EssaysLiberal Democracy in QuestionSex & Gender

LGBTQI Rights and Brazil’s Presidential Election

Controversy and the necessity to go beyond elections

For the first time in Brazil’s recent democratic history, which began in 1984 after the country’s twenty-one-year long dictatorship ended, the LGBTQI rights have appeared as the main controversial topic in this year’s presidential election. In the space of two weeks during the election first round, the topic got more attention and at a broader length than perhaps it has had previously in any of the eight democratically elected governments of the past. …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

The 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Wall

At the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall I noticed fear.

I did not find myself in Angela Merkel’s words who stated that “I had to wait 35 years for that feeling of liberty.”

I hear nervousness in The New York Times article that covers the implosion of the Socialist Republic through an exodus-misery frame. What are they afraid of? Why can’t they acknowledge that the contemporary U.S. or Germany can learn a thing or two from that past? The German Democratic Republic, the former East Germany, was hardly a quixotic place that I wish to reinstate, but I notice the willful erasure of any and all achievements of that short-lived social experiment; …

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EssaysLiberal Democracy in Question

America as a Lottery

In a series of recent works on the rise of inequality in the United States and other countries, economists have proposed a number of policies that might help reverse current trends. But critics of Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and Thomas Piketty also often complain that their proposals aren’t feasible politically.

But why should the proposal of polices meant to promote a more egalitarian society have become a political non-starter in the United States, of all countries? …

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Arts & DesignCapitalismEssays

Emerging Artists and the New Spirit of Capitalism

Pointing to the avarice of the art world, to its entanglement with big money, is an old game. Concerns about the “corrupting influence” of the market are likely as old as the market itself, and are still voiced with some frequency. Two years ago critic and art world bad boy Dave Hickey apparently gave up the whole thing in disgust, dismissing the entire art world as “stupid and nasty.” More recently David Bryne caused a surprising ripple of ire by describing how the big money of the Chelsea art scene was making it difficult for him to give the work itself a fair viewing. However, the issue of contemporary art’s relationship to capitalism is more complicated and thorny than being merely a matter of the staggering prices demanded at elite galleries. …

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Arts & DesignEssaysMedia/Publics

Pizzas for the People

Directed by Hwang Kim and produced by Festival Bo:m

In the course of a long running ideological conflict North Korea is one of the most culturally isolated countries in the world, which rejects any foreign influences through a tight control of media and communication equipment. To protect the North Korean identity from potential damaging western influences, short wave radios, for example, are banned, while TV receivers are locked to tune only to the 3 official channels. …

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EssaysPsycheSex & Gender

Human Trafficking

A psychoanalytic and socio-historical view

I am going to think and write about human trafficking through a perspective both psychoanalytic and socio-historical. In fact, part of my quest and my thinking about this matter is to find the right disciplinary mix to speak from and to. This essay is situated in a problem. It may be an intractable problem. At the very least it is a very difficult one. How is it that there is not the social or political will to fight a social problem of great magnitude, great trauma, and great criminality: slavery in the 21st century? There was an abolitionist movement in the 19th century. Why not now? …

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Arts & DesignEssays

Why Comedy Matters

When moral or political decisions are at stake, we often make use of catch-phrases drawn from a repertoire of available drama and literature. For we understand that both our actions and how they are perceived depend on how we frame them. Comedy, of all genres, appears to be the one we covertly use all the time without, meanwhile, fully appreciating its ability to portray and explore the intensity and integrity of our interactions with others. When Caesar began the civil war in Rome, he proclaimed: “The die has been cast.” According to Suetonius, he said it in his native Latin ( alea iacta est). But Plutarch reports that he used Greek (anerrhiphtō kybos), thus quoting a now lost comedy by Menander, the originator of the so-called New Comedy. In a letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul also turns to Menander, quoting the comedy Thaïs: “Bad communications corrupt good characters.” …

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