Author: Melissa Byrnes

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Napoleon Complex

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On July 14, 2017
Trump’s visit to Napoleon’s tomb in Paris yesterday is an irresistible invitation to compare the two leaders. Trendy as it is to focus on historical parallels with fascism, it’s worth thinking a bit about what we can learn from that other dude crazy enough to invade Russia in winter. (Unavoidable aside: this may be the […]
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Eurovision!

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On May 14, 2017
Major news in European elections: Portugal won the Eurovision Song Contest last night. Salvador Sobral’s stripped-down performance and heartfelt singing were somewhat of an anomaly in an annual extravaganza known for outrageous kitsch and over-the-top production. Previous contests have featured a Russian Olympian skating on a mini ice rink, Finnish monster-metal pyrotechnics, and a singing […]
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The War on Knowledge

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On March 29, 2017
The Hungarian government is trying to close down Central European University (CEU), an American-accredited university in Budapest founded by George Soros in 1991 to support intellectual freedom and free speech. CEU’s response to the Hungarian Parliament asserts that the proposed acts are intentionally discriminatory: After careful legal study, CEU has concluded that these amendments would […]
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Party Like It’s 1939

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On February 13, 2017
Attempts to connect our current situation with the 1930s are coming out pretty regularly (and more will follow). But when two leading historians of fascism speak up, it’s worth listening. Timothy Snyder sat down with Süddeutsche Zeitung last week, while Richard Evans weighed in with Slate. Snyder certainly thinks we need to be learning from […]
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