The Amazons, the ancients tell us, were a violent bunch. “The Scythians call (them) Oiorpata, or as it may be interpreted, men-slayers (for Oeor signifies a man, and pata to kill),” says Herodotus. Hippocrates claimed that they cut off their right breasts in order to more effectively shoot arrows in battle or the hunt (archaeologists say there’s no evidence for this, but it’s still a good story.) Warriors, hunters, killers of men – the Amazons were fabled for brooking no compassion or kindness toward their enemies, and their enemies were almost exclusively men. It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve been upheld as role models by some feminists: what better model for soldiers in the war of the sexes than actual soldiers in a war of the sexes? So you might expect the movie Wonder Woman – which draws heavily on the mythology of the Amazons – to follow the feminist narrative. Moreover, given that Wonder Woman’s creator, William Moulton Marston, was an early and enthusiastic proponent of the Women’s Liberation movement, and that he explicitly developed his creation as a kind of proto-feminist role model, it seems impossible to expect otherwise. Surprisingly, however, the movie Wonder Woman doesn’t do that at all. In fact, it’s possible to view Wonder Woman as a story that defies feminist politics.  Don’t just take it from me --  the insufficiently feminist slant of the movie was noted, and in a few cases criticized, by plenty of reviewers (the reviewer at Guardian complained...
In his speech withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, Donald Trump cited an econometric study by National Economic Research Associates. The study, which is both credible and alarming, speculated that meeting the emissions targets could cost 2.7 million jobs, with manufacturing hit particularly hard. Overall growth would suffer. To be sure, professional economists today (in contrast to 50 years ago) have doubts about such studies, and are quick to add enough caveats to cover their tracks. The authors of this one did so. Yet you don't even have to read such studies to know that more industrial controls via government will cost jobs and productivity. And perhaps that's why the financial market's response to Trump's move to withdraw was generally positive (unlike the hysterical reaction from the mainstream press). That the US would decline to plot decades and decades of mandatory, top-down regulations governing the precise pace of technological innovation concerning greenhouse gases seemed to reduce some economic anxiety. Indeed, there was a sense of relief in the air. So where precisely does the business community stand on the topic of global regulation of carbon emissions? That depends on whom you ask. “Industry Friendly” The New York Times, in one of the most over-the-top...
It is rare in our contemporary postmodern culture that its representatives get a smack down. But that is what happened with the Tyler Shields' photoshoot with Kathy Griffin holding a realistically-rendered decapitated head of Donald Trump. Massive public and professional fallout ensued, and no one was going to let it go because it was "art." This event finally enraged a public that for decades was so desensitized you could fling shit at them from a stage, as performance artist G. G. Allin did, and they would either take it or ignore it. Kathy's miscalculation is understandable with a century of postmodern precedents: Duchamp's The Fountain; Burden's Crucified on a Volkswagen Beetle; Manzoni's can of shit; Quinn's Self-portrait carved from his frozen blood; Serrano's Piss Christ; Creed's farting audio loop at the Tate; and Millie Brown, the vomit painter. On the other hand, Kathy exceeded where these other postmodernists didn't; she managed to piss off a lot of people. Kathy exceeded where these other postmodernists didn't; she managed to piss off a lot of people. MAKING FUN OF POSTMODERNISTS Rand was aware of the early stages of postmodern artists. She ridicules them brilliantly in scenes in The Fountainhead. Lois Cook, a writer who didn't bother with grammar or meaning; an architect that took a commission to create the ugliest building possible; and an artist that "did something with bird cages and metronomes." But...
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. —The Matrix (1999), screenplay by Lana (formerly Larry) and Lilly (formerly Andy) Wachowski. The Culture Wars are here. Like The Matrix, they are in fact everywhere—in art, on campuses, and on television. They invite everyone to become “politically correct.” At first glance, political correctness seems like a good thing. Do we really want to go back to a world where terms like nigger, faggot, darkie, chink, and slut were bandied about, as if language had no consequences? And don’t we want a world where silly stereotypes (“blondes make good secretaries,” “nurses cannot be male”) no longer restrict our choices? But political correctness is not really about politeness, the giving or taking of offence, or freeing us from stereotypes. That’s the cover. Political correctness is part of a culture war, the roots of which go back to the 1920s. The culture war’s full-blown manifestation is what we are witnessing today; it has been ninety years in the making. Neo: No. I don’t believe it. It’s not possible. Morpheus: I didn’t say it would be easy, Neo. I just said it would be the truth. Before we dismiss the grand theory, we should also ask if there is any...
“She was fifteen when it occurred to her for the first time that women did not run railroads and that people might object. To hell with that, she thought—and never worried about it again.”  This is as close to a glimmer of feminist consciousness that you’ll find in Dagny Taggart, the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Still, it’s a lot more of a recognition of gender barriers than you’ll find in the pages of #Girlboss, the best-selling book by Sophia Amoruso, which in turn inspired the Netflix series Girlboss about her journey from dumpster-diving anarchist to founder of Nasty Gal, Inc. the multi-million dollar girls clothing retailer. “I have never once in my life thought that being a girl was something I had to overcome,” writes Amoruso.  Of all the obstacles she faced in her entrepreneurial rise, sexism is glaringly absent. So why does its author, Sophia Amoruso, call her memoir “a feminist book”? Probably for the same reason so many male businessmen speak of “giving back” when far from taking anything away, the businesses they’ve built have added value in terms of jobs, wealth, services and innovation. Because our culture still grants greater moral stature to the disadvantaged than to its doers. As such, Amoruso makes for an uneasy standard-bearer for a new capitalist female role model. Just like Virginia Slims used the slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby,” to peddle cigarettes to women in the sixties and seventies, to suggest lighting up was a celebration of the...

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