The State of the Union and the New Cold War

According to President Barack Obama and other leaders of the "West," there is a new Sexual Cold War emerging between countries that support LGBT rights and those that do not. But these battle lines are not as easily located as the old Cold War because there is no Sexual Iron Curtain to keep them in place and both homophobia and LGBT rights travel the globe.

"The Interview" as White Man's Burden

"The Interview" revitalizes highly radicalized fantasies of colonial conquest. The conquest happens primarily through sexual conquest, but also through bringing the goods of consumer capitalism to North Korea. In this 21st century version of "The White Man's Burden," it is not soap, but Skype that signifies how much better life will be after invasion.

The Cruel Optimism of Xmas

Xmas induces a feeling of hopefulness in hopeless times. That hopefulness is a kind of cruel optimism that stops us from facing the reality of income disparity in the US in favor of believing that a magical event like Black Friday shopping can save us.

Happiness and Its Discontents

The incessant pursuit of happiness may be making us miserable. That's because happiness is always momentary, chased by its shadow, sadness. The thin line between the two is what makes Robin Williams' death both more and less comprehensible: a man so happy and full of life who was also plagued by soul-crushing depression.

Is "Thomas the Tank Engine" to Blame for Bad News?

The innocent childhood that "Thomas the Tank Engine" represents blew up this summer when Thomas's voice left the show because he didn't earn enough money to live. Yet the category of innocent childhood still structures so much of the violence we are seeing from Ukraine to Palestine to the child refugee crisis in the Americas.

Putinchology

Vladimir Putin has ruled by creating enemies, internal and external. Gays, America and Ukrainian "fascists" are all used as an excuse for the increased tightening of control on the everyday life of Russians. And yet most of these laws are bent, subverted or even openly ignored. The result is a state where "rule of law" is as absurd as it was during the late Soviet period.

George Will Doesn't Believe Campus Rape Is a Problem

George Will tried to take down his favorite enemy — the tenured radical — by pooh poohing the idea that rape is really such a big problem on college campuses. The question isn't why Will would do such a thing, but why the Washington Post would publish it.

Elliot Rodger and the problem with manhood

Elliot Rodger may or may not have been mentally ill, but his hatred of women, his sense of entitlement rooted in sexist ideas of having a right to women's bodies and using violence to punish them is not outside of an increasingly popular angry masculinity that is visible in everything from rape culture to domestic violence to the violent rhetoric of the men's movement.

The Clippers Scandal Isn't Just About Race

When Donald Sterling told his mistress V. Stiviano to stop posting images of herself with "minorities" to her Tumblr, he unleashed a national conversation about racism. But the story is not just about race, but sex as well. This intersection of racism and sexism is exactly what makes the most banal of breakups into a much more sublime cultural text.

A Manhood Problem

David Brooks is like a Disney Princess waiting for a prince to ride in and defeat all of America's enemies with a mighty sword/phallus. And that is a really dangerous political fairytale.

Curling Parents, Colbert, and the Politics of Hurt Feelings

The #CancelColbert campaign is a sign of a new generation of politics, a politics structured entirely by emotion and yet completely lacking in an analysis of structure. That's because a new generation of activists have been raised to believe any and all obstacles with throw them off track. Hurt feelings become as difficult to conquer as structural racism.

Love and Hate American Style

We Americans love to hate our enemies. Bad leaders from bad countries. Sinners. Evil doers. Our exes. That's because American culture sees the world in black and white, good and evil, right and wrong. That's a bad idea in politics and religion. It might be an even worse idea in our personal lives.

GOPutin

In the past few months, GOP legislators have been trying to pass anti-gay laws that would make parts of the US look like Putin's Russia. Based on a similar fear of gay contagion, these laws would make it legal to deny LGBT Americans basic services, even government services. So far most of these bills have been defeated because they're bad for business.

Is it time to institutionalize polyamorous relationships?

Mom plus Dad plus Billy and Sally may now be Mom plus Dad plus Billy and Sally plus Mom's boyfriend plus Dad's boyfriend's girlfriend. Polyamorous families are just one of many post-nuclear family formations that now make up the vast majority of American families. Maybe it's finally time to push for laws that will help protect them?

Why We Love/Hate Valentine's Day

Many of us love/hate Valentine's Day. That's because we Americans are both true romantics and cynical jerks. But whether we love or hate February 14th, we will probably buy stuff or go out for a meal or a drink to express our emotions. That's because modern love doesn't just demand consumption. It also demands seriously mixed feelings.

Woody: Guilty or Not?

Woody Allen's daughter, Dylan, re-opened her 1993 charges that her father sexually abused her. Allen continues to deny any wrong-doing. This family tragedy has morphed into a wider national competition between those who believe Woody and those believe Dylan. But should accusations of sexual abuse really be about belief or about evidence? And what is the evidence?

Same Love, Mass Weddings, and the Cult of Romance

Last night at the Grammys Queen Latifah married 34 couples of various ages, races and sexualities while Macklemore, Ryan Lewis and Madonna performed the marriage equality movement's anthem "Same Love." It was all very romantic and moving and, well, cultish. Here's why.

L'amour French Style

Let's face it, when it comes to love, French culture is really quite different than American. That's because the French are more in sync with the rest of the industrialized countries, separating love from marriage and private life from political popularity.

Politicians Behaving Badly

Chris Christie may have shut down traffic in an act of political revenge, but he is just one of many politicians behaving badly and getting away with it. Mayor Rob Ford, Cocaine Congressman and an epidemic of political affuenza mean it's no longer enough to throw the bums out. It's time to lock the bums up!

The Most Miserable Time of Year

Americans are pretty unhappy. That unhappiness grows in the lead up to Christmas but then gets really bad after the 26th. The reasons for our unhappiness are many, but we would all be a lot happier if we were more like Denmark and less like Russia.

Are Black Friday Stampedes Sacred?

Black Friday stampedes have become a depressingly regular feature of the holiday season. And yet surely humans are not actually fighting over stuff as much as they are fighting over something more sacred: the ability to express love. With the advent of consumer capitalism, love is always expressed through stuff from diamond rings to X-boxes. Can we love without stuff?

Our Love/Hate Relationship with White/Black Pop Stars

We love to hate pop music. We are disgusted at the mistreatment of women, the homophobic lyrics, the racism and yet we just can't stop the music. It is this fight between our cultural Id and our cultural Superego that makes Lilly Allen's latest video so fun to love and to hate.

In Russia Obama is Gay and other Reversal Jokes

Discredited psychologist and found of the Family Research Institute went to Moscow to teach legislators there how to make homophobia and misogyny sound like it's good for the children. It was like a Russian reversal joke: in America Cameron has no power; in Russia power has Cameron.

Daisy Coleman's Carrie Moment

"Carrie" is the ultimate revenge fantasy where the popular kids get what's coming to them in the end. Now Daisy Coleman, a young woman who was brutally raped and left for dead by a popular football player, is having her Carrie moment as she comes out publicly about what happened to her and her family and why her rapist is at college instead of jail.

Against Obamacare? Why Not Accuse Uncle Sam of Rape?

When the Koch brothers wanted to convince young Americans not to buy into Obamacare, they funded ads that made a dirty little joke that Uncle Sam will rape you. Not only was it not funny, but ironically, it was a confusion of normal medical procedures with rape. Perhaps the real effect will be to convince young people to buy in, not out, of Obamacare.

UVM Frat Boys Confuse Life With Porn

Some frat boys at UVM posted an ad seeking a "house MILF" to serve them in the kitchen and the bedroom. They clearly confused porn for real life. But maybe rather than punishing them, we could educate them instead? That's why I posted an ad for these frat boys to come to my house to vacuum and learn about feminism.

Why We Love To Hate Miley's Twerk

The reasons everyone loves to hate Miley Cyrus are far more complicated than gender or race. Instead, we hate Cyrus because she calls into question our culture's belief in the sexually pure lady/child, who is always already white and middle class, by appropriating Black and working class cultural forms, "ratchet" culture, in a way that can only be described as minstrelsy.

Manning's Gender AND Bales'

Robert Bales and Chelsea Manning were both sentenced this week for crimes they committed while serving in the US military. Bales' manliness is used to defend him while Manning's transgendered identity is used to mark her as mentally ill.

Gender 101

Is the gender binary crumbling? Is gender now a more fluid and messy notion of being a man or a woman. Or is gender in fact becoming stricter and more binary than ever? What if the answer is both: gender is both and the result is a red hot mess.

A New "Not White" Bachelor

The first non-white contestant on ABC's Bachelor is... white. But really, that's what we want to see in an ideal romance that is meant to end in a big and perfect wedding. If we didn't, why would we watch Disney film after Disney film, or consume the Twilight saga, or watch the Royal Wedding over and over again?

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