In Washington, D.C., most of the people connected to the criminal justice system are black. The prisoners, yes—91 percent in 2014—but also the police officers, guards, and judges. How could a system with an overwhelming number of black administrators produce overwhelming incarceration of black citizens?
Michael Nesmith knows one big thing. He doesn’t understand why it’s true, and he has only a shaky sense of the consequences that flow from what he knows. But in his recent memoir, Infinite Tuesday, the former member of the Monkees at least sees clearly the fact that, somehow, he matters. Michael Nesmith is a genuine thing, an authentic place-marker, in the cultural history of his tim
Imagine you’re a young man from a small town in, say, Ohio. Nebraska would do just as well, I suppose. Kansas, Wisconsin, or South Dakota, for that matter. But let’s stick with Ohio, since the particular young man I have in mind was born in what’s now Martins Ferry in 1837, over on the eastern edge of the state, and grew up mostly in the town of Hamilton, out in the western reaches of Ohio.
Since the completion of the interstate highway system, we have paid for transportation—and paid a lot: 40,200 deaths last year, up 6 percent from the 37,757 automotive fatalities of the year before. By a huge margin, car wrecks are the leading accidental cause of death in America. Year after year, we hurtle down the road in multi-ton machines and smear our blood across the asphalt.