Stories of alien abduction, that is, close encounters of the fourth kind, have been around since the 40s.
Bridget Brown has cast her anthropologist’s eye over these accounts and says that the sorts of stories abductees tell have intriguing parallels with political events and social changes that define the 20th century – things like the cold war, the biological revolution and ecological destruction.
They tell a story not just of individual experience but of the collective psyche and are a reflection of our fear about war and scientific progress.
To help me understand this phenomenon, I called Kathleen Bogle, a professor at La Salle University in Philadelphia who has studied hooking up among college students and is the author of the 2008 book, “Hooking Up: Sex, Dating and Relationships on Campus.”
It turns out that everything is the opposite of what I remember. Under the old model, you dated a few times and, if you really liked the person, you might consider having sex. Under the new model, you hook up a few times and, if you really like the person, you might consider going on a date.
The article is a great introduction to a great book.
Junot Díaz, winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for his book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, was asked by NY Daily News what his favorite Latino book was from 2008. His answer?
Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race, Arlene Dávila. “If you want to understand who we really are versus who the U.S. makes us out to be read this fierce amazing book. Dávila is the best of our intellectuals.”
Arlene’s gotten rave reviews from all corners for her book, published by NYU Press this month. Pick up your copy of Latino Spin today, before Junot’s friends get them all!
In what was no doubt the loudest and most-danceable party in NYU Press history, author Arlene Davila welcomed over one hundred of her friends and colleagues into the King Juan Carlos I Center at NYU to celebrate the release of her book Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race. Cranking out the Puerto Rican tunes was DJ Medina, while the NYU Press staff poured drinks and watched the book fly off the shelves. A great success!
Conservative pundits describe them as a growing mass of border jumpers and job thieves who cling to their native tongue and, therefore, represent a grave threat to the economic future and cultural integrity of the United States. Or, if Latino advocates are to be believed, they are no more subversive than past waves of immigrants: They have middle-class (and consumerist) aspirations and, over time, they can be relied upon to follow the example set by the Irish, the Italians and the Poles, and assimilate into the fabric of America.
Yet it’s that last representation – Latinos as new but nonthreatening actors ready to join the American mainstream – that most troubles New York University political scientist Arlene Davila in her insightful book, “Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race.”
I worked selling subscriptions at the San Francisco Symphony. My arts writer pay from the gay paper, The Bay Area Reporter, didn’t come close to covering expenses. The SF Symphony phone room was old school—we didn’t use computers back then. We called names and phone numbers written on 5×7 cardboard cards. Well, two weeks after I found Wendy’s book, there I was sitting in the phone room of the SF Symphony. I was holding a 5×7 card with Wendy Chapkis’ name, phone number, address, and musical preferences. Oh. My. Goddess. Score!
The candidates are talking a lot about God these days. During his televised conversation with Celebrity Pastor Rick Warren, Senator Obama declared that humans can’t erase evil from the world; that’s “God’s task,” he explained. Articulating strikingly similar theology, Governor Palin has recently remarked that the Iraq war was a “task from God.” Senator Biden invoked the “Lord Almighty” while questioning Ambassador Crocker during a recent Senate committee hearing, and Senator McCain — not known for his piety – has written for Time magazine that for some 20 years he’s been serious about “deepening my relationship with Christ.” And of course, no public political speech can end without the crucial, obligatory: “God Bless America.”
Why all this God-talk among our nation’s leading politicians? Simple: Americans are a religious lot. The vast majority of us believe in God, love God, and are quite certain that the worship of God is a necessary ingredient for a good, moral, strong nation. It is an age-old and well-subscribed-to theory: worship God, pray to God — and elect leaders who have a strong connection to God — and He will reward us with societal happiness, security, and prosperity. Sounds reasonable. There’s only one problem: the facts of the state of the world today don’t support the theory. Continue reading →