Before the War

A few months before her death, Ellen Willis emailed to say pieces by Charles O’Brien and Fredric Smoler on the Danish Cartoon Controversy posted on this site were “good.” (That was high praise from Ellen whose mode of approbation was the opposite of American idolaters.) Struck by how much those pieces “echoed themes” in what she’d written at the time of the Rushdie affair, she wondered if we “might be interested in reprinting the editorial I wrote in the Voice [in 1989] as a historical affirmation of the bad road we are going down.” What follows is the piece of the past that Ellen thought belonged in First. (It was originally titled “The West Betrays Its Principles.”) B.D.

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In My Lonely Room

The following thought experiment was inspired, or provoked, by this year’s art scandale, the “Mirroring Evil” exhibit that opened at the Jewish Museum in March; and in particular by Roee Rosen’s installation, which invites us to imagine that we are Eva Braun having a last night of sex with Adolf Hitler:

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