Mark Greif

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

Recent Articles

Bloom in Love

The chief vice and virtue of friendship come to the same thing: overestimation. In the narrow world of those who knew him personally, it seemed possible that Allan Bloom, professor of political science at the University of Chicago, author in 1987 of The Closing of the American Mind , should have been counted among the immortal thinkers. The sales of his book, and the millions of dollars it generated in profits, were the material proof of an intellectual project so strong and necessary that Americans craved it as wanderers in the desert need water. In the larger world, the evidence for Bloom's genius is thinner. A reading of his book today is an exercise in forbearance. Shrillness drowned his best insights. Traditionalism crowded his iconoclasm. "Cultural relativism," Bloom's great target, doesn't scare anybody anymore. Sometime in the years before his death, his ideas were unceremoniously remaindered on the stock shelves of the American mind. That mind didn't close--it just moved on...

Revolution Number 9

The 29-year-old holding the microphone, Zack de la Rocha, is issuing calls, in only mildly metaphorical language and in quick succession, for war against capitalists, death to racists, justice for the oppressed, and possession by the workers of the means of production. He is backed by a guitarist and a rhythm section. He's watched by a sea of upturned faces. As the vocalist for the rock group Rage Against the Machine, de la Rocha has been making these demands for eight years with increasing sophistication and success. The album on which the band first outlined its leftist analysis of American injustice went double-platinum after four years, signifying sales of more than 2 million copies in the United States alone. The band's second album proceeded to go double-platinum after 18 months. Its brand-new album, The Battle of Los Angeles , sold over 900,000 copies within a month of its November release. It entered the charts at number one, displacing Mariah Carey with a rainbow on her bosom...