Dispatches From the Culture Wars – Rumbling in the Distance Edition

Teen Vogue Spreads Terror; Sounds of Silence; War and Hanukkah; Make way for the alt-center; Mad City Rumble
December 27, 2016
We really need to give teenage girls more credit.
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The True Story of How Teen Vogue Got Mad, Got Woke, and Began Terrifying Men Like Donald Trump

By Sady Doyle
December 19, 2016
Quartz

When Lauren Duca’s excellent Teen Vogue op-ed on Donald Trump’s psychological manipulation of America went viral last Saturday, social media exploded with praise—and with baffled reactions. The piece, one Twitter user noted, had “big words for a magazine about hairstyles and celebrity gossip.” Another user expressed pure astonishment: “Who would have guessed @TeenVogue might be the future of political news. Unreal coverage of the election.” Others were less kind, and a lot less subtle: “Go back to acne treatments,” one man snapped.
Teen Vogue deserves credit not just for Duca’s op-ed but for the entirety of its political coverage, which has provided sharp, impassioned coverage of everything from gun control to Black Lives Matter in 2016. Much of this is due to Teen Vogue’s editor, Elaine Welteroth, who graduated to the position last May, and Phil Picardi, the magazine’s digital editorial director. Just two years ago, the site’s most-read articles were comprised almost entirely of light celebrity and beauty news.


Donald Trump’s Inauguration: Full List of Musicians Who Will Perform

By Brendan Morrow
December 23, 2016
Heavy

The inaugural events will kick off on Thursday, January 19th, when Donald Trump and Mike Pence will lay a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery. There will then be a welcome concert at the Lincoln Memorial, although the musicians who will be playing at this particular concert have not yet been announced.
As of this writing, three performances have been confirmed for the official inauguration event.


Hanukkah, Syria and the Perils of Empire

By Brant Rosen
December 23, 2016
Truthout

To Zionists who glorify the Maccabees as courageous freedom fighters for national liberation we might well ask: Should not we then view the Palestinians as Maccabees as well? And to those who dismiss the Maccabees as religious extremists, we might pose the challenge: Would we deny them their resistance against an imperialist Seleucid empire that outlawed the practice of Judaism on pain of death?
I would submit that these kinds of questions are just as germane to the tragic, years-long crisis in present day Syria. On the one hand, there can be no doubt that the Assad regime, along with its Russian and Iranian allies, has committed well-documented atrocities against its civilians as it strikes back against rebel groups. However, these factions have carried out their share of indiscriminate attacks on civilians as well. There has also been fierce sectarian fighting between rebel groups themselves.


The Rise of the Alt-Center

By Sam Kriss
December 16, 2016
Slate

Clearly something horrifying has happened to America’s great liberal intellects. One moment they were yapping along in the train of a historic political movement; now, ragged and destitute, they wander with lolling tongues in search of anything that might explain their new world to them. This is, after all, how cults get started. Cultists will venerate any messianic mediocrity and any set of half-baked spiritual dogmas; it’s not the overt content that matters but the security of knowing. If Trump’s devoted hype squad of pustulent, oleaginous neo-Nazis can now be euphemized as the “alt-right,” the Kurt Eichenwalds and Clara Jefferys of the world might have turned themselves into something similar: an alt-center, pushing its own failed political doctrine with all the same vehemence, idiocy, and spleen.

Wisconsin Republican Attack on UW 'Whiteness' Class Attracts National Attention

By Pat Schneider  
December 21, 2016
The Capital Times

A controversial class offered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison this spring promised readings on issues of race by noted writers of the past and present. But an evaluation of those course materials wasn’t apparent as Republican legislative leaders this week threatened funding to the university over its content.
The African Studies class, “The Problem of Whiteness,” draws on a number of well-respected texts, as UW officials pointed out in a statement Tuesday defending it from criticism by Nass and Rep. David Murphy, R-Greenville, chair of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities.
 

December 27, 2016