United States
Free to Be You and Me

Free to Be You and Me

It was 1928 when Herbert Hoover coined the phrase “the American system of rugged individualism.” Socialism was growing in popularity, and attempts to paint the ideas behind the movement as dangerous were well underway. In the same speech, the President mentioned the perils of “state socialism,” something that would take away Americans’ freedom if it was ever attempted in the United States. More»

Home of the Free

Home of the Free

I could smell the alcohol on his breath as he leaned towards me from his window seat. I had hoped to write on my red-eye flight. But something in this soft-featured redhead’s manner suggested that it would be hard for me to stay focused on my essay. Even though it was past midnight, he was eager to talk and a little too intoxicated to feel self-conscious about sharing his thoughts with a stranger. More»

Israel First Means Israel Last

Israel First Means Israel Last

Last week, I broke the news that the GOP adopted the one-state solution: “Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.” More»

Artist or Terrorist?

Artist or Terrorist?

Taking photos of any public place has become a risky activity for American photographers since the ill-conceived Homeland Security Act was put into effect. When the subject is a sensitive site like a power plant, the danger is greater still. While no laws were broken taking these photos of the Tucson Electric Power facility, the risk of harassment and interrogation was real. More»

Death of a Promise Keeper

Death of a Promise Keeper

The flag should have been the give-away. For the past eleven years, the Stars and Stripes had been flying over the house across the street from dawn till dusk. Sometimes I’d see my neighbor putting it to bed, carefully folding it into the triangular shape they taught us to use in the Cub Scouts. More»

Cabela's Hearts Indians

Cabela’s Hearts Indians

Hunting for a sassy-looking sweatshirt, I stumbled across Cabela’s online frontier of testosterone. For those unfamiliar with the outfitter, the site doesn’t do justice to the consumer stadiums that CEO, Richard N. Cabela, has erected. However, it’s still a place where you can obtain all the necessary accoutrements for an Elk grinding session, or going ‘deep cover’ in the no-man’s land between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. More»

Red Rose

Red Rose

Given the number of intellectual heavyweights who have been featured on Charlie Rose over the years, maybe Slavoj Žižek’s October 26th appearance shouldn’t have been a surprise. Yet the timing of his visit made it feel urgent, somehow, as if we were witnessing the repudiation of business as usual. More»

Occupying the Negative

Occupying the Negative

When the peripatetic Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek spoke to an appreciative audience at Occupy Wall Street on October 9th, it confirmed what many had already suspected: the protesters are surprisingly open to what graduate students used to call “theory, but with a capital T.” More»

Making Ourselves Heard

Making Ourselves Heard

On September 17th, the day Occupy Wall Street commenced, I spent my morning in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, completing the last step of the naturalization process: the oath of citizenship. This oath is not especially poetic, but it is important. Immigrants are repeatedly told that they will not become Americans until they have collectively uttered the oath, which includes pledging to take up arms if asked to do so. More»

Rick Perry's Sodom

Rick Perry’s Sodom

Campaigns to reinforce public morality solidify weakening structures of oppression. Their existence is sufficient evidence of this point. Were public morals to meet the approbation of of the so-called authorities, there would be no need for such corrective efforts. But prescriptive morality is by nature a political tool, meaning that supposed general moral inadequacy is a function of its usefulness. More»

Spectacular Bondage

Spectacular Bondage

Because we didn’t want our two-year-old daughter’s head to be filled with disturbing images, we had avoided them ourselves. When I headed out to pick up a video for her to watch, it had been hours since the first attack. Walking into Blockbuster, I expected to see what I always saw, with new movie releases playing on its many television screens. But every single one of them was tuned to CNN. They were showing the footage of the second plane’s strike that had just become available. More»

The Laws of Distraction

The Laws of Distraction

Walking across a college campus these days, one is constantly reminded how important personal technology has become for today’s students. From the sorority sister texting while her beach cruiser wobbles through the crowd, to the nerds sharing a portable videogame console, the scene is reminiscent of yesterday’s science fiction. The degree of collective distraction is truly stunning. Everyone seems to be tuning into their devices as a way of tuning out the world around them. More»