Politics

Teaching Trigger Warnings: What Pundits Don’t Understand About the Year’s Most Controversial Higher-Ed Debate

When Kyla Bender-Baird was an undergraduate a decade ago, a gender studies lecture she was attending ended with an incident she’ll never forget: a visiting professor played a rape victim’s graphic 911 call. Then the class was dismissed and, she says, everyone went home dazed and had “messed-up dreams” that night.

Although the professor apologized at the next session for failing to place the recording in appropriate context and give students adequate time to process it, Bender-Baird kept the incident in mind when she became a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, teaching sociology courses to undergraduates. Now, she includes a note at the end of her syllabus,that reads, in part:

It is my goal in this class to create a safe environment in which we examine our assumptions… Discomfort can be part of the learning process as we are challenged to shift our paradigms. I invite you to sit with this discomfort. However, if the discomfort starts to turn to distress, I want you to take care of yourself. You can withdraw from an activity or even leave the classroom.

… Read More

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Beyond Good and Evil in American Politics: On Rand Paul’s Filibuster

A strange thing happened last week — Republican Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul took to the floor of the Senate for a marathon ten-and-a-half-hour speech, in an attempt to filibuster the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. (OK, it wasn’t technically a filibuster, but still.) He described the Act as “the most unpatriotic of Acts,” which is probably true, but still startling to hear from a member of the GOP, because it was George W. Bush who signed the act into law in the first place. … Read More

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Vice Media Co-Founder Gavin Mcinnes Thinks “Women Are Pretending They Like Working”

When you see the words “Fox” and “woman” in the same sentence before a video clip, you wouldn’t be wrong… Read More

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Jian Ghomeshi Will Face Two Sexual Assault Trials

Two charges of sexual assault against disgraced Canadian Broadcasting Company radio host Jian Ghomeshi have been dropped — but he’s… Read More

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Miley Cyrus Collaborates With Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace on “Androgynous,” Gets Celebrity Activism Right With Happy Hippie

This morning on Facebook Miley Cyrus posted a video for her collaboration with Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace, a cover of The Replacements’ “Androgynous.” Apart from being a thoroughly enjoyable three minutes of music, the video also marks the launch of a Cyrus-spearheaded foundation to aid homeless LGBT young people. As Stereogum noted this morning, “The mere fact that this video exists is pretty amazing, and so is its reason for existence.” … Read More

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Russian Officials Are Also Livid About ‘Songs of Innocence’… Because Its Album Art Is “Gay Propaganda”

Remember waking up one day to find a mysterious new set of songs with dramatic titles like “Iris (Hold Me… Read More

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Mahatma Gandhi, Baltimore, and the Myth of Nonviolence

It’s like clockwork. There’s a riot in some disenfranchised corner of America — or, more likely, there’s a peaceful protest that turns violent on its fringes. The media beams back images of burning shopfronts and crying children. A man in a uniform appears on television, appealing for calm. There’s a whole lot of hand-wringing about the futility of violence, and then somebody posts something on Facebook about “Ghandi” [sic] — usually, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind,” pasted onto a nice sharable photo. There’s a long, pious conversation about how nonviolent protest is the only acceptable means of resistance in a civilized society, all involving people who have never known someone like Freddie Gray, and who have never lived in the same circumstances as the average resident of a Baltimore housing project. People like, y’know, me. … Read More

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Jon Stewart Attacks CNN for Glossing Over Baltimore Riots in Favor of a Red Carpet Ceremony

While Baltimore was in the middle of social turmoil and upheaval, CNN focused on the red carpet of the… Read More

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Should It Be Illegal to Tell Someone to Kill Themselves?

Last week, game developer Rachel Bryk died by suicide. Bryk, who was transgender, had been actively goaded on 4chan to kill herself, and in a pretty perfect portrait of how that particular site remains the congealed matter at the bottom of the sewer of the Internet, a thread entitled “Where were you when Rachel died?” sprung up shortly after news of her death broke. (Warning: that link, unsurprisingly, contains some pretty awful transphobia.) If that’s not a depressing enough portrait of online culture, here is Bryk’s Ask.fm page, where, among other things, people actively and maliciously urge her to carry out her suicide threats. Which she did. The whole story is upsetting, tragic, and thoroughly depressing. … Read More

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Watch Cecily Strong’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner Speech and Obama’s “Anger Translator”

Welcome to another White House Correspondents’ Dinner, this year hosted by Cecily Strong. “I’m going to go easy on… Read More

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