CURRENT ISSUE

Issue 67 / Dreams

featuring Brad Bolman, Yanie Fécu, Catherine Hansen, Ara Merjian, Indiana Seresin, Matthew Spellberg, and more

ISSUE 67

On Dream Sharing and Its Purpose

Matthew Spellberg

Among certain philosophers it is a commonplace that dreams are radically private, that no one can follow you into them. A fragment from Heraclitus distills the problem: “The universe for those who are awake is single and common, while in sleep each person turns aside into a private universe.” Hegel, commenting on this same fragment, says that “the dream is a knowledge of something of which I alone know.” ...

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KIOSK / 13 OCTOBER 2020

Unpaid Debt

Yong Kwon

No people can well rise to a high degree of mental or even moral excellence without wealth. A people uniformly poor and compelled to struggle for barely a physical existence will be dependent and despised by their neighbors, and will finally despise themselves.
—Frederick Douglass

On May 29th, the fourth day of nationwide protests against racialized police brutality, protesters in Washington, DC sprayed graffiti on the walls of the Treasury Department annex on Lafayette Square called the Freedman’s Bank Building. ...

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ISSUE 67

Leftovers / Gazehounds, Greyhounds, and Bloodhounds

Brad Bolman

Unlike scent hunters, the greyhound is a “sight” hound, liable to chase anything it sees. “See’st thou the gaze-hound!” wrote poet Thomas Tickell, “how with glance severe / From the close herd he marks the destin’d deer!” This disposition was key to the emergence of greyhound racing, which assumed its modern guise in 1919 when Owen Patrick Smith introduced a mechanical lure called the “electrical rabbit” at a new track in Emeryville, California—the first such venue in the United States. ...

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KIOSK / 1 SEPTEMBER 2020

Poor Connections

Vera Tollmann

Video conferencing becomes popular in times of crisis. During the early 1990s Gulf War and especially in the aftermath of 9/11, when executives temporarily lost trust in air travel, the use of this communication technology became more common as a business tool. This winter, the immobility and social distancing necessitated by the global spread of COVID-19 triggered again an urgent need for video conferencing technology. ...

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ISSUE 67

This Land is Your Land

Indiana Seresin

Ernest Thompson Seton, the English-born pioneer 
of outdoor education who cofounded the Boy Scouts 
of America, spent his adult life in a juvenile world 
of his own invention. The son of a selfish and abusive father, he found escape in playing Indian, a pastime 
he later celebrated in the wildly popular 1903 book 
Two Little Savages: Being the Adventures of Two Boys Who 
Lived as Indians and What They Learned. The book 
begins by describing a character with striking similarities to Seton himself: “Yan was much like other twelve-year-old boys in having a keen interest in Indians and in wild life, but he differed from most in this, that he never got over it. Indeed, as he grew older, he found a yet keener pleasure in storing up the little bits of woodcraft and Indian lore that pleased him 
as a boy.” ...

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KIOSK / 13 AUGUST 2020

Geographical Amusement

Colton Valentine

In 1795, Henry Carington Bowles released Bowles’s European Geographical Amusement, or Game of Geography, the latest in his family’s board game series. Allegedly based on a 1749 travelogue, “the Grand Tour of Europe, by Dr. Nugent,” it combined learned pretensions with simple rules. “Having agreed to make an elegant and instructive TOUR of EUROPE,” players took turns rolling an eight-sided “Totum” and moving their “Pillars” through the appropriate number of cities. ...

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ISSUE 67

Oneirocritica Afro-Americana

Christopher W. Vandegrift

Popular in Europe since antiquity, books of dream interpretation—commonly referred to as dream dictionaries or, more simply, dream books—were first published in the United States in the latter half of the eighteenth century. Initially indistinguishable from those published contemporaneously in Great Britain, American dream books came into their own during the early to mid-nineteenth century, when publishers of cheap literature began selling dream books that catered to players of policy, an illegal lottery game then sweeping Northeastern cities. ...

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KIOSK / 6 AUGUST 2020

Animal Farms

Thomas Fleischman

“It is a sort of fairy story,” George Orwell wrote to his literary agent in 1944, “really a fable with a political meaning.” The fable was Animal Farm, and in it, Orwell set out to destroy the “Soviet myth” and the cult of Stalin. In our time, Animal Farm has become a standard part of any school education. In August 1945, when it was published in the United Kingdom, and in April 1946 when it came out in the United States, it was political dynamite. ...

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ISSUE 66

Dr. Southern California

Lyra Kilston

Climate is to a country what temperament is to a man—Fate.

—Helen Hunt Jackson, Glimpses of Three Coasts

In the spring of 1602, Basque merchant Sebastián Vizcaíno was sent on a mission to map the California coast for Spain. Several months later, he and his crew docked in a placid bay he named San Diego and some of them went ashore to explore the foreign terrain. There, they encountered an astonishing woman who looked “more than one hundred and fifty years old.” ...

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KIOSK / 28 JULY 2020

Same as It Ever Was

Becca Rothfeld

According to medieval Jewish commentaries on the Torah, heaven will be dazzling and dramatic. It will contain chambers “built of silver and gold, ornamented with pearls.” New arrivals will pass through gates guarded by 600,000 angels and bathed in “248 rivulets of balsam and attar.” The righteous will attend elaborate feasts and lounge in lavish gardens. As a rule, paintings of heaven are more vague and more amorphous than paintings of hell, but avuncular artists still stuff them with cherry-cheeked cherubs. ...

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KIOSK / 9 JULY 2020

The Devil’s Chord or a Tap on the Shoulder?

Sally O’Reilly

Official Soviet press releases announcing the launch of the Sputnik satellite on 4 October 1957 pointedly publicized its radio signal frequency of 20–40 MHz—well within the range of amateur radio enthusiasts. Newspapers published timetables of its passage, and TV and radio stations and hams around the world lay in wait for Sputnik’s crackly beep, produced by a spherical body weighing 83.5 kilograms and flinging through near-space at 18,000 miles per hour. ...

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