Author Archives: Elizabeth Nicholas

Named and Shamed: Zadie Smith’s ‘Swing Time’ and an Author’s Power to Define the Past

“Elegance attracted me,” Zadie Smith’s unnamed narrator says in her new novel, Swing Time. “I liked the way it hid pain.” By that measure, she would approve of her own artfully constructed narrative. Flickering between the distant and more recent past, she chronicles her relationships with three women: Her activist-turned-backbench MP mother; her popstar-philanthropist boss, […]

Crisis Hotlines Are Being Flooded with Post-Election Calls

It would be an understatement to say a lot was happening at 2 AM yesterday morning. Donald Trump had just been declared president-elect of the United States, markets were crashing around the world, millions of Americans were crying, millions were cheering. And in New York, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline was flooded with calls. Read […]

Meeting the Tea Party in Tehran

It wouldn’t be an Iranian election without an American interjection. As Iranians head to the polls on Friday for parliamentary elections, three Republican congressmen have taken it upon themselves to seek visas from Iran to serve as election monitors. “We’re the perfect people,” Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas told POLITICO, of himself and Lee Zeldin of […]

The Living Nightmare of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

When Emily Durant (not her real name) was eight, her relationship with her mother began to deteriorate. “Something just snapped in her one day, I guess,” Emily said. Her once-caring mother suddenly stopped doing dishes, taking out the trash, or even putting trash into the trashcan. Dirty plates piled up in the sink, and then […]

Why Critiques of the Campus Rape Documentary The Hunting Ground Only Prove its Point

Critics of the hit documentary The Hunting Ground – which illuminates in damning detail the prevalence of sexual violence at American universities – are ramping up their attacks just in time for The Hunting Ground‘s prime time debut on CNN this Sunday, November 22. And if they aren’t careful, their aspersions might dovetail with the massive audience CNN […]

Rosemary Kennedy and the Legacy of Mental Illness

As a young girl in the early 1900s, Rosemary Kennedy—the eldest daughter of the auspicious Kennedy family—was beautiful, affectionate, and mild-mannered. But her life story pivots on what became perhaps the centuryc’s most chilling manifestation of the fear, shame, and ignorance that surrounds mental health: the lobotomy. Read Elizabeth’s full story on VICE.

Can We Just Laugh Off ISIS?

In his famous 1940 film The Great Dictator, Charlie Chapin struts, twitches, and screams in a thinly-veiled portrayal of an unintentionally-hilarious Hitler surrogate, Abenoid Hynkel. Chaplin’s intent was to turn the fear and awe of the Nazi’s stridency and militarism on its head, turning the Third Reich into an object of ridicule and thereby diminishing its power. This […]

A (Silicon) Valley Grows in Algeria

A staggering 97 percent of Algeria’s exports and 60 percent of the government’s income come from oil and gas—numbers that are all fine and well, when the price of oil is high. But oil prices tumbled to nearly half their value a year ago, and have remained stuck there ever since. Algeria is now struggling to find a way […]

What’s It Like to Have a Dictator for Your Dad?

Maybe your dad was a workaholic. Maybe your dad was an alcoholic. Maybe your dad was never around at all. But hey, at least he’s not a dictator. Father’s Day can be a tough time for the kids of difficult fathers, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. At the end of the […]

Hitler, Franco, and a Banker: The Path Not Taken in Nazi Germany

Winston Churchill’s axiom that history is written by the victors is a cliché drilled into budding historians, hinting to them, perhaps, that alternative histories can be unearthed by imagining what might have happened had the losers won. In the case of Nazi Germany, the history written by the victor is largely one of an ideologically […]