I am an editor at Commonweal magazine. My writing has appeared in the New York Times, Hedgehog Review, Aeon, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and other places. You can find links to pieces below. Harvard University Press published my book on Walter Benjamin and Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Fall of Language, in 2019. For more about my academic work, see my academia.edu page.
Walter Benjamin viewed fascism as an attempt to mobilize the public in such a way that it could express a desire for a different kind of society, with “changed property relations,” while leaving those relations intact. When you want expression without effect, you get aesthetics.
The feuilleton section became a battleground over the meaning of modernity. The controversy it generated prefigured present-day concerns about the deterioration of attention and the media’s role in shaping—or, as Walter Benjamin suggested, generating—public opinion.