It had to end eventually. Zombies, the pop-culture obsession poised to eclipse vampires, are themselves being eclipsed — not by some third kind of ghoul but by reality.
James Poulos | All Articles
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It’s only fitting that Barack Obama, who so willingly brought America’s cult of the presidency to climax, should preside over its unceremonious collapse. Obama’s administration may well extend into the next four years. The signs of disappointment and disillusionment with his presidency, however, are now beginning to pile up.
Vladimir Putin is back. Freshly re-installed as Russian president, the world’s most intimidating camera hog is raising Western hackles by blowing off the latest G8 summit. He’s also fueling a new round of antagonistic U.S. press. It goes without saying that life under Putin would appall and depress the average American. But Putin’s American critics, invariably demanding a tougher Russia policy than the one president Obama has adopted, are completely missing the point.
The race is on to use Europe’s rejection of fiscal austerity as a cudgel to beat Republicans. “Economic austerity is a dangerous, self-defeating intellectual fad,” Eugene Robinson thunders. “Perhaps I should say that’s what it was, given Sunday’s election results in Europe. Perhaps I should also say good riddance.”
In this careening campaign season, it’s the biggest reversal of fortune yet. And it might be the most momentous development before Election Day.
If there’s one thing everyone hates today, it’s colonialism. Liberals associate it with violence, racism, and exploitation. Conservatives associate it with the failed model of European grandeur that we Americans were blessed to escape and bound to reject. For centrists, colonial misadventures underscore their view that we’re so bad at nation-building abroad, we should do it at home. And for just about all of us, it’s impossible to think about imperialism without thinking of colonialism.
Until this week, the most famous presidential rebuke of a sitting Supreme Court justice belonged to Andrew Jackson. “Justice Marshall has made his decision,” steamed the man accused by his opponents of Napoleonic ambitions. “Let him enforce it!”
Options for dealing with the latest twists in the Republican race:
“May you live in interesting times,” goes the old Chinese curse. Today’s American version might be “May you return to office for a second term.”
Much of the bad rap that religion gets nowadays can be traced to a single source. From a contemporary perspective, many faiths seem to consider the physical body more as part of the problem than as part of the solution. Jokes about Muslim clothes, Christian chastity belts and holes in Jewish sheets speak to a basic concern that the body itself --- not just its appetites or desires --- is viewed by religion almost as an enemy. Some Christians, aware of the difficulty, have tried to combat it with something approaching a threesome-with-Jesus campaign. One’s abstinent years are presented as the divine cover charge for a lifetime of awesome God-approved sex with one’s husband or wife.
My recent column on the difficult relationship between human nature and sexual politics has generated a response that itself is worth talking about. The wave of anger and condemnation that has come from some quarters is dramatic evidence that the column’s central contention is right. At the heart of the culture wars is a very deep-seated disagreement over whether or not women’s natural bodies give women unique or particular purposes --- and, if so, what those purposes are, and how our morals, politics, and laws ought to treat the relationship between those purposes and women’s choices about how to actually live.
Editor's Note: Poulos responds to critics of this article here.
Despite a mania of animosity on the left and the right over what should be done about class in America, the most influential voices seem to agree on one thing: our elites must save the working class. Periodically, the hysterics climax with a screech that the whole middle class needs to be saved by our faux-aristocracy. But the working class is held up as an especially desperate case. After all, the working class is what we call the group of people who aren’t locked in the underclass yet continue to do jobs that our elite organizations characteristically compete to incentivize people away from.
Two narratives, both wrong, have emerged from the latest round in the cage match otherwise known as the race for the Republican nomination. Influential voices on both sides predict ruin for one team of combatants and triumph for the other.
Allegedly it is even more difficult to identify the GOP establishment than it is to define a truuuuue conservative. Some say the establishment is made up of wealthy RINOs. Some say it’s Beltway elites. Some say it’s those who only really care about winning elections.
He has a solid, unshakeable base. His poll numbers are rising, not sinking. He hasn’t had to go negative. He hasn’t had to deliver a speech to get past his newsletter-induced Reverend Wright moment.
Mitt Romney’s back-to-back victories in Iowa and New Hampshire reveal two discouraging facts. The first is that this year’s field of Republican candidates is unusually weak. The second is that the weakness of this field has created the impression that Romney himself is only marginally less weak a candidate than the others.
They said Rick Perry was too much like George W. Bush. They said Republicans were in danger of nominating Zombie Reagan.
You know the drill. Here’s what’s chiseled in Mayan-calendar-sized stone for the mind-warping year to come: