Smart people saying smart things (11.17)

Celia Riley, Seth Stevenson, and Jonathan Martin respond to the election. Ruth Ben-Ghiat on looking squarely at the things we’d rather not see. Maria Konnikova on why it’s so hard to tell victims they’ve been conned. [Read more…]

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Consent is necessary. This is not complicated.

Consent is necessary. This is the first, unavoidable aspect of any sexual ethics or ethical sex. It starts with consent. But every time we repeat that simple, modest claim, we get denounced by so-called “conservatives” who go off on mighty rants condemning us as though we had said something very different. Those rants all rail against the idea that consent is sufficient — that it is the whole, and only, aspect of any sexual ethics or ethical sex. [Read more…]

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‘This is disgraceful. It is intolerable.’

Nothing I could write today would be as timely, wise or eloquent as the speech that First Lady Michelle Obama gave this morning in New Hampshire. So let’s just look at that. [Read more…]

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Team Because vs. Team Despite

My framework for viewing Donald Trump’s campaign in the 2016 general election involves seeing his supporters in two distinct groups: Despite and Because. Some people are still supporting Trump despite all the awful things he has said and done. But it was the Because voters who carried Trump through the primaries, and those voters — the ones who love him because of all the awful things he says and does — are the ones Donald Trump intends to serve as president. [Read more…]

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No, ‘SJW’ is not used to deflate pompous Comstockian moralists. That’s not how it’s used at all.

The Internet is open to the public. We can Google, search on Facebook and Twitter, or browse through the comments at YouTube and the local newspaper site. We can see how and when the insult “SJW” is used. And in the vast majority of cases, that has nothing to do with some imagined meaning about ridiculing self-righteous moral crusaders. In the vast majority of actual usage, the epithet is directed at someone who criticized racism or sexism as unjust and undesirable. That’s how the word is used. That’s what it means. [Read more…]

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Postcards from the culture wars (8.24)

“Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.” [Read more…]

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‘Therefore, we are saved by hope’

“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore, we are saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we are saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we are saved by love.” [Read more…]

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With these hands, with these hands

Walter Hagen said great athletes “Make the hard ones look easy and the easy ones look hard.” You will never live long enough to read all the criticism written about Hillary Clinton’s capacity for sometimes making the easy ones look hard, but take a moment this week to acknowledge that she has just accomplished something historic, unprecedented, and incredibly hard — and she made it look so easy that we take it for granted. [Read more…]

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