‘libertarian’

When Language Is More Important Than War

Sixteen million Americans fought in WWII. A half-million of them died in it. That’s equal to the entire population of Washington, DC. Or of Wyoming. Very few of those 16,000,000 are still alive, and a dwindling number of Americans actually knows one of them. To create and preserve a record of what actually happened, Ken Burns has made a 14-hour documentary for PBS. It has exactly four instances of words you might hear—or say—if someone were trying to kill you. The Parents Television Council plans to scour those fourteen hours for the four words they don’t want anyone to say…

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Singer Stefani Censored In [where?]

Quiz: Where did this happen? You may know Gwen Stefani’s music. Formerly with the group No Doubt, she’s now a huge pop star. Incredible voice. Powerful stage presence. Movie-star face. Gorgeous body. An altogether thrilling artist. Quiz: Where did this happen? Stefani’s local stadium concert is announced. A religious student group demonstrates, demanding that the sexy star dress more modestly and turn down the heat on her stage show. Conservative critics chime in, claiming that her typically revealing costumes corrupt the country’s youth. Stefani agrees to make changes. In a magazine interview, she says she’s making a “major sacrifice,” mourning…

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Sexuality—Missing in Action At the Iowa Caucuses

Everyone who wants to be president of the most powerful nation on Earth has to go to Iowa. Candidates go to local diners, nursing homes, and high school gyms for weeks, telling hundreds of people every day why they deserve a seat on Air Force One. Iowa. In a few months, a half-dozen candidates from each major party will fold their tent because they didn’t get enough votes in Iowa. If New York or California had this much power, people would complain bitterly. Like Putney Swope, Iowa is no one’s first choice for anything, and so it gets to decide…

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Americans Search for a Sexual Center

People in the media ask me all the time—sexually, is the country getting more liberal or more conservative? This is similar to the question George Lakoff discusses about politics, most recently in his article in Truthout. In it, he says there are no “centrists,” because “There is no left-to-right linear spectrum in American political life.” Instead, Lakoff talks about “biconceptuals”—“progressive on certain issue areas and conservative on others.” The importance of this, says Lakoff, is that progressive values—“protection and empowerment”—are simply American values. The idea that there is a ‘center,’ he says, “marginalizes progressives and sees them as extremists, when…

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