‘culture war’

Is Michelle Bachman Obsessed With Sex? It Depends On The Day

This week I described the morality pledge that Republican Presidential candidates are being asked to sign. It includes promises to oppose abortion, pornography, same-sex marriage, and non-monogamy, and to promote large families. As a bonus, candidates pledge to be faithful to their spouses. I reported that Rick Santorum and Michelle Bachmann had already signed. Now it seems that Bachmann’s husband Marcus is a psychologist, and that together they own and operate a counseling clinic in Minnesota. Let’s overlook the extraordinary hypocrisy that they’ve collected over $100,000 in government subsidies for the clinic-—while Michelle is making her career by damning all…

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GOP Nominees Asked to Pledge Marital Fidelity…And More

As next month’s GOP straw poll in Iowa draws ever closer, all Republicans who wish to be President are being urged to sign “The Marriage Vow: A Declaration of Dependence Upon Marriage & Family.” Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum have already signed. The Pledge is a bizarre combination of 1950s sexual conservatism and Cold War-style doomsday-ism (it opposes “infanticide” and the “enslavement” of military wives), which it blends into an obsession with marriage and morality. It claims, with an absolutely straight face, that “candidates’ positions on core values, such as marriage, correlate directly to their moral stances on energy issues,…

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Everything is Now “Potential” Child Porn

It’s official—every picture with a minor in it is now “potential” child porn. Imagine this perfect storm: * A mean-spirited Sheriff’s Department with too much time on their hands; * A school run by spineless bureaucrats; * A population of compliant students’ parents * Detectives who apparently think “innocent until proven guilty” is SO over. They all came together last week at Big Bear Lake High School in Southern California. After the school’s annual yearbook had been out for a while, someone discovered, in the background of a photo of a school dance, a couple in which a young man…

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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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Trusting Artists To Tell The Truth

Last night I spent $100 on a theatre ticket in New York. I saw “Sleep No More” off-Broadway, a site-specific, avant-garde show. Just for the record, I didn’t love it. But its use of sexuality and nudity did make me think about the artist’s responsibility to the audience, which is primarily to tell the truth. Well, some truth. For in every story, there are many truths. When Macbeth kills King Duncan, is he being selfish, a weakling caving in to an ambitious wife, or simply playing out the destiny that a witch has foretold? When Oedipus kills his father and…

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Commitment to Excellence Becomes Commitment to Ignorance

If Germany can teach courses on the Holocaust, and Egypt can learn to love democracy, and China can realize that capitalism is necessary to grow their economy, can’t the U.S. actually tolerate the teaching of human sexuality? The latest American institution to answer “no” is Northwestern University in Chicago. Generally an excellent, almost progressive institution, they’ve abruptly canceled one of the most popular courses on the entire campus, Professor Michael Bailey’s class on Human Sexuality. The cancellation is the climax of what started as a small, harmless—and unusual—lapse in Bailey’s judgment. Because it involved sexuality, of course it was transformed…

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