In her book Plutocrats, Chrysia Freeland writes: “In 2005, Bill Gates was worth $46.5 billion and Warren Buffet $44 billion. That year, the combined wealth of the 120 million people who made up the bottom 40 percent of the U.S. population was around $95 billion—barely more than the sum of the fortunes of these two men.” That is astounding, and by logical extension of this fact, if we were to hypothetically expropriate these two men of their wealth and redistribute it, we could double the material conditions of four in ten American citizens.
Yesterday morning I turned the final page of A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, concluding a three-day marathon of working through one of the darkest and most deliciously agonising novels I’ve read in a while. It follows the lives of four friends through several decades, and manages to capture both the dramatic traumas they encounter … Continue reading No Happy Endings: Yanagihara’s “A Little Life”
An issue that consistently escapes my understanding is the complexity of racial disparity in the United States. The knowledge that the life expectancy in some low-income African American communities is lesser than parts of rural Algeria is a bit irreconcilable with my image of the U.S. as the world’s most powerful and free nation (questionable … Continue reading Literary Perspectives on American Racial Inequality
When you live in a well-off community, it’s all too easy to ignore the reality of drug addiction. We look at the two thousand homeless addicts in Vancouver with contempt or with pity, but very rarely with understanding. Some vote for politicians who advocate harsh minimum sentencing for nonviolent drug offenders. Some comment that drug … Continue reading What I Learned from “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff
Edward Lear's nonsense poem "The Jumblies" is among the most lighthearted pieces of poetry in history, describing a group of playful creatures who go to sea in a sieve. But could there be a deeper meaning to this poem?