- 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.
- Is the Selling of Virginity a Feminist Act?Directly following the Obamania surrounding the January 2009 presidential inauguration, U.S. news media began running stories about Natalie Dylan, the 22-year-old women’s studies graduate who decided, in the wake of completing a degree based on the refutation of patriarchal principles, to sell her virginity online to the highest bidder. While the media made much ado about the implications of Dylan as a failed “role model”—with much hand-wringing about the decline of civilized courtship, the encroaching tidal wave of raunch culture onto “good girl” suburbia, and the loss of old-fashioned values of purity and chastity—they failed to take seriously Dylan’s own narrative about this exchange. This essay asks: What does Dylan’s reading of selling her virginity offer to a feminist politics?
- 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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