Sevilla Streets: Fifty Shades of Grey  © Eduardo A. Ponce | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysFeatureMedia & PublicsSex & Gender

Libidinal Ecology: Sex and the Anthropocene (I)

In 2013, reports starting circulating in the media that the global best-seller 50 Shades of Grey was beginning to outstay its welcome as a cultural artifact. In the UK alone, it sold 5.3 million copies to that point, even before the film based on the story was released. A large percentage of these books ended up in charity stores. Unfortunately, these stores could not resell the books, nor pulp them safely. As the Telegraph newspaper reported at the time: “the country has amassed a ‘paper mountain’ of unwanted copies . . . 

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No Place Like Home © Luca Anadone | Flickr
EssaysMedia & Publics

The Nude in the Library

A tale of two anachronisms

October 2015 was a big month for obsolescence. First we heard reports that the OCLC’s classic library card catalog was finally being retired. Then we heard news that Playboy magazine had decided to no longer feature fully nude models between its pages. As someone who grew up taking for granted the existence of both …

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A virtual re-creation of Pizza Rat in Second Life © Kristine Kristan | Flickr
CapitalismEssaysMedia & PublicsThe Psyche

Pizza Rat, a Totem of Our Time

Humans, animals, and life in 2015

For a brief moment in late September, New York City had a new celebrity: Pizza Rat. This furry character — either endearingly repulsive, or repulsively endearing, depending on your sensibility — appeared in most of our social media feeds after a quick-fingered commuter snapped the rodent dragging a large pizza slice down the stairs of a typical, filthy subway station. …

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Hundreds protest against sexist porn law in London, December 12, 2014 © See Li | LondonPictureCapital/Flcikr
EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

Legislating the Libido

On the UK’s new anti-pornography laws

It was certainly one of the more unorthodox protests in living memory: red-blooded women straddling the faces of submissive, supine men outside London’s Parliament House. This orgiastic pantomime was prompted by a recent amendment to the UK’s Communications Act of 2003, banning the depiction of an assortment of sexual scenarios, ranging from spanking to penetration-by-objects to verbal abuse to fisting; as well as the aforementioned face-sitting. …

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