Jenny Zhang is not interested in your approval. Her debut collection of short stories Sour Heart, all narrated from the perspective of various Chinese teen girls (or teens-to-be), drips of unabashed vulgarity and candour. Her first short story, We Love Your Crispina, opens with the observation that ‘we had to mash our king-sized shits into smaller pieces since we were too poor and too irresponsible back then to even […]
Despite its mainstream success at the box office, 'La La Land' resists fulfilling the usual Hollywood romance narratives. Reading the film alongside Roland Barthes's 'The Lover's Discourse', Rebecca Liu suggests that the message of both is that "to love, sometimes, means to know when it is time to let go".
At the end of 2016, Zadie Smith's Swing Time feels both apposite and timely, as a story about "the failure of liberal thought". Rebecca Liu details the ways in which the novel deals a blow against the myth that individuals from any background can, with the right attitude and enough effort, achieve their dreams — and the notion that wealth is an indicator of success.
When questioned about his apparent involvement with the Pinochet's militant regime by Newsweek in 1976, Milton Friedman observed that "I do not consider it as evil for an economist to render technical economic advice to the Chilean Government, any more than I would regard it as evil for a physician to give technical medical advice to the Chilean Government to help end a medical plague". This article traces the roots of the now-ubiquitous conception of economics as a neutral technical order by examining how contemporary voices bracketed 'the economic' from 'the political' in the case of the Chicago Boys. Rebecca Liu argues that those from the financial and economic sector have insulated their discipline from critique by performing a series of rhetorical manoeuvers that shut off a priori the efficacy of these criticisms through using a language of 'expertise'. The result, however, is the coagulation of ideological positions into 'scientific, self-evident truths' that challenge our very ability to make sense of, and fight for, our standing in the world.