Author: James Livingston

Giacometti at the Guggenheim

Thursday is the Guggenheim’s day off. I can’t tell you how many tourists brayed at the announcement. I was watching them from the shade of the main entrance, waiting for my girlfriend to join me for a private showing of the new Giacometti exhibit at 3:00. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a tourist, too. I’ve been here ten years, and I still can’t measure the immensity of the place. Now the guy who arranged this private showing lives in my building along with other museum curators and more bizarre individuals, opera singers and the like. He builds things, always...

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Confessions of a Race Traitor

On May 31, James Livingston posted an impassioned broadside on Facebook against gentrification. Since then, he has received volumes of critical, and often abusive, emails and comments. This is his reply Having read Aingeal de Nógla’s and Mark Bray’s books on the alt-right, and having witnessed the election of Donald Trump, I should have seen the hate mail coming. I didn’t. It’s Wednesday, June 6, 2018. Since Friday, June 1, I’ve received roughly 70 hate mails for what I said at Facebook about white people, who can’t seem to take a joke or slip the yoke. Just between us,...

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The Trouble with Money

Ever had trouble with money? Like, say, hearing from bill collectors at home and at work? Or bouncing your rent check? Or borrowing money from friends to pay Con Ed? Or watching silently while the repo man tows your car, even though you had enough money in the bank to pay the loan off yesterday? Been there, done that. And I’m the guy who wrote the book on the Federal Reserve. I’m supposed to understand money and banking, debt and liability. And I do, in the abstract. I can explain Say’s Law, or Marx’s theory of value, or Keynes’s...

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Thinking About Corporate Activism

Conservative columnists are deeply concerned because some big corporations have distanced themselves from the NRA in the aftermath of the latest massacre by means of an AR-15. How can these joint-stock companies serve political causes, they ask, blinking innocently, as if corporations hadn’t been legal persons since 1886, with plenty of electoral weight—and as if Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision of 2010, hadn’t given them new standing as individuals with First Amendment protections? I’m here to explain their concerns and turn them to left-wing purposes. But you might as well know going in that, in these times—in my...

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Narrating Hayden White

Hayden White has died, and it feels personal. I didn’t know him—I met him just once at a conference—but he had, and has, a huge effect on my thinking about history, about method, about writing as such. Last semester I taught both the big book, Metahistory (1973), and the essay collection, The Content of the Form (1987), in a course called—wait for it—Historiography, the History of History. I matched White up against Karl Lowith, the Heidegger student who, like Erich Auerbach, wrote a great book while on the run from the Nazis.Meaning in History (1949), it’s called, and in it Lowith insists that our...

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