Mark Greif

Mark Greif is a founding editor of n+1 and an assistant professor of literary studies at the New School.

Recent Articles

Learning to Love Globalization

I n a climate-controlled conference room in Secaucus, New Jersey, G. Clothaire Rapaille is smoothly welcoming a handful of grateful corporate clients to his latest project. Rapaille has only recently become notorious. As the Jungian-archetype analyst of American business, his method of consumer research includes asking people to lie down on the floor on pillows and recall early childhood memories concerning consumer products. He convenes focus groups to unlock the codes of consumers' "cultural unconscious"--codes he says dictate their tastes and buying patterns--and then he hands the key to corporations, for a price. Rapaille has done menstruation in this way for Johnson & Johnson and barbecue sauce for Kraft. This season, he's chosen something more challenging. Instead of a product analysis, the clients shaking his hand in Secaucus are here to watch Rapaille unlock "globalization"--on behalf of the globalizers. "The danger is real," his faxed communiqué warned them. "Are we going...

Wreaking Ruckus

I n a cloud of dust, high in the Malibu hills, the column of protesters surged forward. The Ruckus Society, trainers of activists, had chosen this empty field of stubble for the first march of the Democratic convention, still 25 miles away and a month distant. It was a drill. In a shimmer of mid-July heat, a dirt road became Sixth Street; a makeshift lot of parked cars was Pershing Square. One hundred fifty mock protesters pushed their banners onward as life-size cardboard puppets rode the crowd and chants and hollers overlapped the drumbeats in a chaos of noise and color. Ahead was a wall of mock police, Ruckus trainers in bandannas and sunglasses, and they were mock-enraged as they charged the marchers with nightsticks. But the press corps on the outside was real, and suddenly the fear was real, almost, and the shoving was real, too. A black man was thrown to the ground and cuffed. "Stop!" workshop leaders shouted. "Freeze!" "What just happened?" they demanded. "One person of color...

Losing Hopi

When President Clinton stood this January in the Arizona sunshine at Grand Canyon Hopi Point and announced the designation of three new national monuments and the expansion of a fourth, he was confident that "the good Lord" must be smiling on him. "I know we're doing the right thing, because look at the day we've got," he crowed. Well, Arizona Republicans weren't smiling--and they're still hoping to rain on Clinton's parade. Though the holdings involved in the new monuments were already federal land--and though the president acted squarely within the Antiquities Act of 1906--any measure restricting mining, logging, or road-building rights was bound to be a Republican no-no. Republican Governor Jane Hull blasted the effects the new monuments would have on the Arizona economy, and the state's seven Republican federal lawmakers lined up behind her. Then, on January 26, seven state legislators, all Republicans, joined with Utah ranchers who say they live part time in Arizona to file a...

London Snapshot: Mayor Takes All

It was only a few days into the tense balloting for Labour candidate for the new position of Mayor of London in February. At the Town Hall in Ealing -- a sandstone castle in the midst of this mall-heavy West London neighborhood -- a small meeting had been booked in a basement room. Ken Livingstone, the insurgent candidate, was coming to speak. The mood by this time had become slightly paranoid. "I understand 'the other side' has played the rules all to their advantage," a pudgy volunteer intimated. Local residents filled the seats -- parents with children, construction workers, delegates from the Black Labour Representation Committee -- and an ancient, wrinkled Londoner descended the stairs, with bulging pockets and a flat cap. "What's this for?" he shouted. "What? Ken Livingstone? Oh, that's alright, then!" It seemed fitting that the Ghost of London Past should make an appearance, shuffling into the hall, before Livingstone himself swept in carrying his cup of...

Crime and Rehabilitation

P at Barker may be the most important progressive novelist to reach full artistic maturity in the past 10 years. The more famous she becomes, however, the less frequently do critics acknowledge her as an ardently political writer. Border Crossing, her ninth novel--this one a crime thriller set in contemporary, urban England--is likely to cement the misunderstanding that Barker has become apolitical, a classic writer on "the human condition," or, worse, a "safe" woman artist in middle age who turned to writing only after bearing her two children, eventually found fame, and lately writes about families and ordinary life. Just a decade ago, reviewers perceived Barker as a radical feminist who wrote gritty, committed novels about England's industrial north. "I had become strongly typecast as a northern, regional, working-class feminist ... label, label, label," she wearily told The Village Voice in 1991. Barker's image changed when she published a celebrated trilogy of World War I novels...

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