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Dispatches From the Culture Wars – May 7, 2024

A moral panic overruns free speech

Attendees cheer during a Missourians for Constitutional Freedom rally after the campaign turned in more than 380,000 signatures for its initiative petition to enshrine abortion rights in Missouri’s constitution. Credit, Annelise Hanshaw/Missouri Independent
  1. Anatomy of a Moral Panic
  2. Kristy Noem – Puppy Killer
  3. Protest and Speech Rights
  4. Protest and the Election
  5. Abortion Rights Push in Missouri
  6. Venice Biennial
  7. Anti-Anti-Zionism Bill Passes, Despite Opposition
  8. Koch Takes Higher Ed War to Arizona
  9. Organizing Against Displacement in the South
  10. The Drake/Kendrick Lamar Feud




Anatomy of a Moral Panic

By Adam Haber and Matylda Figlerowicz
Jewish Currents

In the case of the “new antisemitism” discourse, once statistics conjure a specific threat coming from the “subversive minority” of leftists and people of color, we see a “convergence” where readers are warned that these groups threaten the current social order more generally.

Kristi Noem – Puppy Killer

By Julie Gammack
Iowa Capital Dispatch

When South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem wrote that she killed a 14-month-old puppy by the name of Cricket, it dominated social conversations. Noem must have calculated that the story would add to her contrived narrative as a leader willing to make tough calls and boost her chances of being picked as the GOP VP candidate. Now other Veepstakers have posted pictures with their dogs.

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Protest and Speech Rights

By Adam Federman
In These Times

Political repression is on the rise as the state finds new ways to criminalize dissent and collective action.

Protest and the Election

By David Smith and Abené Clayton
The Guardian

Biden’s call for order after on-campus clashes and mass arrests of pro-Palestinian protesters further threatens the youth vote.

Abortion Rights Push in Missouri

By Anna Spoerre
Missouri Independent

A campaign to enshrine abortion rights in Missouri’s constitution collected more than 380,000 signatures in just three months, more than twice the total needed to qualify for this year’s statewide ballot. The coalition is hoping to put on the November ballot a measure that would legalize abortion up to the point of fetal viability. Since June 2022, nearly every abortion has been illegal in the state. 

Venice Biennial

By Álex Vicente

The historically excluded have taken the reins at the Venice Biennale. The foremost event in the world of contemporary art opens the doors of its 60th edition in the Italian city with a celebration of “the immigrant, the foreigner, the queer and the Indigenous.” 

Anti-Anti-Zionism Bill Passes, Despite Opposition

Koch Takes Higher Ed War to Arizona

By Gabb Schivone
The Baffler

A tightly knotted cluster of think tanks, foundations, and private donors belong to a national donor membership roster—whose members ominously refer to themselves as “the network”—of ideological adherents of the billionaire Charles Koch, cofounder and CEO of Koch Industries. Here in Arizona, they’ve taken the Goldwater tradition to a whole new level.

Organizing Against Displacement in the South

By Ivette Román-Roberto and  Mayra Rivera-Vazquez

A training series called Boricuas Holding it Down inspires Puerto Ricans to organize around a pivotal question: Where do Black and brown folks go when they are constantly being pushed out of the islands and cities they call home?

The Drake/Kendrick Lamar Feud

By David Dennis Jr.

We’ve been waiting for Kendrick Lamar and Drake to air out their grievances for a decade, ever since Lamar called out Drake on Big Sean’s “Control” in 2013. The two have been trading subtle jabs since, and it was only a matter of time before we got a full-on battle.