In the September 15, 2008 Los Angeles Times, Gregory Rodriguez reminds us that U.S. politics has a love-hate relationship with the idea of victimhood. People, like Rush Limbaugh, criticize the ideas of “victimhood” when an ethic of proper treatment for victims leads to increased civil rights for African Americans. At the same time, John McCain loves playing his running mate as the victim of a misogynistic news media if he thinks it will solidify the base behind him. How does the U.S. sustain the tension between hating other people’s claims to victimization but loving our own?
- 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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