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Editorials ROOM Cover 2.20 issue

TREMORS by Hattie Myers

“To be stupefied,” Jared Russell explains in his provocative essay Stupidity, “is to regress in the face of the unexpected, to have one’s critical faculties paralyzed.” The contributors to Room 2.20 may be terrified and even heartbroken in the face of the unexpected, but they are not stupefied.

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Essays Blur typography

DIVING INTO THE STREAM by Daniel S. Benveniste

I relocated from San Francisco to Caracas, Venezuela, in March 1999, just one month after Hugo Chávez assumed the presidency. He presented himself as a socialist intent on helping the underclasses and ending corruption, and I was ready to sign up. In addition to my practice and teaching at Universidad Central de Venezuela and Universidad Católica Ándres Bello, I started writing a monthly article in the English-language newspaper under the title “The Psychology of Everyday Life,” addressing topics such as childrearing and adolescent issues.

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Essays

TRUMP’S WALL by Sheldon Bach

In the Anglo-American world, men are brought up to value a body image that is hard, flat, and impermeable, more like a wall, whereas women are taught to value or at least be content with one that might be softer or more flexible and is certainly leaky, like a fence.

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Essays Trump Frace Tile

PROJECTION AS A POLITICAL WEAPON by Chris Bell and Gary Senecal

Donald Trump’s penchant for attacking his opponents by projecting onto them his own disavowed personal attributes and apparent self-assessments has been a consistent feature of his rhetorical style and remarked upon by many observers. For instance, in her recent book The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump, Michiko Kakutani (2019) observes, “Trump has the perverse habit of accusing opponents of the very sins he is guilty of himself: ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ ‘Crooked Hillary,’ ‘Crazy Bernie.’

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Essays Man portrait in black and white diffuse image

STUPIDITY by Jared Russell

In explicating the thought of Socrates, Nietzsche wrote that philosophy was an effort “to harm stupidity” (The Gay Science, §328). According to Nietzsche, humanism teaches us that it is our egotism that is to blame for our misery. Socrates taught the youth of Athens that it is our thoughtlessness that is to blame.

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Essays Concrete column with a fissure in the edge

THE FISSURE by Michael A. Diamond

There is a psychic fissure in America’s exceedingly fragile democratic body politic. In the face of political tribalism and an awakened and reinvigorated far-right white nationalist movement in America, civil servants (nonelected career public servants) from the Departments of State, Defense, NSC, and elsewhere have come forward to testify truth to congressional power, attesting to the impeachable actions of the Trump administration—actions that depict a criminal and amoral public enterprise. These nonpartisan officials are bearing witness and speaking truth to power, regardless of whether siloed Republican representatives of the House and their counterparts in the Senate are willing to hear the critical testimony of federal bureaucrats.

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Essays

REASSEMBLING FRAGMENTS by Zak Mucha

When I was a little kid, I thought my uncle was hysterical. He told no jokes, but he didn’t treat me like a kid, either. He was always a problem for the rest of the family. At one point, my mother told me, “If people in suits come looking for your uncle, you don’t know where he lives.” Actually, he lived down the block. My uncle always had a job but never seemed to be working.

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Essays The flag of China, also known as the Five-star Red Flag behind a barbed wire

ARNOLD RICHARDS: A SPIRIT OF ACTIVISM by Aneta Stojnić

In the lead up to our anniversary issue, I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Arnold Richards. A recipient of the 2000 Mary S. Sigourney Award and the 2013 Hans W. Loewald Memorial Award, Dr. Richards is a leading figure in the democratization of psychoanalysis and in bringing psychoanalysis to the world at large.

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Art Juan Pablo Valdivieso artwork Bloom

BLOOM by Juan Pablo Valdivieso

These abstract worlds are composed of undulations and vibrations that I define as beings. The cosmic forces that come together in the scenes find their impulse in the decomposition of modern dualism, in contemporary ways of relating to the world, and in a nature that does not faint in its eternal flourishing. In this way, Bloom emerges as a body of work in development, composed of small- and large-format artwork designed for both digital and analog media.

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Essays Classified Document full covered in black redaction

AFTER THE WAR by Iris Fodor

When I was a child in the Bronx in the 1940s, whenever a plan for the future was proposed, it would be followed by the phrase
“after the war.” My parents would say, “after the war” my father would quit Ritz radio and start his own business.

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Essays Almond Tree Branches on Blue Sky

AFTERWARD by Ofra Bloch

There was no way I could have known when I went to Germany to interview the descendants of perpetrators of the Holocaust for my film Afterward that this journey would take the form of a personal analysis. On the surface, I wanted to rid myself of my hatred for these Germans, who had done nothing wrong but whose ancestors tried to kill my people. I wanted to stop the cycle of hate
and othering before I passed it on to my own sons, to the next generation.

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Essays Man under the shadow in a black background with a white aura

READING RACISM DEEPLY by Daniel Rosengart

If the usual formula is that the negative affects hide in positive speech, overtly racist discourse flips the polarity, but the possibility that a racist discourse might hide a forbidden love, sexuality, or attachment is all too often ignored in clinical treatments that have been published.

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Poems black square

SLOW FUSE OF THE POSSIBLE: ON POETRY & PSYCHOANALYSIS by Kate Daniels

Kate Daniels is the Edwin Mims Professor of English and director of creative writing at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of six collections of poetry, including In the Months of My Son’s Recovery (May 2019). A graduate of the New Directions program at the Baltimore Washington Center for Psychoanalysis, she has been a member of the writing faculty there for a decade. She lives in Nashville.

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Essays Tomás Saraceno Installation

LIBERATION PSYCHOLOGY by Daniel José Gaztambide

Psychoanalysis—the word hung in my mind like a revelation. People could tune in to one another, literally the other (“al otro”), like a frequency. And when we’re on the same frequency, understanding can happen. And just like that, on a patio resting under the shadow of a great mango tree, psychoanalysis was born in Puerto Rico. At least, as far as my eight-year-old mind was concerned.

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Fiction Man hand searching under a white pillow

FOR CRYING OUT LOUD by Elizabeth Herman McKamy

He was sprawled and cornered against his nightstand and tethered to the mattress by a tangle of bedclothes. Sleep anchored him, making it hard to stop his arms from thrashing. Blood and fire gagged his throat, blocking the scream. Panicked children. Mothers, naked, keening.

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Editorials

STAYING THE COURSE by Hattie Myers

We have lost our grip on any shared sense of reality. Post-Truth philosophers provide cold comfort, telling us we haven’t really lost anything; we have, in fact, gained understanding that reality has never been there to grip. And the deconstructivists tell us that the credibility of any source (and we can include the post-truth philosophers here) is up for grabs. Any way you turn it, truth is subjective and personal. Truth is what we agree upon. Truth is tribal. ROOM 10.19 weaves together a few psychoanalytic truths. We do not hold these truths to be self-evident. Psychoanalytic truths are hard won.

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