Revue de Presse: 21 June

21 June 2021


James McAuley, until recently the Paris correspondent for the Washington Post, has received glowing coverage of his book “The House of Fragile Things: Jewish Art Collectors and the Fall of France” in both the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books. In their respective reviews, both Julian Barnes and David A. Bell explore how a book purportedly about objects is, in fact, a profound meditation on identity and antisemitism.

How have debates over history come to be so central to American politics? What is at stake in the conflict between those who trace America’s founding to 1619 vs. those who trace it to 1776? In a masterful essay for Harper’s Magazine, Matt Karp traces the genealogy of this turn in public discourse and illuminates the significance of our recurrent, if very different, claims to history.

In the New Yorker, Benjamin Wallace-Wells traces the emergence of critical race theory as the conservative political issue of the moment. Interestingly, both Christopher Rufo, the conservative activist behind this emergence, and Kimberlé Crenshaw, one of the critical race theorist Rufo and his followers love to attack, agree at least in part. While they agree there is something wrong with some corporate trainings on racial awareness, their interpretations of what is at stake could not be more different.

Tucker Carlson is a scourge of liberal media in the United States. As it turns out, he is also one of their most vital sources. Writing in the New York Times, Ben Smith gets a handful of major journalists in left-of-center media to admit on the record that during the Trump Presidency they turned to Carlson for juicy gossip on the White House. Many more acknowledged the same off the record.

In a sign of the strange place of the media in our current politics (Trump, after all, was a reality TV star and master of Twitter), Carlson is often touted as a potential Presidential candidate in 2024 or 2028. In France, there are parallels. Eric Zemmour has built a media machine that could potentially rival Marine le Pen for far right votes, should he choose to use it.

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