‘The Wire’ Creator David Simon and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley Get on a Train

Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley is possibly one of the only people who can say that they don’t like David Simon’s Best… Read More

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#twitterpurge: A Worst-Case Scenario That Proves Twitter Needs to Take Responsibility For Its Platform

#twitterpurge: it’s a hashtag that trended on Twitter over the weekend and remains popular today, inspired by The Purge, a movie that depicts a world in which all crime is legal for one night every year. A slew of awful people took the idea of applying the concept to Twitter as their cue to spend an hour posting anything they wanted on the platform. The result? A whole lot of revenge porn images, many of which appear to depict girls under the age of 18. The thing is, kids: that is illegal, and there’s no magical Purge-esque amnesty to save your hides. It’s remarkable this hasn’t been reported more, because we’re talking about Twitter apparently being used for the mass distribution of images that legally qualify as child pornography. Even more remarkable is the fact that Twitter seems disinclined to take proactive steps to stop it. … Read More

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The Sad, Strange Aftermath of the Conor Oberst Rape Accusations

Cometh the news, cometh the thinkpieces. The news that Joanie Faircloth — the woman who, in January, accused Conor Oberst of having raped her a decade ago — has withdrawn her accusations has thrown the spotlight back on the whole sorry case. And despite the fact that he’s essentially had his name cleared, the commentary has, again, not been kind to the singer. Take, for instance, this piece that ran yesterday in the Daily Dot, wherein author Chris Osternhorf makes the point that Oberst being cleared of a false rape accusation is likely to make him a de facto hero to MRA types. This is probably true; what’s less defensible is the continuing speculation about Oberst’s guilt, and the idea that he was somehow morally obliged to have handled things differently. … Read More

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MRAs Aren’t Just Terrorizing Women — They’re Hurting Men, Too

The very first International Conference on Men’s Issues happened over the weekend, in the unlikely surroundings of a VFW Lodge in Detroit. The thought of a bunch of men’s rights activists converging to swap stories of how good women have it these days isn’t one that fills anyone with joy (unless they’ve been on the Reddit red pills for a while), and I’m loath to give it any more publicity — but fuck it, the event has already happened, and it provided a pretty good snapshot of where the MRA movement, such as it is, is at in 2014. And, perhaps most frustratingly, its very existence basically precluded any sensible discussions of the issues it professed to address. Good job, everyone. … Read More

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Chris Christie, ‘The Interview,’ and the Difference Between Political Satire and Savvy PR

Last week, disgraced New Jersey governor Chris Christie set out on one of politics’ most time-honored and reliable paths to redemption: poking fun at himself. He made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, pulling out his best “dad dance” moves and generally portraying himself as a lovable goof. “Look,” his performance seemed to say, “I’m a bit dorky, a bit cuddly, a bit funny — now can we forget that I’m responsible for the most jaw-droppingly petty and childish political self-destructions of our time?” I doubt it’ll succeed in redeeming him, but the whole spectacle is a reminder of how humor can be a double-edged sword when it comes to politics. … Read More

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Will ‘Obvious Child’ Change Anyone’s Mind About Abortion?

Arguments about what constitutes propaganda, as I know from experience, can go on forever. Does any piece of art with a clear political point of view qualify as propaganda, or does a work only earn that pejorative if its sole purpose is to persuade? Director and co-writer Gillian Robespierre’s Obvious Child fits the former definition but not the latter. The movie certainly lives up to the two-word “abortion rom-com” description that has become attached to it in the press. But it’s also a credible and funny depiction of life as a single, late-20s, soon-to-be-unemployed woman in New York ca. 2014. Other writers have already praised these aspects of Obvious Child, and either celebrated or belittled its openly pro-choice agenda. My question is: as propaganda, as a political tool, will it work? Does it deserve New Yorker critic Richard Brody’s accusation, that it’s just an exercise in “blue-state high-fiving”? Or does it have the capacity to change minds? … Read More

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‘Hard Choices': How Hillary Clinton Took Control of Her Narrative

It is, as The New Yorker‘s John Cassidy put it, “Hillary Week” across America, as the former Secretary of State, senator for New York, first lady, future grandma, and pantsuit poster child criss-crosses the country promoting her new tome, Hard Choices. … Read More

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What Alexander Shulgin’s “Godfather of Ecstasy” Obituaries Say About America’s Harmful Anti-Drug Puritanism

The general futility of the War on Drugs, along with the endless parade of dead bodies it generates, has been so well documented that it would be redundant to revisit those arguments here. Still, the death of experimental chemist Alexander Shulgin, who the entire media is insisting on calling the “Godfather of Ecstasy” (with obligatory scare quotes) has highlighted one of the more pernicious effects of our ongoing quixotic crusade against a landscape of chemical windmills: all the lost therapeutic potential of the hundreds of chemicals that Shulgin synthesized, many of which are now illegal, sacrificed to a policy that has cost millions of lives and trillions of dollars. … Read More

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Yes, All Men: Every Man Needs to Understand Internalized Misogyny and Male Violence

In the aftermath of the weekend’s ghastly events at UC Santa Barbara, there’s been plenty of discussion about our pervasive culture of misogyny, and the myriad destructive ways in which it manifests. A large part of the narrative has been that men need to shut up and listen to women’s voices on this topic, which is certainly true. But men also need to talk, honestly and amongst ourselves, about the nature of masculinity, and acknowledge our own destructive impulses. This is a problem that men need to be discussing precisely because it’s a problem with men. And it’s only men who are going to fix it. … Read More

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