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Samuel Aftel


Articles

The cruelty and tragedy of Michael Jackson

In retrospect, Jackson always seemed to exist in a curious moral, cultural, and even existential liminal space. He straddled blackness and whiteness, femininity and masculinity, queerness and straightness, decency and brutality. The duality of Jackson’s identity is, in part, what made him great. But this duality was also a mechanism of deception. 


Tiger Confessions and our desperation for connection

While it’s a blessing that Tiger Confessions allows us to share these experiences and receive some level of peer empathy, the fact that the platform is seemingly the only outlet some students have to express what’s on their mind is disconcerting.


Congresswoman Omar and conservatives’ weaponization of anti-Semitism

Beyond Republican hypocrisy, the wholesale, disproportionately severe condemnation of Omar reflects the increasing and dangerous conflation of anti-Jewish hatred and a legitimate criticism of Israel’s militarism. Such conflation, often consciously deployed by cynical conservatives, serves to chill any hint of pro-Palestinian political discourse. 


The masculine brutality and tragedy of XXXTentacion

culture

Despite X’s brutality, for a generation of young people who have experienced debilitating levels of depression and anxiety as well as a staggering, increasing suicide rate, X was a disturbingly fitting generational spokesmen.


Review: The raw intimacy and tragedy of ‘A Star is Born’

culture

“A Star Is Born” is an emotional masterpiece. The film documents the tragic love story of Ally and Jack, two musicians played astoundingly by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Jack — an aging, severely depressed, hearing-impaired, washed-up, alcoholic rock star who dabbles in coke and pills when the booze can’t get the job done — meets Ally, a slightly younger, existentially restless waitress.