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Dispatches From the Culture Wars – January 2, 2024

Will 2024 be just a hangover from 2023?

Ryan Pagelow
  1. Boots Riley Unloads
  2. If Theres a Hell Below, They're Both Gonna Go
  3. The Undead Beatles
  4. The FBI is Still Fixated on the Left
  5. The Purpose of Corporate Feminism
  6. The Gay Bishop in a Conservative Suburb
  7. The Golden Globes and Neoliberalism
  8. Activists’ Post-Dobbs Inventory
  9. Elders' Struggle of Self-Reliance
  10. A Conversation About American Fascism


Boots Riley Unloads

By Steve Rose
The Guardian

“When you’re a kid, you’re like: ‘Why are there homeless people?’ And nobody really has an answer. Then all of a sudden, you join an organisation that is like: ‘There are homeless people because this happens, and this happens. Here’s a way to change it.’ In retrospect, that’s probably what I was looking for in comics: people that had control of the world around them: people that could make a difference.”

If Theres a Hell Below, They're Both Gonna Go

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By Valeria Berghinz
World Crunch

The list of notable deaths in 2023 includes Henry Kissinger and Silvio Berlusconi, who many believe had already overstayed their public welcome before our writer was even born.

The Undead Beatles

By Owen Fatherly
New Left Review

McCartney’s project of going back in time to the 1960s and 1970s and using advanced software to scrub the historical fact of the Beatles’ shabby, acrimonious end and replace it with a series of warm, friendly fakes is proof of JG Ballard’s claim – that the science-fictional future, when it arrives, will turn out to be boring.

The FBI is Still Fixated on the Left

By Arturo Dominguez
Unicorn Riot

A recently released Federal Bureau of Investigation document titled “Domestic Terrorism Symbols Guide” links common protest symbols to “terrorism” — another marker in a common theme of conflating militant protest for social justice with deadly terrorist violence within the United States. 

The Purpose of Corporate Feminism

By Constance Grady

The conversations about Barbie and Ozempic are mirror images of each other. A moment that is ostensibly about teaching women to love their bodies is bumping up against the enormous amount of money there is to be made by selling women stuff that teaches them to hate their bodies. They are testaments to the failures of the past decade of mainstream neoliberal feminism.

The Gay Bishop in a Conservative Suburb

By Jonathan Cohn

Two churches on opposite sides of the political spectrum have become focal points in a community’s war over gender, sexuality and the well-being of children.

The Golden Globes and Neoliberalism

By Luca Celada
il manifesto Global

The Golden Globes had always retained at least the pretense of independent judgment, that of peers or critics. The acquisition of the Globes by Eldridge Industries has now set a precedent for a different conception: awards as commercial asset, directly managed by a corporate entity, part of a vertically integrated entertainment group.

Activists’ Post-Dobbs Inventory

By Eleanor J. Bader

Despite financial, legal and political obstacles, many clinics in states that have banned abortion have pivoted, continuing to provide essential reproductive health services such as contraceptives, STI testing and treatment, and routine gynecological exams, with some expanding to deliver prenatal and gender-affirming care. New clinics have opened in states where abortion remains legal.

Elders’ Struggle of Self-Reliance

By Rebecca Gordon

Suppose the disabilities of age mean you can no longer safely live in your own home. Unless you can afford to move to some kind of assisted-living facility, your main alternative is to spend down what you own so you qualify for the pittance that your state Medicaid program will pay a nursing home (most likely for-profit) to warehouse you until you die.

A Conversation About American Fascism

By Rachel Maddow and Kathleen Belew

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s latest book 'PREQUEL: An American Fight Against Fascism' tells the World War II story of a committed group of public servants and courageous private citizens thwarting the far-right’s attempts to align our nation with the Nazis. Historian, author and Northwestern University professor Kathleen Belew joins her to explore the rise of this wild strain of authoritarianism.