Author: Jason Dias

Lying in Bed, Just Like Brian Wilson Did


Photo by Richard King. I heard it again, I don’t remember where: isn’t amazing how the Beach Boys could make all that beautiful, harmonious, uplifting music while their front man was so depressed? Wilson’s mental illness is legendary. The Barenaked Ladies famously penned a song about his breakdown: three years in bed gaining weight and… Read more »

There’s Poverty, and There’s Poverty


My friends didn’t believe in giving money to homeless people. But I couldn’t escape the notion that I should be doing something. It was Shanghai in maybe 2009 or 10. Wealth was everywhere, crazy wealth. In Hong Kong, we had walked through an indoor mall for three hours. It seemed endless. Commerce was alive and… Read more »

No Superman


Photo by Nicholas Gemini. The Amazing Spiderman sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy. Captain America, Winter Soldier. This summer will be replete with superhero movies on the big screen. Sales of books, cartoons and videos, action figures and other toys, continues apace. What is it about the superhero that enthralls us? In some ways, superheroes keep… Read more »

The Walmartization of Higher Education, Continued


Photo by Mike Kalasnik. In a previous issue, I noted that for-profit, corporate motives have infiltrated our public education system, resulting in the same sorts of power structures at community colleges as at Wal-Mart or at for-profit schools. In other words, we depend increasingly on part-time labor whom we can deny benefits or fair pay… Read more »

Cheer Up!


I am a worried man. I worry mostly about things far outside of my own control—like climate change, racism, wealth inequality, the dismantling of our democracy. People get the impression I am an unhappy person. They try to cheer me up. Make a list of positive things in your life, they say, or listen to… Read more »

Dostoyevsky Out Of Context


Kazimir Malevich was punished by Stalin’s regime for creating bourgeois art. Stalin expected that all art reflect Communist beliefs: it was expected to be realist and populist. Malevich’s cubist works attempted to reduce scenes to their most basic visual elements, culminating in the infamous “black square.” His works were seized, some burned, and he was… Read more »