Political Education for Everyday Life

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Now in our twenty-second year. Online since 1992. The oldest continuously-publishing political/cultural site on the Web.

Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life seeks to revitalize progressive politics. We challenge progressive dogma by encouraging readers to think about the political dimension to all aspects of everyday life. We seek to broaden the audience for leftist and progressive writing through a commitment to accessibility and contemporary relevance.  more »

Call for Contributions:
Bad Subjects #89: Mass Extinction.

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Bad Subjects Follows the 2016 Presidential Campaign

A New Mascot for the Democrats
Patrick Powers

If the donkey isn't cutting it, maybe the Democrats should get themselves a new mascot?
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The August 6th Republican Candidates' Debate
Richard Von Busack

Something anyone who works in a hospital can tell you: a physician can be very good at his trade and still be an A-1 dumb dummy.
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Trump Finds a Role as America's Sovereign Citizen
Joseph Natoli

Our attachments to presidential candidate Donald Trump are far below the level of monumental advance we assign ourselves in this new millennium but nevertheless they exist and are operative once again in the American cultural imaginary.

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featured articles

Our Millennial Age of Magic
Joseph Natoli

Those who are on the wrong side of the wages/dividends divide live within the many distractions of technology that nourish the growth of a millennial magic mindset. They stand fast at the elixir of their own individually concocted empowerment, the allurement of dominating all obstacles, while both Market Rule and technology are taking us toward a "hyper-capitalist dystopia.

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When Psychics Ran for President on a Platform of Free Love
by Patrick Powers

The late 19th century was a time of revolution and free thinking. Victoria and Tennessee Claflin became involved, and Victoria ran for President. read »

The Speciousness of Origin: Notes from Palermo
by Dominic Pettman

In a Palermo natural history museum, ponder our inveterate need to diminish and hold out of sight our connectedness in the mesh of all life, our politics and presumptions in our blindness. read »

National Psychoanalysis
by Joseph Natoli

The author considers the present political situation, in which what any of the dramatis personae say masks the “Unthought” that conceals the hidden heart of the matter.

The Neoliberal/Right-wing Psyche

The Liberal Psyche: Session One

The Liberal Psyche: Session Two

The Liberal Psyche: Session Three

The Leftist Psyche

Cyber-liberty, Democracy and the Arab Psyche
by Kody Gerkin

In the Arab world the freedom to converse, not the mere googling of information is what can trigger political change. Social networks make this possible. read »

Word of Click: Social Networking and the Arab Spring Revolutions
by Kody Gerkin

Social networking's political value in the U.S. may not exceed its distracting/seductive values but such has not been the case with the Arab Spring Revolutions. read »

reviewsmore »

Mad Max: Fury Road To Thunderdome and Back Again
by Jason Kahler

The clickerati have been wringing their hands lately over the latest installment of George Miller's “Mad Max” film franchise. read »

Question Mark and the Mysterians' Mexican Michigan
by Mike Mosher

One can't talk properly about the band without embracing Chicano/a Michigan. read »

Power Garb of Female Expression at Burning Man
by Patrick Powers

Clothing in a definite alternative style. read »

A Short, Shiny Glimpse of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective
by Orin Buck

Overall, a reprise of Pop Art. read »

Burning Man 2014
by Patrick Powers

The wooden Man himself, over a hundred feet tall, burned on Saturday night, represents aspects that one wants to get rid of. read »

My Name Is Rachel Corrie
by Ron Denner

My Name Is Rachel Corrie is a one-woman play that consists entirely of Rachel Corrie's own words. read »

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS: Deep script, great performances. Spoilers.
by Janet Stockey Swanborn

His heart is in his singing career. read »

The MC5 Build to a Gathering
by Sam Gould

Which was a rock n’ roll rebellion, you know? read »

Joanne Gillies' Right to Live: Hard Times and Love on YouTube
by Mike Mosher

She's written songs of her life, sung over a few chords strummed on guitar. read »

Our Brains, Our Pocketbooks: A Review of Empathy Imperiled: Capitalism, Culture, and the Brain
by Tamara Watkins

In his book Empathy Imperiled: Capitalism, Culture, and the Brain, Gary Olson explores the connections between biology, empathy, and capitalism. read »

"Falling in Love Is Such an Easy Thing to Do": The Secret Life of the American Teenager’s Confusing Rhetoric on Sexual Ethics and Consequences
by Tamara Watkins

The Secret Life of the American Teenager ended its five-season run on June 3, 2013. The series often (and awkwardly) walked the line between liberal and stodgy, realistic and unrealistic. read »

Miss Education: Thank You, Lauryn Hill
by Christi Griffis

This album meant everything to me when it came out. read »

The Stooges' Ready to Die
by Christi Griffis

Punk rock is youth and rebellion, and old punks don’t die. read »

by Art Lyzak

The rock gods, in blue jeans and black sport jackets, slipped into a back room where they could press the flesh with fans. read »

See Bad Reviews for earlier reviews

new issue (2015)

Bad Subjects Issue #88: The University

Edited by Molly Hankwitz and Mike Mosher

This issue investigates the University, its strengths, weaknesses and challenges in 2015. read »

recent issues

Bad Subjects Issue #87: Weapons

Edited by Molly Hankwitz

This issue investigates how the topic of weapons is woven into the fabric of society and is broadly defined in the popular psyche and technological history. From words to pictures, to media culture and cinema, a culture of weaponry—from handguns to drones and beyond—preoccupies the global imagination. read »

Bad Subjects Issue #86: Erasure of Memory

Edited by Charlie Bertsch and Joseph Natoli

This issue tells of economic growth and prosperity, envisioned in a way relegating historical memory to the dust pile. read »

editorialsmore »

Hard-Hearted Soft Drinks: The New York City Soda Pop War
by Patrick Powers

Untold billions of dollars are spent every year to encourage the public to buy the stuff.
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A Transgender Veteran’s Story: Misgendered for Surgery
by Char Davenport

I had been repeatedly misgendered, an unpleasant experience, at the Veterans Administration Hospital.
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Let's Change It Now
by Sam Quick

A poetic response to racism and segregation in Grand Rapids, MI.
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Mental Health
by Whit Alleys Dziurka

So can we be awarded with the honor...?
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Hillary Clinton’s Emails
by Harry Hammitt

Under federal law, her emails reflecting agency business were agency records.
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by Whit Alleys Dziurka

It's your labor, and you should dictate what it looks like.
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Effigies of Ancestors at UC Berkeley
by Arlee Leonard

Regardless of who hung them, and whether in support or mockery of the times we are in, they show that black life is still being strangled out.
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15 Miles from Ferguson
by Mark Patrick

In a different St. Louis suburb, the security I have in my neighborhood is not something I earned or even deserve.
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Defending Our Trans* Community
by Charin Davenport

I am very angry about the brutal attack on Toledo, Ohio trans* activist Candice Rose Milligan.
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My Generation
by Whit Alleys Dziurka

A reaction to an article on Millennials.
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By Canceling "Tell Me More", NPR Diminishes Public Radio
by Mike Mosher

Michel Martin's show was a valuable, even essential, part of the day's listening schedule.
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by Colin Scholl

Official correspondence, and a modest proposal.
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The Bad Professor's Beltway Decoder: A Lexicon of Washington Media
by Adam Francis Cornford

markets, the: casinos for the rich that we subsidize.
national interest, the: corporate interest, the.
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Human Being & Mendicants: Two Poems
by Colin Scholl

Contents under pressure
Do not agitate...
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The Free Exchange of Ideas: Our New Normal
by Joseph Natoli

Reaching young minds "friending" and "unfriending" words in line with powerful overriding societal priorities is a formidable task, one not deterred by disingenuous notions of the "free exchange of ideas." read »

Prison for Peace
by Rosalie Riegle

Some are arrested, go to trial, and leave family and community for jail and prison, all in the cause of peace. read »

George Zimmerman: Out Looking for Trouble
by Colette Gaiter

The insidious racism in this country is at the case's heart. read »

"Maggie, Maggie, Maggie,..."
by A. E. McCann

The news came on Monday, April 8th that Margaret Thatcher was dead. read »

Bad Subject Stephen Perkins, blogging from Cairo, posts photos of the street art of Egypt's evolving revolution that's displayed in Tahrir Square.

God Save My Mum: A Not So Warm and Fuzzy Take on the Queen of England's Jubilee
by A. E. McCann

All the love and adulation heaped upon her should have been heaped upon widows and veterans of Her Majesty's Armed Forces, once shipped off to obscure Christmas Island. read »

It's Springtime!
Graphic by Nadeer

Look »

Oakland (after William Blake)
by Adam Francis Cornford

I wander down each corporate street,/There where the corporate cop cars go... read »

Great Scott! Why Florida's Governor Is Wrong to Promote Only STEM Education

by Tamara Watkins

Governor Rick Scott announced college students should abandon humanities and social sciences to pursue degrees in science, engineering, and math (STEM).
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Predator Drones, Reaper Drones, and Total Disconnect

by Rosalie Riegle

Catholic activists sat down in front of an entrance to Creech Air Force Base, Indian Springs, Nevada.
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See Bad Editorials for earlier editorials

for more information

Back Issues
Upcoming Issues

Call for Papers

Bad Subjects Issue #87:


BAD SUBJECTS Issue #87 investigates how the topic of weapons is woven into the fabric of society and is broadly defined in the popular psyche and technological history. From words to pictures, to media culture and cinema, a culture of weaponry--from handguns to drones and beyond----preoccupies the global imagination.

Creative articles on how weapons impact daily life in human interaction, geopolitics, or the life of cities or other are strongly encouraged. Weapons are unsettling, technological phenomenon prone to inducing controversy, horror, pleasure, and pain. The very word 'weapon' touches a powerful nerve in American identity, that of property and liberty.

Then there is the freedom to arm oneself which for many is a concept deeply embedded in the American mind. Whether in response to real or perceived threat, personal weapons have an attraction, use, and appeal. In art, media culture, literature, and film scripts that appeal manifests as images and words; a culture of ideas. Since Sandy Hook and Isla Vista, a renewed debate about gun control counteracts the virulent demand for gun freedom from the conservative right. Indeed, notions of “weaponry” extend far beyond that which can be worn on the body, or carried, or used by a single individual shooter when entire nations are beset with the forever marks of bombs, bullets, chemicals, and military actions. Historic events may offer an understanding of where American society stands with respect to military force, military aid, or the Second Amendment, but do they put us any closer to self-reliance, sovereignty, and the pursuit of happiness?

What do guns signify and how are they, or are they not, significant? Are weapons an idea, lodged in our minds, colonizing our thoughts to the point of no return? How can we dislodge their power over us and send it, naked and vulnerable, into the world, like a frightened piece of game? This is the purpose of this issue.

We are opposed to “open carry” and want more regulation and gun control. We have been active in the history of anti-war and anti-military activity. We seek articles addressing history; articles on art, cinema, culture, political life. We want to look at weapons, at guns and gun worship; at weapons and sexuality, at war and at peace.

In a remarkable work, The Ray Gun Museum, Claes Oldenburg placed a large collection of small plastic, wood, and metal gun-shaped items he'd found over time on display in a gun shaped room. The artwork talks about the symbolism of the gun shape and what it signifies; the likeness of the found object to the gun.

Thus, we have contradictions. We relentlessly glamorize the weapon, sexualize it, make it part of gender; fool with it. A femininity of wiles is often considered insidiously complex and amoral. We make poison, cast spells, bewitch and beguile while the gangster, and the gun moll, model unequal power relations in film noir after film noir and the masculinized, westernized military industrial complex dominates virtually all of Hollywood from The Terminator to Iron Man to Full Metal Jacket and Zero Dark Thirty,despite Lara Croft! Man and his Technology reigns supreme.

An even newer weapon, possibly, has emerged since 9/11, that of a pure ideology, immaterial absolutes and a global political spectrum laced with ideas emerging fresh from the US lead “War on Terror”. The Internet as terminal hiding place, as battlefield, cities as vulnerable, and surveillance as a necessary evil are ideas which reconstitute the feedback loop of the perpetual terrorist Other; a war machine.

What then, do events like the Bundy ranch face-off mean for "revolutionary" acts of freedom in the United States? How has the history of weapons influenced such events and what do they mean for the future of civil society?

Bad Subjects welcomes articles which will generate greater understanding about this complex topic. Submitted essays must be 1,000–3,000 words long. The deadline for submission is October 1. Please send completed essays (.rtf format), your contact information, and a brief author bio of 100 words, to submissions.badsubjects@gmail.com. Please include “Submission for Issue 87” in the subject line of the email.

Collective Action
Collective ActionCollective Action, the second Bad Subjects anthology, is available today at your favorite local independent bookstore. (Get the first one, too.)

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