‘church and state’

Film Review: Fellini’s “Amarcord” (“I Remember,” 1973)

Today I had the great pleasure of watching the masterpiece “Amarcord” again. The film is a charming series of vignettes set in Fellini’s seaside hometown during his childhood in 1930s Italy. A warm and gentle comedy, it lovingly skewers the platitudes by which everyday people manage their daily lives. Although Fellini is ever the romantic, he is also honest. And so a film about early adolescence includes story after wry story of adolescent sexual fantasy. We see daydreams of erotic conquest, braggadocio that cannot be fulfilled (including the largest breasts on this earth), boys lovingly tailing the town’s glamorous hairdresser,…

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Anthony Weiner’s “Bad Judgment:” That is SO Not the Point

I wouldn’t want to be Anthony Weiner right now. Because everyone can see he’s conflicted about sex. But c’mon, aren’t you? Isn’t everyone? As Somerset Maugham wrote almost a century ago, “There is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world with surprise and horror.” Would you want your mental sexual architecture exposed? Of course not. And that’s the problem: Everyone in America is conflicted about sex. But only people with certain kinds of sexual conflict get caught. Some people conflicted about sex never masturbate, never ask a woman what time it is just…

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America’s War On Sex: Second Edition?

You may have read my most recent book, America’s War On Sex. It’s won a couple of awards, and I’ve lectured on the subject in dozens of cities. I’m pretty proud of it. The publisher (Praeger) has asked me about doing a second edition—updating it and perhaps adding other material. In some ways, it would be more complicated than just writing a whole new book. So I’ve been thinking about how to do it. How’s the War on Sex been going since the book was published? My initial answer is: “mixed.” Here’s the initial scorecard for the four years since…

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“Feminism” In Iceland: Saving Women From Their Own Adulthood

Iceland, the world’s oldest democracy, is now heading in exactly the opposite direction. And they’re doing it in a familiar way—by eliminating choices regarding sex. Iceland has now criminalized all strip clubs. And forget even something as quaint as a topless bar; the repression of the 1950s is looking positively progressive, as the law even makes it illegal for a business to profit from the nudity of employees. What makes this law particularly repulsive is the crowing of self-proclaimed “feminists” and “women’s advocates,” who seem unable to grasp the simple idea of adult choice. Member of Parliament Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir says,…

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Giving Thanks for Sex…With a Bit of Melancholy

It’s Thanksgiving, so let’s give thanks for sex. Not just the huffing and puffing, the in-ing and out-ing, the sloshing around and drying off. Let’s give thanks for all the sexual rights we enjoy here in the U.S.—which billions of people in Russia, the Arab world, and many parts of Asia and Africa will never enjoy in their lifetimes. Most of these rights have to do with privacy and autonomy. These always look dangerous to repressive or religiously-driven regimes. Science and technology look pretty frightening to such regimes when they can be applied for sexual purposes—which they inevitably are, throughout…

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Can Pam Anderson Make Fur Non-Kosher?

Former super-babe Pamela Lee Anderson is in Israel to be a judge on their version of Dancing with the Stars. While there, she plans to use her “powers of seduction” on ultra-Orthodox Jewish lawmakers to get them to ban fur. Fur is a big issue for these guys because of the 200-year-old Eastern European tradition of wearing fur-trimmed hats (“streimel”) that many ultra-Orthodox follow. Good luck, little shiksa. Since they’re not married to you, these guys won’t shake your hand; many won’t even look at you. Listen to you? I doubt it. There are Orthodox Jews right here in San…

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