowed a restaurant to exclude non-white patrons? This had to be an anomaly, right? In reality it was far too common in Oregon, a state that was explicitly founded as a kind of white utopia.

America’s history of racial discrimination is most commonly taught as a southern issue. That’s certainly how I learned about it while going to Minnesota public schools in the 1980s and 90s. White people outside of the South seem to learn about the Civil War and civil rights movements from an incredibly safe (and often judgmental) distance.

Racism was generally framed as something that happened in the past and almost always “down there.” We learned about the struggles for racial equality in cities like Birmingham and Selma and Montgomery. But what about the racism of Portland, Oregon, a city that is still overwhelmingly white? The struggles there were just as intense — though they are rarely identified in the history books.

According to Oregon’s founding constitution, black people were not permitted to live in the state. And that held true until 1926. The small number of black people already living in the state in 1859, when it was admitted to the Union, were sometimes allowed to stay, but the next century of segregation and terrorism at the hands of angry racists made it clear that they were not welcome.

Thank Merlin that hippogriff sliced his cheek in the last raid or else Harry wouldn’t have a scapegoat for Skeeter. The scar was nasty, but at least Skeeter didn’t notice him scratching the back of his neck every two minutes. That darned unicorn joke tattoo James had slapped on him when he dozed off post-dinner had the itchiest sparkle charm.



    In Hogwarts’ 1999 crop of successful graduates, there is a notable absence. What has become of the students of Slytherin house? The Knockturn Correspondent tracked down Slytherin’s class of 1999 and found out what has become of them since leaving the prestigious school.
    first row, l-r: Blaise Zabini, Theodore Nott, Gregory Goyle
    second row, l-r: Tracey Davis, Daphne Greengrass, Pansy Parkinson
    BLAISE ZABINI: Once a minor fixture in gossip columns, the only son of beautiful socialite Adaeze Zabini has somewhat fallen off the radar. Our search revealed that he now works for Gringotts Bank, although he told us that his position is ‘strictly classified’. Gringotts management refused to comment.
    THEODORE NOTT: The only remaining member of the once-wealthy Nott family tarnished by associations with You-Know-Who, Nott has taken up a job with the International Magical Trading Standards Body after graduating with six Outstanding N.E.W.T.s.
    GREGORY GOYLE: Currently working as a security guard for a number of establishments in Knockturn alley. Refused to give any information on his friendship with Draco Malfoy, who resisted all our attempts at contact.
    TRACEY DAVIS: Working as deputy manager of Slug & Jiggers Apothecary on Diagon Alley. Potions research papers that she has co-authored can be found in many notable journals, and when we interviewed her she expressed a desire to take in further qualifications in Potion Engineering.
    DAPHNE GREENGRASS: Currently unemployed, and turned down many of our requests for a formal interview, although her younger sister Astoria is rumoured to be engaged to the elusive Draco Malfoy.
    PANSY PARKINSON: A writer for weekly magazine Cauldron Chat who could almost be considered a household name. Dispenses advice in her regular agony aunt column, and often appears the papparazzi pages of Witch Weekly. Currently in a relationship with Cormac McLaggen, a reserve player for the Falmouth Falcons, current champions of the Quidditch League.
    Despite our best efforts, we could not reach Millicent Bulstrode, Sophie Roper, or Draco Malfoy for comment.