Writing

 

Molly has written for venues including the New York Times, CNN, Vice, Rhizome, The Paris Review, Vanity Fair, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast.

Essays

 

Vanity Fair: From Pussy Riot to Snowden: the Dissident Fetish June 11, 2014
The Organization whose gala I drank at does deeply admirable work, but its hush on domestic political prisoners mirrors that of those with more troubling motives. By ignoring humans locked in their own cells, states can pretend that dissent is only punished elsewhere. They can both toast hell-raisers abroad, and clamp down on hell-raisers at home.
Empires love their dissidents foreign.

 

VICE: Photo Real: On Photoshop, Feminism, and Truth May 5, 2014
Photoshop, the belief goes, takes a true record of a moment, and turns it into an oppressive lie.
But fuck Photoshop. Photos are already lies.

 

PoliticoGeorge Bush’s Paintings Aren’t Funny April 13, 2014
Bush’s 30 oil-on-board portraits of world leaders will hang at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas through June 3. As artifact, they’re fascinating, even if as art they’re not.

 

VICE: Theater of Justice March 26, 2014
Courtrooms are a violent theater. The violence happens off-scene: in Rikers Island where a homeless man recently baked to death; in the shackles and beatings and the years far from everything you love. But the courtroom itself is the performative space, the stage where the best story triumphs, and where all parties, except (usually) the defendant, are just playing parts.

 

VICE: On Turning 30 January 27, 2014
Age is a weapon society uses against women. Each year that you gain comfort in your own flesh, your flesh is seen as worth less. Thirty, like 40 or 50, is a demarcation line, but a particularly loaded one. Cross it, says the world, and you leave the trifling-but-addictive privileges of girlhood behind.

 

Creative Time Reports: Google Glass, the Corporate Gaze and Mine January 7, 2014
Because most women have spent most of history pregnant, nursing, burying miscarriages, and/or taking care of wealthier women’s kids, most “great” Western artists have been men. The male gaze is all mixed up with the gaze of an artist. When women started making art en masse, we were thought to see differently.

 

Creative Time Reports: Banksy Takes the Art World’s Money, But He Won’t Buy Its Line October 15, 2013
The Internet lacerated itself for not buying Banksys at a 10,000-percent discount. But would you recognize art if it wasn’t marked as such?

 

VICE: Filthy Lucre June 5, 2013
Artists too have their myths. The lies told to artists mirror the lies told to women. Be good enough, be pretty enough, and that guy or gallery will sweep you off your feet, to the picket-fenced land of generous collectors and two-and-a-half kids. But, make the first move, seize your destiny, and you’re a whore.

 

Jacobin Magazine: Art After Occupy April 9, 2013
I’m an artist. My job is to apply colored mud onto a surface. Just like the construction workers on the mural job, I’d be covered in toxic dust, freezing and wobbling on a rickety platform. I have dirty nails and rough hands. Art is carpentry as much as metaphysics. We’re blue collar workers with pretenses at the sublime.

 

VICE: Talking About My Abortion April 5, 2013
When some defenders of choice talk about abortion, they often focus on edge cases: rape victims, life-threatening pregnancies, or teens who don’t know how babies are made. That kind of dialogue sometimes makes it seem like abortion is reserved for “other” women. Women who aren’t like them. Which, despite all delusions of enlightenment, is exactly what I thought when at 20, I realized I had an embryo growing inside of me.

 

Paris Review: Diego, Frida, and Me March 20, 2013
Of course, concepts are best cast in stark terms, as abstract representations of truth. People, not so much. Diego made his own ass the focal point of his mural at the San Francisco Art Institute. Frida’s communism was so fervent that one of her last paintings, done in a morphine haze after her leg was amputated, bears the title Marxism Will Give Health to the Sick. But history reads them along gender lines. Diego is masculine, intellectual, universal. Frida is feminine, emotional, personal.

 

VICE: Shooter Boys and At-Risk Girls February 1, 2013
The right way for a white girl to be angry is to turn her anger inwards. She should be a victim, like the patients in Reviving Ophelia, a psychiatrist’s late-90s textbook on broken girlhood. She should starve or cut or blow boys who treat her badly. A crusading shrink should scoop her up, and return her to good grades, tasteful clothes, and happiness–heart and hymen intact.

 

VICE: The World of a Professional Naked Girl October 23, 2012
A woman’s beauty is supposed to be her grand project and constant insecurity. We’re meant to shellac our lips with five different glosses, but always think we’re fat. Beauty is Zeno’s paradox. We should endlessly strive for it, but it’s not socially acceptable to admit we’re there. We can’t perceive it in ourselves. It belongs to the guy screaming “nice tits.”

 

US Journalism

 

VICE: Nine Months After He Filmed Eric Garner’s Killing, the Cops are Trying to Put Ramsey Orta Behind Bars April 24, 2015
On July 17, Orta was hanging out outside of Bay Beauty Supply, where Eric Garner had just broken up a fight. When police approached Garner, Orta remembered the beating he had witnessed just days earlier, and took out his cell phone camera.

 

VICE: Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of ‘Rescuing’ Sex Workers January 5, 2015
Occupy Wall Street activist Shawn Carrié always dreamed of becoming a classical pianist, and he was on his way, with a full music scholarship to New York University. That all changed on March 17, 2012, when, during a demonstration at Zuccotti Park, a New York City police officer pulled his thumb back and back and back until it broke. Six other cops kicked him until he bled from his ears …
Shawn would never play piano at a professional level again.

 

VICE: How Can We Stop Cops from Beating and Killing? October 8, 2014
Despite the claims of reformers like Judge Lippman, HTICs are as controlling as any other court. Prostitutes might be called victims, but they’re still arrested, still handcuffed, and still held in cages. The only difference is that they’re now in a system that doesn’t distinguish between workers and trafficked people. To the courts, anyone who’s been arrested for sex work is raw material, incapable of making his or her own choices. Those like Love, who did sex work out of financial necessity, before leaving of her own volition, might as well not exist.

 

MEDIUM: No One Reads Kafka in Gitmo September 15, 2013
Ringed with razor-wire, Guantanamo practices a security culture so rigorous that when a journalist accidentally left an iPod in his bag, our press escort worried that the guards who confiscated it would have to smash it with a hammer. Guards peer at each detainee through cell cams every three minutes. Detainees are moved between camps in shackles and sometimes on backboards, something a guard told me was for “their safety” but could not explain how. Their genitals are searched before and after they use the phone.

 

VICE: Guantanamo Bay is Kafka on the Carribean September 10, 2013
I first came to Gitmo to cover the military commissions. During my second trip, I was the third artist granted permission to draw the prisons. The Joint Task Force offers journalists a carefully choreographed tour—the point of which is to show that the Bad Old Gitmo of public perception is not Gitmo Now.

 

The Daily Beast: The Faces of Guantánamo September 3, 2013
During the invasion of Afghanistan, the United States offered locals $5,000 bounties for turning in terrorists. Instead, we got a mixture of Taliban draftees, guys who shot rifles at Islamic training camps in the 1990s, Uighurs fighting China and, above all, Arabs in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, branded by Bush as “The Worst of the Worst,” they are to be held until the end of the “War on Terror.” But wars on concepts seldom end.

 

VICE: It Don’t Gitmo Better Than This July 31st, 2013
Gitmo’s prison camps were built, in principle, to hold and interrogate captives outside the reach of US law … Since he was inaugurated in 2008, President Obama has twice promised to close Gitmo, but 166 men still languish in indefinite detention. It is a place where information is contraband, force-feeding is considered humane care, staples are weapons, and the law is rewritten wantonly.

 

Creative Time Reports: The Bradley Manning Truth Battalion July 31st, 2013
By handing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables over to Wikileaks, Manning revealed drone strikes, civilian deaths, and the torture of Guantanamo detainees. In return, the U.S. government charged him with espionage and aiding the enemy. On July 30, Manning’s trial lurched to its inevitable conclusion. No matter how skilled his defense, he would be found guilty. He would spend his life in jail.

 

The Guardian: Bradley Manning and Us June 3, 2013
Loyalty is life and death for soldiers. But like courage, it’s a morally neutral virtue. Its morality depends on how you view the cause it serves. Like any whistleblower, Manning may have betrayed his institution, but he did so out of loyalty to humanity.

 

VICE: The Fight to Save America’s Best Free College May 9, 2013
Since 1859, Cooper Union has been free. Cooper’s original endowment is supplemented by donors, alumni, and, most crucially, rent from the land under the Chrysler Building, located 39 blocks away. Growing up in New York, I viewed Cooper Union through the filter of legend. Because it was free, it took only the best.

Foreign Journalism

 

VICE: Slaves of Happiness Island August 4, 2014
Though it is now only a sunbaked construction site, Saadiyat, a ten-square-mile atoll 500 yards off the coast of Abu Dhabi, will be home to branches of the Louvre, the Guggenheim, and New York University, alongside hotels, shopping, and luxurious homes. It will be a cultural paradise, conjured by the country’s vast oil wealth but built on the backs of men who are little more than indentured servants.

 

 

VICE: Caught Between ISIS and Assad Jun 26, 2014
Patrick and I crossed into Syria easily. While Turks have so far maintained an open-border policy for Syrians with papers, the same cannot be said for the rest of the world. Our US passports guaranteed freedom of movement. For Syrians, theirs chain them to a quadrangle of four countries, at the whims of politicians who seldom view them as human.

 

Talking Points Memo: Istanbul: Before the Tear Gas April 30, 2014
Fans of Istanbul’s three main football teams- Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe, and Beşiktaş – have shared enmity nearly since the clubs were formed. But since the 2013 Gezi protests, which came to symbolize the battle against state authoritarianism, they’ve united. They share one enemy now, the police.

 

VICE: I Confronted Donald Trump in Dubai June 2, 2014
I am sitting two scant yards from Trump père et fille at a media briefing for the Trump International Golf Course, which is being built by the Emirati firm DAMAC Properties in conjunction with Donald Trump Townhouses and Villas. Trump has promised it will be the greatest golf course in the world.
Ivanka is angry because I asked a real question. In Dubai, this can land you in jail.

 

The Guardian: Syria’s war, 3 years on: ‘a horror film’, in faces of the dead and voices of revolt March 14, 2014
In wars, it’s easy to see the dead as gore on a Twitter feed, as statistics to be shrugged away. Hanano’s #100000Names Oral Memorial for Syria is an attempt to give Syria’s dead back their humanity.

 

Newsweek: In Syria, Western Fundamentalists Are Tweeting From Amongst the Corpses February 12, 2014
… if Europeans like Chechclear are living out their Call of Duty fantasies, they do it at the expense of Syrian lives. In the territory it holds in Syria’s North, ISIS is imposing its harsh interpretation of sharia law with torture and beheadings. Its Western fighters are tweeting selfies in the ruins.

 

MEDIUM: Coffee With Refugees January 10, 2014
… if Europeans like Chechclear are living out their Call of Duty fantasies, they do it at the expense of Syrian lives. In the territory it holds in Syria’s North, ISIS is imposing its harsh interpretation of sharia law with torture and beheadings. Its Western fighters are tweeting selfies in the ruins.

 

MEDIUM: Syria’s Queer Refugees December 18, 2013
Homosexuality is illegal in Syria, but a well-off young Damascene could still have a life, as long as he was discreet. The war changed that.

 

The New York Times: Syria’s Spreading Bloodshed December 6, 2013
The uneasy peace has now shattered as the civil war in Syria has spilled over the border, renewing old enmities. Since I left, the Lebanese government has called in the army to take control of Tripoli.

 

Interviews and Profiles

 

VICE: The Revolutionary, No-Bullshit Art of Ganzeer January 30, 2015
Ganzeer is the pseudonym of a 32-year-old Egyptian artist who became famous during the revolution. He’s also a friend with whom I like to drink. Earlier this month, few days after his first US solo show opened at New York’s Leila Heller Gallery, we sat in the cement cave in the back of Interferance Archive that serves as his studio and talked.

 

Paris Review: A Conversation with Warren Ellis August 15, 2013
“Somewhere, on an NSA server in Utah, there sits an email from Warren Ellis threatening to strangle me to death with my own intestines.” An interview with Warren Ellis.

 

VICE: A Conversation with Art Spiegelman December 16, 2013
Art was in his Borgesian-library/studio—“The Haus that Maus Built”—surrounded by a century’s worth of illustration books. He climbed a ladder propped against his tall, wooden shelves like a mad archivist, grinning, pulling out the volume that might best speak to my ink-stained heart.