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Articles in the World Affairs Department

Departments, September 2009, World Affairs »

[16 Sep 2009 | No Comment | 4,199 Views]
A Tribute to Patrick Swayze (1952-2009)

Patrick Swayze.

We loved you.

We salute you.

Cinema and Television, January 2009, World Affairs »

To the Nines: 1959 — Cross Dressers, Frenchmen, and the Wrongly Accused
[21 Jan 2009 | One Comment | 2,223 Views]
To the Nines: 1959 — Cross Dressers, Frenchmen, and the Wrongly Accused

In the first installment of To the Nines, a series of articles surveying interesting films from a representative year from each decade, 1959 provides an index of films dealing with crises of faith relating to sexual, mythological, and political identity, and how these faiths are expressed on the screen.

Cinema and Television, January 2009, World Affairs »

[14 Jan 2009 | 8 Comments | 1,451 Views]
A Year Late and a Dollar Short: 2007 in Review

Most fashionable Romanian women try to dress like their beverage bottles.
As of January 2009, I still have not seen all the movies from 2007 that I wanted to see.  This is the blessing and the curse of being a cinephile in an age when technology has allowed my favorite medium to proliferate:  I will never want for new, intriguing cinema; I will also never be able to catch up.  The best I can do is slog ahead, basing the priority ranking of my Netflix queue on the recommendations of friends …

Cultural Comment, December 2008, World Affairs »

The Ideology of Pragmatism
[17 Dec 2008 | 3 Comments | 900 Views]
The Ideology of Pragmatism

Recently, a number of pieces have appeared in various media outlets in reaction to Barack Obama’s cabinet nominations. David Sanger, writing for the New York Times, reacted to the nominees by saying that Obama is “surrounding himself with pragmatists rather than ideologues.” Robert Burns, writing for the Associated Press reports that “Obama’s choices signal a more pragmatic, less ideological approach to asserting American leadership in the world.” The Washington Post praised Obama for being “pragmatic in choosing pragmatists“, specifically praising the selection of Robert Gates, who is “a problem solver …

Oct/Nov 2008, World Affairs »

[6 Nov 2008 | 2 Comments | 1,032 Views]
Now What?

From times of great desperation arise moments of great progress.  The United States proved this on Tuesday by hammering the definitive nail in the coffin of centuries-long apartheid and oppression — a coffin which has taken over forty years beginning with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to nail shut — by electing its first minority President.  Massive worldwide reaction, excited and often emotional (including the declaration of a national holiday in Kenya, the birthplace of President-elect Obama’s father), shows that after nearly a decade of widely unpopular Bush administration …

Oct/Nov 2008, World Affairs »

[30 Oct 2008 | 16 Comments | 2,425 Views]
Afraid of the Stocks? You Should Be.

A lot of people are scared of the markets these days.  Most people seem scared because they don’t know what the markets are going to do next.  But the thing that scares me the most is the fact that anyone would think they should be able to figure out what the markets will do next.  The simple fact of the matter is that markets are always wildly unpredictable.
The Efficient Market Hypothesis
Most financial markets follow the model of the stock market. The selling of stock was initially devised as a method …

Art, Literature, Oct/Nov 2008, World Affairs »

[30 Oct 2008 | 2 Comments | 32,656 Views]
Sex and Superheroes in “The Boys” (NSFW)

The latest opus from Garth Ennis (author of Preacher, Hellblazer, The Punisher) is a brutal satire entitled The Boys.  It charts the exploits of a group of thugs clandestinely employed by the CIA.  Their task is to control, by any means necessary, various teams of high profile superheroes, whose carelessness, stupidity, arrogance and selfishness cause far more damage to society than the antics of the supervillains they oppose.  Controversially, the comic mixes harsh brutality with its uncompromising anti-superhero polemic, with graphically violent illustrations from DC illustrator, Darick Robertson.  Famously, Ennis …

Oct/Nov 2008, World Affairs »

[30 Oct 2008 | 2 Comments | 3,942 Views]
A Conspicuous Lack of Consumption

Is that a Magnum in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?
Every year around May, Walls ice cream endeavour to persuade the British public that, despite black skies and torrential rain, it is actually summer and therefore time to consume large quantities of frozen dessert.
This year, the face of their Magnum campaign is the immaculately coiffed Eva Longoria Parker (5’2”/ 24” W/ 32”B).  She smoulders against a warm chocolate background, limbs artfully arranged at an impossibly uncomfortable angle, wearing a black silk dress carefully selected to walk …

Cultural Comment, Oct/Nov 2008, World Affairs »

[30 Oct 2008 | 6 Comments | 9,058 Views]
Female Sexuality: In Need of Another Revolution

How does a modern, 21st century woman deal with sexuality? More importantly, how does society as a whole deal with female sexuality? Looking back in history, it’s one of the most complex, confusing and, at times, frustrating issues our gender has had to deal with. Throughout history, the female form has been associated with fertility (the “mother” figure) and love (Venus/Aphrodite) yet human traits like chastity and modesty have traditionally been attributed to women. Female sexuality has been worshipped in an abstract form, but shied away from in reality. Good …