Ari Adut, _On Scandal: Moral Disturbances in Society, Politics, and Art_ (Cambridge UP, 2008) [brief review]

Scandal is moral conflict made public. Among history’s most famous examples, casting light not only on the provocation of homosexuality but the shifting boundaries of public and private life in Victorian England, was the 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde. Other cases discussed in this new book by sociologist Ari Adut include the American Presidency, reaching… Continue reading

The Biggest Names in Sex?

Playboy magazine recently published its list of the “55 Most Important People in Sex” over the last 55 years to celebrate the magazine’s anniversary.  (The list isn’t available without subscription on the Playboy site, but has been re-printed elsewhere, such as http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-01-13/the-biggest-names-in-sex-1/3/ .) It’s unavoidably provocative and underscores how intertwined the histories of politics, culture,… Continue reading

Of Obama’s race and generation

What an extraordinary moment of change and hope. One of the critical comments that astutely conveys the scope of the change taking place with Barack Obama’s ascendance to the White House involves the change it represents to the Black political landscape in the US. Different characterizations of a shift away from the “civil rights establishment”… Continue reading