Public Intellectual

Shaun Randol

Paul Berman reads at PEN World Voices Festival's opening night as Salman Rushdie and Judith Butler look on (© Beowulf Sheehan/PEN American Center)

[Read part one of this dispatch.]

Shaun Randol

Shaun Randol

Since the 1960s, Noam Chomsky has been a formidable critic of U.S. foreign policy; many (most?) of his ideas highly unwelcome in corporate media. Though the decades march on, his biting critique remains sharp, his political philosophy unwavering. In this interview, Chomsky discusses self-censorship and names the political crises intellectuals and activists should be acting on now. 

Shaun Randol

Something is being lost in our age of physical and metaphorical din. Political leaders, pundits, activists, journalists, intellectuals, and ordinary citizens are engaging in shouting matches in all forms of media, including social media platforms. The most radical act one can take at this moment, says George Prochnik, is to engage in a patient, reflective retreat from all the noise. A more empathetic society may emerge from the quiet. 

Shaun Randol

During the 1920s and 1930s, Stefan Zweig was the most widely read and translated writer in the world. More than that, he was a facilitator, connecting a veritable who's who of high culture in Vienna and Europe at large. A fierce advocate of individual expression and humanism, Zweig was a cultural force. And yet, he surrendered to the disconnectedness brought on by forced exile, committing suicide alongside his second wife. What can we learn from his rise and fall?