Issue № 3 | March 2009

Issue № 3 | March 2009

As spring begins in the Northern Hemisphere, pieces in this issue of The Public Sphere fathom the hopes, limits, possibilities, and problems of seasonal shifts and moments of personal or social change. Taking a cue from U.S. attorney general Eric Holder, Valerie Bailey considers that liberal Protestants, and the U.S., more broadly require a new confession that addresses pervasive moral cowardice, and Jacqueline Hidalgo engages Ugly Betty in the non-postracial era. Breanne Fahs wonders if and in what ways Natalie Dylan's sale of her virginity is and is not a feminist act. Jeremy Fernando explores the ritual necessities of Valentine's Day, while Paloma Ramírez finds inadequate romantic comedies to be a cultural curse. In more artistic meditations, Hope Miller reflects on a road trip to Utah, and Geoshino Ollscia ponders seasonal rains. Finally, Katy Scrogin weighs the value of violence in artistic truth.
Mar 15, 2009 /

Artistic Truth Bites Back: The Bitter Taste of Hard Candy

Imagine my surprise when the movie turned out to be brilliant. Brilliant, note—not enjoyable. The cinematography was fantastic and every one of us was retrospectively amazed that the whole thing was accomplished using a mere five actors. So yes, an incredible piece of work. The technical coups, however, were only icing on the cake. Its true distinction lay in its patent ability to discomfort the viewer in ways that I no longer thought possible, in a show-all, tell-all world.
Mar 15, 2009 /

In Defence of Stupidity; on Love and Valentine’s Day

Every year, on the fourteenth day of February, one is bound to hear numerous complaints from just about everyone (besides florists) about how Valentine's Day is mere commercialism. Whichever side they come from - and whichever variation of the arguments they choose - it all boils down to this: they are decrying the fact that relationships have moved from the private to the public sphere. The underlying logic is that love is between two persons only and should remain between them; love should remain an unmediated experience between the two persons in that relationship.
Mar 15, 2009 /

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?
Mar 15, 2009 /

We Don't Live in Postracial America Yet

After the inauguration of the 44th president of the United States of America, Glenn Beck, on, quickly criticized the racialism of Barack Obama's inaugural ceremony.
Mar 15, 2009 /

The Church Needs a New Confession: Pathetic-ness as Moral Failing

Overt 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.
Mar 15, 2009 /


1. I eat mud  when sun doesn't shine and eyes, mine like seas, busk heavy with the sadness of every season at winter. To cheer me up they use illumination therapy and […]
Mar 14, 2009 /

I am Indignant! Why Can’t Romantic Comedies Be Good Movies?

Fantasy is a wonderful thing in a child’s life. It’s a wonderful thing in anyone’s life. And there’s no harm in it; after all, the vast majority of us, once we’ve reached adulthood, know the difference between what we see in movies and what we know in real life. Don’t we?
Feb 15, 2009 /

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