We at the The Public Sphere are celebrating a one-year anniversary since we ran our test issue 0. Given the myriad anniversaries honored in 2009, from the French Revolution to the Chinese revolution to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez”s show, Aló Presidente, it seemed an appropriate time to ponder the power and meaning of anniversaries while considering the complex issues confronting us in daily life regardless of annual recognitions. Linda Levitt takes up the impending 40th anniversary of the moon landing, querying mediations of NASA”s space explorations. Meanwhile, T.R. Kiyoshi Oshiro questions the role anniversaries play in individual lives, and Mohammad Razi reflects on his own anniversary, having lived through the Iranian Revolution. Continuing explorations of life as a Filipina American, Lauren Espineli examines the importance of language and public recognition in her own life. Responding to Mark C. Taylor”s editorial on the nbso crisis of U.S. higher education, Marc Lombardo fathoms both the deeper source of Taylor”s use of crisis as descriptor while also considering how we might better understand the state of the university. Missing her local video rental store, Paloma Ramirez wonders about what we have lost in our transition from physical to virtual consumerism. Finally, Nikhil Thakur considers the five issues Republicans must confront if they hope to revive their party in the next four years.
- Hockey Moms, Prayer Nazis, and Why I Love But Fear People Like Sarah PalinRemember that really nice girl who greeted you warmly as a potential friend when you first arrived at college? Remember how she conscientiously invited you to dinner, or to study, or to her Christian fellowship activity? Remember the conversations about religion that you thought were a precursor to sharing secrets among friends? But then you expressed a different opinion, or you joined a liberal club, or you started to explore your sexuality, and suddenly, you felt a sharp pain in your back? Betrayed by some evangelical whom you thought was a friend?
- Your 258 Closest FriendsAn acquaintance of mine claims to have 258 friends. That number could be larger, actually; the figure only represents the number of boon companions who show up on her MySpace page and not those additional pals who might appear in real time but avoid online social networking.
- The Church Needs a New Confession: Pathetic-ness as Moral FailingOvert evil is easy to discuss. It’s banal evil that is hard to acknowledge. And you can’t confess to a sin until that sin has been acknowledged. Churches spent the rest of the twentieth century acknowledging the sins of genocide. However, in her writings, Hannah Arendt, who witnessed the trials against the Nazis, wrote about how the Nazi war criminals resisted acknowledging that their boring, nine-to-five office jobs of record keeping or laboratory work on the use of chemicals in the gas chambers had actually been evil. In her book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, Arendt chronicles the wartime activities and trial of German Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann, who claimed that he was only doing his bureaucratic job as a transportation logician.
- Would You Prefer Gay Marriage or No Marriage?The vicious debates surrounding California’s Proposition 8 this election season again evoke the right-wing stranglehold on the discourse of (gay) marriage. The missing piece here, of course, is the somewhat-amorphous third group: those (gay and straight) who oppose gay marriage because it assimilates queer people into a problematic, sexist, patriarchal, classist, and homophobic institution. Perhaps in their efforts to avoid the stereotype of being “anti-family-values,” left-wing folks have failed to formally ask these questions: Why marriage at all? Why not work collectively to end marriage, or at least divorce marriage from the conferral of rights, for both queers and heterosexuals? If marriage tangibly institutionalizes the supremacy of heterosexual kinship structures, as Judith Butler has argued, why should anyone get married?
- The New, Hard Work of PlayPerhaps we would all enjoy ourselves more... if we let kids be kids when and in the places they need to be kids, and parents be adults when and in the places they need to be adults.
- What We Lose When We Lose GodAO Scott has recently proposed that we are living in a post-partiarchal age that is also the end of adulthood. Here I want to suggest that the death of God continues to be a more fundamental liberating loss of our cultural moment.
- Red Baiting MandelaIn the wake of Nelson Mandela’s death in 2013, a small, but vocal, number of critics decided to pull out an old canard about his affiliation with Communism.
- Howling AgainIt would be wrong, wouldn’t it<br> to ask for sacrificial stand-ins<br> cheap substitutes
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