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

US Journalism

The Nation: “The Revolution Against Shady Landlords Has Begun”April 6th , 2023
In New York, the real estate industry and politicians in its pocket both reign supreme. These tenants have a plan to change that forever.
Los Angles Times: “Beware a world where artists are replaced by robots. It’s starting now”Dec 21st 2022
Like many artists, I’ve looked in horror at generative image AI, a technology that is poised to eliminate humans from the field of illustration.
NYRB: In the Shadow of Invasion
September 9th, 2022
In August I spent two weeks traveling around Ukraine by train, using my sketchbook to document quotidian existence in the shadow of Russia’s invasion. By the time I arrived the Ukrainian army had largely pushed the war back to the country’s south and east. Lviv, Odesa, and Kyiv had returned to vivid life. 

Forever Wars: Despair Is Premature And Rage Is Insufficient

May 4th 2022
The bastards did it, like they always said they would. I was naïve. I thought they would keep Roe around forever as a culture war issue. Sure, they would shoot and bomb abortion doctors. Sure, they would kill the clinics in the red states through a thousand bureaucratic cuts. Sure, they would try and lock up women like Purvi Patel and Brittney Poolaw for the crime of having miscarried while poor and brown. But even as the abortion bans passed in Texas and friends started traveling over the border to stock up on misoprostol, I did not think that the Christian right would touch Roe itself, if only for the purpose of having it remain their favored magnet for the wrath of their constituents, their ideal distraction from all the ways they had failed to deliver anyone a better life.



NYRB: The Joy of Yiddish BooksFebruary 27th 2022
CYCO books is not New York’s last Yiddish bookstore. Yiddish bookstores do a brisk trade in Hassidic Brooklyn, where some 150,000 people still speak the language as a mother tongue. It is, however, the last bookstore to deal in the sort of Yiddish that once dominated New York’s Lower East Side: that of socialist rabble-rousers and sweatshop poets, which their upwardly mobile descendants were glad to leave behind and forget. Suffice to say, CYCO is now the only place in the city to get your Avrom Sutskever or Sholem Aleichem in the original.
The Nation: How The Taxi Drivers Won
December 13th 2021
On September 19, a group of cab drivers organized by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance rolled up to the corner of Broadway and Murray Street in downtown Manhattan, parked next to City Hall, and declared they would not leave until the city fixed the crushing debt that had driven many of their fellow drivers to suicide. They held a press conference, hung an SOS banner from the nearby Beaux-Arts subway entrance, set up some folding chairs, and sat down to wait.
NYRB: Occupy MemorySept 16th 2021
For the past twelve years, I have lived in New York’s Financial District. When I first moved in, during the crash of 2008, I listened for crowds on the street below my apartment. If I heard them, I would imagine that they were the sort of mob that surrounds the castle of a wicked lord at the end of a horror movie, ready to deliver justice while the credits roll. I was always disappointed. When I poked my head out the window I’d see a gaggle of sports fans, or just one noisy person hawking a brow wax. I kept waiting for the pitchforks. On September 17, 2011, they finally came, in the form of Occupy Wall Street. The protest movement would change both me and the country in ways neither of us could have imagined.
The Nation: All That’s Utopian Melts Into Asphalt
July 10th 2021
Utopia Parkway. It’s a name that sounds like an oxymoron, so impossible, so perfect it shouldn’t exist. Yet it does, a 5.1-mile gash—four lanes of asphalt, sometimes two—running through New York City’s largest borough, Queens. The roadway begins, if a line can be said to begin, in Beechhurst in the north, right at the water’s edge. From there it runs past the Long Island Expressway, down through Clearview, Flushing, and Hillcrest to Jamaica Estates in the south, where it fragments just before reaching the behemoth of Grand Central Parkway. This intersection is one of the most dangerous in the city, a place where bodies, bikes, and sometimes lives meet the harsh reality of the pavement.
NYRB: A Miniaturist Goes LargeJuly 8th 2021
The first thing you see when you walk into “Extraordinary Realities,” Pakistani-American artist Shahzia Sikander’s major retrospective at the Morgan Library, is an Indian Devata dancer, gently resting her knee on the shoulder of Aphrodite. Cast in bronze, nearly life-sized, Promiscuous Intimacies (2020) is Sikander’s first sculpture, and her two women only have eyes for each other. Aphrodite toys with the Devata’s necklace. The Devata curves around Aphrodite like a snake.
LitHub: Molly Crabapple on New York City Before, and One Day, After COVID-19February 5th 2021
In Mount Carmel Cemetery, in Queens, there is a section devoted to socialist Jews. Socialist Jews, you ask? Yes. Socialist Jews. Provided by the Workmen’s Circle, a Jewish mutual aid society that eased the entry of many an exiled radical into the New World, the socialist Jewish section of Mount Carmel is singularly low on God. Yiddish overrules Hebrew. Hands hold torches of enlightenment rather than making rabbinical signs. Up front, the whole radical pantheon of Old New York lies in state.
NYRB: In New York, Protesters’ Pride Beats Police BrutalityJune 9th 2020
Last week, in New York’s financial district, a black youth stood at the base of a statue of George Washington, a plantation owner who wore as dentures teeth taken from those he had enslaved, and told thousands of young people that they were the embodiment of God. Some fifteen minutes later, they spilled through the winding streets of Lower Manhattan, and chanted, in unison, “NYPD, suck my dick.”
THE NATION: The Faces of Our CrisisMay 1st 2020
I’’m tired of reading interviews with eminent writers where they talk about the lessons “we” have learned from the crisis. By “we” they mean financially secure people who work from home and have more time to bake. I wonder, does this “we” include the newly immiserated members of the middle class who saw their entire means of making a living disappear? And why does it never include those essential workers whose scorned labor turns the earth? 
NYR Daily: Passover 2020: Why Is This Year Different From All Other Years? (Marisa Mazria Katz, with art by Molly Crabapple)April 7th 2020
Every Passover, my aunt swept into our San Fernando Valley home with wrists full of turquoise, a bob of frizzy straightened hair, and a teakwood bowl of bland Ashkenazy food. She was a socialist Jew raised in Miami. She went to the Peace Corps, lived in Greenwich Village during the Sixties, and followed up with a stint in Santa Fe, before heading to a rent-controlled Santa Monica apartment in the Eighties.
THE NATION: Underpaid, Ignored, and Essential: A Coronavirus SketchbookApril 3rd 2020
Quarantined in my apartment, I put out a call on Twitter saying that I wanted to draw those workers who could not stay at home: delivery people, shelf stockers at grocery stores, nurses, janitors, and cashiers. In the next few hours, more than 50 people wrote to me. I drew these portraits from the selfies they sent me in their work clothes. These are the underpaid, ignored, essential workers who have always made the earth move—and now are forced to risk their lives doing it.
THE NATION: A Michigan Campaign SketchbookMarch 10th 2020
In the days before the Michigan primary, I flew down to Detroit to knock on doors for Bernie Sanders. My friend Natalie and I loped around the culs-de-sac of Dearborn—the country’s largest Arab American community, and hardcore Bernie territory—and climbed up the ramshackle Victorian porches of Southwest Detroit. Canvassing has its delightful moments. Natalie and I registered some young voters, and changed some minds. My mediocre Arabic got a workout. But it’s the sort of slog that comprises the most essential part of organizing.
THE NATION: A Sanders Campaign SketchbookFebruary 3rd 2020
In November and January, I traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire to support the Bernie Sanders campaign, the most human and transformative political campaign I’ve seen in my lifetime. These pictures were drawn from life. I scrawled them as I sat in squeezed in packed rallies full of farmworkers, or in school gymnasiums where Bernie paced, pointed, condemned the powerful, and assured people racked with medical debt, left living in their cars after a layoff that the ways they had suffered were part of a system whose profits were predicated on their despair.
NYRB: ‘A People’s Cry of Indignation’: A Dispatch from Puerto RicoAugust 9th 2019
Of all the things I did not expect to see on the barricades outside San Juan’s Justice Department after midnight, it was a boy blowing a shofar at the cops. Noel, as the polite, tousle-haired, tefillin-wearing kid introduced himself, was a University of Puerto Rico student who had been spending nearly every waking hour on the streets since the first days of the protests that eventually toppled Governor Ricardo Rosselló. They had been the most beautiful days of his life, he said.
NYRB: It’s Not About SexMay 2nd 2019
Every year, on December 17, sex workers from Bombay to Zagreb gather to demand that the world stop killing their colleagues. The International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers started in 2003, to commemorate the dozens of women murdered by the Green River Killer in Washington State in the 1980s and 1990s, and has since grown into a collective cry of mourning, solidarity, and sex workers’ refusal to be ashamed.
NYR Daily:  Waiting With ImmigrantsJanuary 29th, 2019
To be an immigrant in America is to wait. This goes double for the millions of immigrants who have found themselves at the sour end of the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) bureaucracy—and triple in the age of Trump.
NYR Daily: My Great-Grandfather the BundistOctober 6th, 2018
During his elder years, my great-grandfather, the post-Impressionist artist Sam Rothbort, tried to paint back into existence the murdered world of his shtetl childhood. Amid the hundreds of watercolors that he called Memory Paintings, one stood out. A girl silhouetted against some cottages, her dress the same color as the crepuscular sky above. 
Rolling Stone: Scenes From an American Tragedy: The Texas Border CrisisSeptember 2nd, 2018
More than 2,300 children were separated from their parents through Donald Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy before it was suspended on June 20th. In July, I spent five days with my sketchbook in the Rio Grande Valley, the epicenter of the border crisis, and found an immigration system returning to its status quo – which even without family-separation is one of daily cruelty and heartache.
VICE: Dystopian Sketches From Inside The Inauguration Protesters’ TrialDecember 7,  2017
On the stand, Howden denied saying that before the video was shown to him. At one point, he vehemently denied that he had “herded” protesters, only to have the defense confront him with footage of him bragging about “herding” those same protesters and saying that he had gotten “plenty of practice herding people” in Barry Farm, a predominantly black housing project in DC
Paris Review: Puerto Rico Sketchbook: The Artists With ShovelsDecember 4,  2017
Yet these artists had done something that neither Puerto Rico’s neglectful colonial overlords nor its governor had bothered to try. After the hurricane hit, they loaded their cars with donations from Defend PR and the Puerto Rican diaspora and drove into the mountains, determined to find out what people needed.
NYRB: Puerto Rico’s DIY Disaster ReliefNovember 17, 2017
The efforts of the islanders are matched by help from the diaspora of which I am part. In the Bronx, a Puerto Rican boxing gym and cultural center named El Maestro has collected and distributed a hundred tons of aid. On one of the gym’s walls is a mural celebrating the independence fighters: Lolita Lebrón, the Macheteros, Ramón Emeterio Betances, Pedro Albizu Campos. Organizers for the New York arts collective DefendPR have toured the island with solar-powered movie screenings, and are helping rebuild the Paloma Abajo neighborhood in Comerio.
BuzzFeed: How One Small Town In Puerto Rico Found Food And Community After MariaOctober 16, 2017
Maria hit me with a force I could never have imagined. Obsessively, I watched the images of desperate people drinking from springs and wading through floodwater while the San Juan mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz, said through tears that the country she knew was no longer, until I bought a round trip plane ticket to San Juan for 10 times the pre-Maria price, loaded two suitcases with D batteries and water filters, and boarded a plane entirely filled with Puerto Ricans — each as weighed down as I was — who were returning to their country.
The Guardian: Inside the impossible life of a New York street vendorOctober 22, 2016
Selling on the streets is hard. It doesn’t matter if one is slinging handbags or doughnuts, shish kebab or art – vending is for those who are tough. … the space legally available to vend keeps shrinking. Which is why, on a rainy summer afternoon, two dozen street vendors gathered in Times Square to demand their place in the city.
The Guardian: ‘I am your horse!’: 50 shades of Trump on the stumpJuly 25, 2016
We will be great again, Tangerine Mussolini promises, once the scary brown outsiders are deported, and the minorities – uppity women and liberal fifth columnists – are beaten down. Trump takes Washington’s coded racism and writes it in neon. To his followers, this looks like strength.
The Daily Beast: Molly Crabapple’s Mourning In America: The Republican National Convention IllustratedJuly 24, 2016
The RNC had credentialed 15,000 members of the media, and thousands more flew to Cleveland on their own dime, in hope of selling a story later.  Many were lured by the promise of photogenic riots, but as the reporters shoved their colleagues to get a better shot, it became clear that any violence in Cleveland would be done by journalists to each other.
VICE: What Happens When Inmates in Solitary Confinement Blow the Whistle on Their Abuse?October 5, 2015
A group of inmates calling themselves the Dallas Six banded together and grew committed to bringing their prison’s abusive conditions to light, even in the face of being confined there longer.
VICE: Nine Months After He Filmed Eric Garner’s Killing, the Cops are Trying to Put Ramsey Orta Behind BarsApril 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 WorkersJanuary 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 GitmoSeptember 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 CarribeanSeptember 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 GuantánamoSeptember 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 ThisJuly 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 BattalionJuly 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 UsJune 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 CollegeMay 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

NYRB: In the Shadow of InvasionSeptember 9, 2022
In August I spent two weeks traveling around Ukraine by train, using my sketchbook to document quotidian existence in the shadow of Russia’s invasion. By the time I arrived the Ukrainian army had largely pushed the war back to the country’s south and east. Lviv, Odesa, and Kyiv had returned to vivid life.
Women Refugee Voices from Asia and Africa, Chapter 4September 14, 2021
Bringing together first-hand accounts from women refugees and interventions by activists, academics, journalists, filmmakers, humanitarian workers, and international law experts, this book will be a must read for scholars and researchers of migration and diaspora studies, development studies, sociology and social anthropology, and politics and public policy. It will be of special interest to NGOs, policymakers, and think tanks.
The New Yorker: The Attack on Exarchia, An Anarchist Refuge in AthensJanuary 20, 2020
before dawn on August 25th, Rafi jolted awake to the sounds of police outside Spirou Trikoupi, a building where he was squatting, in the Athens neighborhood of Exarchia. A muscular twenty-eight-year-old from Kabul, Rafi had been an interpreter for the U.S. military. In 2015, he made the punishing journey across Iran, Turkey, and the Aegean Sea, until he found himself in Exarchia, where anarchists and refugees were transforming abandoned buildings into self-organized sanctuaries. For two and a half years, Rafi had lived alongside ninety Eritreans, Iranians, Afghans, and Kurds, at Spirou Trikoupi, “like a family,” he said.
New York Times: The Girl Who Seized the InternetNovember 1, 2018
On Oct. 9, the Iraqi author Sinan Antoon tweeted, “Killing those who are other/different has become a ritual/hobby, practiced by individuals for fun, after having been institutionalized by the state, political parties and militias for years.” His tweet referred to reports that an Iraqi teenager had been butchered on a Baghdad street by an assailant who thought he looked gay. But Mr. Antoon could have been referring to any of the young Iraqis who have tried to break free of the rigid social codes governing both genders only to suffer vicious reprisals.
New York Times: If the Regime Comes Here, Everyone Will Be TargetedSeptember 11, 2018
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and his Russian allies have escalated aerial bombing of Idlib in northwest Syria, the last rebel-held province in Syria. A major offensive to capture Idlib, where three million people live, is expected. Idlib has been the refuge for large numbers of Syrians who were displaced from towns and cities captured by Mr. Assad’s forces. There will be no Idlib after Idlib.
NYR Daily: How Turkey’s Campaign in Afrin Is Stoking Syrian HatredsApril 11, 2018
To be a Kurd in Afrin, once a majority Kurdish city, Mohammed says, is now to find oneself a member of a despised group, suspected of disloyalty, and liable to be robbed, beaten, put to flight, or worse. In its seventh year, the Syrian civil war has seen the warring parties and their foreign sponsors foster and exploit ethnic and sectarian divisions in order to realize their strategic ends. The looting and ethnic cleansing of Afrin by Turkish-backed militias is the latest ugly episode of this grim and cynical logic.
VICE: Greece Is Cracking Down on the Anarchist Squats Giving Shelter to RefugeesMarch 16, 2017
Most government camps are squalid, overcrowded horror shows. Their food is stale and sometimes infested by maggots, their shelter, in many places, still consists of flimsy tents. At least five refugees have died due to cold this winter (one was killed when their tent caught fire as they were desperately trying to keep warm in the snow), and thousands more are unprotected from the elements. In most camps, there are no schools, no decent medical care, no distractions, nothing to do except try to find a decent smuggler. Conditions are so brutal that according to a recent MSF report, refugees, including children, have been driven to attempt suicide.
VICE: Greece’s Anarchists Are Taking Better Care of Refugees Than the GovernmentMarch 9, 2017
If Samos’s hotspot were simply full, most refugees would live in PVC porta-cabins, which look like shipping containers with doors and a roof. But by late October, it was so far beyond capacity that every empty foot was filled with tents. Several dozen people slept in the open air. Tents were the cheap single-person variety, just high enough to kneel inside, but one might house an entire family, packed so tightly they had to sleep curled in fetal positions, a thin layer of nylon their only protection from the concrete. Water leaked from the cabins’ bathrooms onto the ground where people slept. 
VICE: The Oppressive Architecture of the West BankAugust 24, 2015
Old Hebron is honey-stoned and blue-doored—the sort of charming Mediterranean labyrinth that, in another universe, would be full of obnoxious tour groups. But thanks to the occupation, it’s scarred by gates, concrete barriers, barbed wire, and checkpoints. A souk where gold was once sold lies empty, the doors of its many shops welded shut by the IDF, its merchandise still inside.
Vanity Fair: Scenes from Inside Aleppo: How Life Has Been Transformed by Rebel RuleJuly 20, 2015
In Aleppo, the revolution gives the impression that it is a revolt of the poor. When rebel groups from the northern countryside pushed towards the city, these slums were the first that welcomed them, unlike the richer neighborhoods, which, instead, remained in the hands of the regime.
Aleppo is now a city divided, with each half shelling the other. World-heritage sites have become front lines, and treasures turned into ramparts.
VICE: Shujaiya DustJune 30, 2015
Nearly a year after the end of Protective Edge, little has changed in Shujaiya. A few houses have been patched up, but many more are nothing but rubble. Piles of prescriptions fluttered in front of the destroyed Ministry of Health. Everywhere homes lay collapsed like ruined layer cakes, the fillings composed of the flotsam of daily life: blankets, cooking pots, Qu’rans, cars./td>
VICE: Slaves of Happiness IslandAugust 14, 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./td>
VICE: Caught Between ISIS and AssadJun 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 GasApril 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 DubaiJune 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 revoltMarch 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 CorpsesFebruary 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 RefugeesJanuary 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 RefugeesDecember 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 BloodshedDecember 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 GanzeerJanuary 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 EllisAugust 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 SpiegelmanDecember 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.


The Paris Review: Farewell to Manhattan’s Secret BookstoreJuly 22nd 2019
I knew Michael Seidenberg through Brazenhead, the illicit bookstore he built in a tiny rent-controlled apartment.How to describe utopia masquerading as a bookstore? It comes to me as a sense memory—the gold light and the sweetness of Michael’s pipe smoke, the feeling of leisure and vastness as we sprawled, talking, amid the books that smelled like burning leaves. The music he played sounded like it came from an old record player, even if it did not.
NYR Daily: My Great-Grandfather the BundistOctober 6th, 2018
During his elder years, my great-grandfather, the post-Impressionist artist Sam Rothbort, tried to paint back into existence the murdered world of his shtetl childhood. Amid the hundreds of watercolors that he called Memory Paintings, one stood out. A girl silhouetted against some cottages, her dress the same color as the crepuscular sky above. 
3 AM Magazine:
No Victor But God
May 5,  2018
There is no victor but God. This calligraphy (copied, unread, from the Nasirids’ Alhambra, brought over, un-comprehended, as decoration for a French restaurant on a hurricane-gutted island) might just be the best epitaph for our age. Who wins, really, in the end? 
‘The Fatal Conscience’: Julia de Burgos, Puerto Rico’s Greatest Poet
April 26,  2018
In 1928, when Julia de Burgos was fourteen, Hurricane San Felipe devastated Puerto Rico. The Category Five storm left not a single building unscathed, least of all the wood casita in a mountain barrio in Carolina where De Burgos was born. Three hundred people died in what would be, for the next ninety years, the most violent storm in the island’s history. Julia de Burgos did not record her experience.
The Guardian: Trump’s Here. We Have Four Years to Write a Better Story.January 20, 2017
It takes both skill and luck to bake a FailCake as bad as this, and you’ve got to do the prep work for years. Start with a racist celebrity liar. Soak him in media attention. Plunk him into the electoral college, a system engineered to empower slave states at the expense of densely populated cities, then subtract section four of the Voting Rights Act and add in a dash of discriminatory voter ID laws in crucial states.
The New York Times: A List Maker Attempts the ImpossibleDecember 30, 2015
New Year’s is like a witches’ sabbath for us list makers. No weak resolutions to “lose weight” or “eat healthy” for us. No, New Year’s is both absolution and excuse to dream. On New Year’s Day, we throw out our past failures like shards of broken champagne bottles. We wipe off our old faces like tired lipstick.
Vanity Fair: From Pussy Riot to Snowden: the Dissident FetishJune 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 TruthMay 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 FunnyApril 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 JusticeMarch 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 30January 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 MineJanuary 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 LineOctober 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 LucreJune 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 OccupyApril 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 AbortionApril 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 MeMarch 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 GirlsFebruary 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 GirlOctober 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.”


The Village Voice: Here’s Donny! DysTrumpia Takes Hold at the Republican National ConventionJuly 13, 2016
Reince Priebus, moist and pink from a recent molt, introduces the presumptive nominee. His grilles short the microphones, which shoot blue arcs of electricity to match his nipples. “Party unity!” he screams.
The Guardian: The New York Stock Exchange goes down: Inside the dystopian aftermathJuly 8, 2015
I hire now-former JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon as my local fixer. “Tell me the ways of your people, caught as they are between the present and the ancient past”, I demand, offering him half a hotdog as payment. Instead, he weeps.


2 thoughts on “Writing

  1. Will A.

    A recent Vice article (the first of the two listed above) comprised my introduction to Molly’s writing. I am duly hooked and now have some catching up to do!

  2. Will A.

    A recent Vice article (the first of the two listed above) comprised my introduction to Molly’s writing. I am duly hooked and now have some catching up to do!


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