Rachel Greenwald Smith’s “On Compromise”

August 27, 2021

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Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher are joined by Rachel Greenwald Smith to discuss her new book, On Compromise: Art, Politics, and the Fate of an American Ideal. On Compromise takes a critical look at liberalism’s persistent push towards the center in both political and artistic realms. Instead of Compromise as a measure of good in and of itself, Smith argues for the values of illiberalism, passion, and commitment to a cause, aesthetic or otherwise. Her book explores how conflict and democracy need not be thought of as opposing forces. In doing so, she interprets a wide range of contemporary cultural phenomena, from Beyoncé’s album Lemonade to David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest, the history of poetry magazines, Guns N’ Roses, the far right, riot grrrl, and her own experience playing in an indie rock band.


Also, Nawaaz Ahmed, author of Radiant Fugitives, returns to recommend Shyam Selvadurai’s novel Funny Boy.