by John O’MalleyMost people have heard of the Council of Trent, and probably most of what they have heard is negative. It was a church council convoked to condemn the Reformation. It initiated a repressive epoch in Catholic countries and opposed everything good in the burgeoning “modern world.” It launched the dreaded Counter-Reformation. Beyond such clichés, few can venture. Like most clichés, these are badly misleading.
by Talia SchafferGay marriage supposedly interferes with “traditional marriage,” say its opponents. “We have at least 6,000 years of recorded history on our side,” remarked Kris Mineau, president of the conservative group Massachusetts Family Institute. People like Mineau assume that the traditional definition of the family is stable, unvarying and ancient.
by Sebastian NormandinSo this is the thing. I’ve been breathing a long time but, driven by the objective of writing a book, only recently started deliberately thinking about it. We commonly view breathing as a pedestrian automatism, but I try to imagine how this simple physiological function was once perceived as miraculous. Always that fine but-oh-so-definitive line between breathing and not.
by Alexander McGregorIn the construction of a genuinely socialist state, shaped upon Bolivarian principles, arguably little has been achieved in the last fifty years and the regime, apparently, withstands the inevitable decay of popular support through both repression and an almost mystical, religious prosecution of the ‘eternal possibility’: keep fighting, oh sons of Cuba, one day we shall be finally rid of our enemies and then we may be truly free.
by Dylan J. MontanariFor anyone who has ever heard Fried lecture, it is easy enough to hear his voice as one reads his writing. He is unafraid of the “I,” using it so earnestly that his work seems to take on the mode of confession at times, especially when he is at his most enthusiastic or urgent.
by Jenny DiskiI am awkward around art. Not at all confident about how I should look and what I should feel. I stand both pleased and helpless in front of this painting and look, think about what I’m looking at, and wonder about it, in as much as I can, because I’m not an art historian. Often, standing in front of paintings I wonder what it is I am supposed to be feeling beyond the looking and thinking.
by Masha TupitsynIn America, we aim to raise children who can do things — anything — not children who can’t. Ruthless competition and competence is at the heart of the American dream. However, when it comes to contemporary America, and contemporary American masculinity in particular, what exactly does it mean to be capable of “anything” now?
by Daniel TuttAlain Badiou’s translation of Plato leaves us with the rare sense that politics can once again be associated with truth, courage and justice. We have an agency at our disposal that comes in the passionate work of bringing the idea of equality (communism) into existence.
by Cristóbal Rovira KaltwasserOddly enough, many analysts forget that when Chávez won the presidential elections in 1998, his populist discourse did include references neither to anti-neoliberalism nor to radical socialism. Instead, the role model that he had in mind was that of Tony Blair’s Third Way. Chávez wanted to rebuild the economy by finding a new balance between the state and the free market.
by Russell Bennetts1. John Barrowman. 3. Music I listen to for pleasure being used for pain. (I know this happened IRL, but nonetheless.) 6. Maya’s Lana Del Rey impression in the final scene of the movie.
by Joanna WalshWhat are dreams for? Elliptical, intimate, (seemingly) significant; from predicting the future to returning the repressed, these least fathomable experiences have always had an interpretive function laid on them. A similar question lies at the heart of the Oulipo.
by Leo TolstoyAn elder sister came to visit her younger sister in the country. The elder was married to a tradesman in town, the younger to a peasant in the village. As the sisters sat over their tea talking, the elder began to boast of the advantages of town life: saying how comfortably they lived there, how well they dressed, what fine clothes her children wore, what good things they ate and drank, and how she went to the theatre, promenades, and entertainments.
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