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 »

featured articles

Rustbelt Irony: Suffering Art, Cars, and Cold in Detroit
by Mike Mosher

Reflect on the past year of culture in the major city in Michigan, a site of conflicting, or perhaps complementary, irony and sincerity. read »

Bye Bye, Facebook
by Patrick Powers

Facebook is sharing all my data with the US government. Private companies, and governments like Egypt, can get my Facebook data too. Forget that. read »

The University of the Commons: a New Progressive Alternative in San Francisco
by Molly Hankwitz

People were excited at the promise of starting a really great project for higher learning, and to be able to teach what we wanted, as we wanted, without money and profit motives and administrative harnessing to get in our way. 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, and the invalidities of our politics and presumptions in our blindness. read »

National Psychoanalysis
by Joseph Natoli

The author considers the present political situation as a psychomachia, a drama in which what any of the dramatis personae say or any of the bi-partisan accords they enact do no more than mask the “Unthought” that conceals the hidden heart of the matter.

The Neoliberal/Right-wing Psyche

In this first "diagnosis," the author examines the neoliberal psyche. read »

The Liberal Psyche: Session One
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The Liberal Psyche: Session Two
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The Liberal Psyche: Session Three
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The Leftist Psyche

Natoli's last examination of the American cultural psychic drama, or psychomachia, focuses on a repressed, suppressed and devilized leftist ideology. read »

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

In the Arab world the freedom to converse and not the mere googling of information is what can trigger political change and 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 »

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 »

Mike Kelley at PS1: Dark Humor Unseats All Rules and Restraints
by Julie Paveglio

Kelley challenges cultural politics and the status quo directly, gender and identity within self and object relations, artistic techniques and forms. Recontextualizing meaning through the alterations of familiar, mundane low-brow imagery and ideas, he unseats social constructions. read »

Thin Gruel with Bison: Ann Arbor Folk Music Forty Years Ago
by Mike Mosher

The death of Pete Seeger (1919-2014) prompts thoughts about folk music in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1970-73. 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 »

Music Books on an Austere Media Diet: Bliss and I WANT MY MTV
by Mike Mosher

Two books shed light on my own peculiar and prejudicial diet of media, both print and televised. 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 »

Problems of the History Painter: Niagara, Detroit and "War Paint"
by Mike Mosher

Elegant women in Niagara's "War Paint" exhibit make the conflagration seventy years ago into the best of fun. read »

Jung, Clarke, Kubrick: Dark Monoliths, Stone Temples
by Michael Powers

Motifs and coincidences involve the lives and work of the psychologist, the writer and the filmmaker. read »

Robots All: A Letter to Kurt Vonnegut on the Anniversary of Breakfast of Champions
by Rob Drew

Your book gives the impression, not only that most humans act like machines, but that the universe itself is like a machine. read »

See Bad Reviews for earlier reviews

new issue (2014)

Bad Subjects Issue #86: Erasure of Memory

Edited by Charlie Bertsch and Joseph Natoli

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

recent issue

Bad Subjects Issue #85: Is Kennedy Dead?

Edited by Mike Mosher

November 2013 saw much ink and pixel devoted to November 22nd, 1963, the day US President John F. Kennedy was shot. This issue of Bad Subjects: Political Education in Everyday Life examines the imagery of his enduring legacy, and especially his assassination fifty years ago. read »

editorialsmore »

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 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.
read »

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

The task of reaching young minds already "friending" and "unfriending" words in line with powerful overriding societal priorities, plus the frustration of discovering that all attempts at "unpackaging" those priorities lead to the dead end of a student's personal opinion that overrides even Socrates's pedagogy, is a formidable task, but one not deterred by disingenuous notions of the "free exchange of ideas." read »

Got a TV Eye on Me: Video, State Surveillance, and Resistance
by Mike Mosher

It's the cameras around us, and the ones in our pockets, and the software and servers that monitor our texts and clicks, that make, and record, history in 2013. 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.

Who Gives a Cluck What Dan Cathy Thinks?
by Tamara Watkins

On July 16, 2012, Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-fil-A confirmed that his company is decidedly anti-gay marriage. The chain's conservative politics have long been suspected; Chick-fil-A is notoriously Christian. If you want a banana shake on a Sunday, you're out of luck. look »

Costumed for Life and Love: San Francisco LGBT Freedom Day 2012
Photos by Ron Henggeler

The City marched, danced and celebrated in its finery on Sunday, June 24th. look »

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 my Mum, and other 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

To transform Florida’s economy and draw businesses to the state, Governor Rick Scott announced college students should abandon humanities and social sciences to pursue degrees and careers in science, engineering, and math (STEM).

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Predator Drones, Reaper Drones, and Total Disconnect

by Rosalie Riegle

At a national Catholic Worker gathering, activists sat down in front of an entrance to Creech Air Force Base in 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:


This issue investigates the topic of weapons in the American psyche. From words, to art, to handguns to drones, creative, personalized, miniaturized and open culture towards weaponry serves as an unsettling, disturbing and ultimately symbolic realm of our national imagination. It is the freedom to arm ourselves against real and perceived threats, to challenge, dream, dissent, and attack. It is an intellectual territory to which we are simultaneously desensitized and drawn.

What are weapons in today’s reality, consciousness and culture?  

September 11th induced—and our government has promoted—social anxieties for a decade or more with the invention of the War on Terror. American culture has in this time expressed a fear of invasion and of the Other, similar in form and rhetoric to the 1950s Red Scare. This interest in and fascination with firearms, however, goes back further . Firearms have held a prominent place in American history and culture for centuries, and indeed, the notion of weaponry extends far beyond what can be worn, used, or carried. Claes Oldenburg’s Ray Gun Museum is a tremendously funny artwork, a huge collection of found plastic, wood, and metal gun-shaped oddities which talks about guns in the playful, toylike, and social imagination. Weapons are also glamorized. The gangster and the gun moll are favorite film characters, and the military-industrial complex is frequently celebrated on screen in films like Iron Man, Full Metal Jacket and Zero Dark Thirty.

  Gun violence is very much present in nonfiction media. The terms lone gunman and single, isolated shooter ricochet haplessly, further establishing a male/masculine historic relationship to gun killing, as Rebecca Solnit pointed out recently in connection with the UC Santa Barbara Isla Vista shootings. While massacres of this type are not common, America still leads per capita in gun related deaths, and we possess no cogent gun control laws.

There are many ideas to consider about weapons. Firearms impact the history of the American republic and might predict its future. Clive Bundy's incident made armed vigilante groups railing against the Federal government visible. What does this mean for the "revolutionary" status of the United States? As a people, are we weapon happy? A weapons-oriented mentality everywhere flavors the stew.

  Bad Subjects welcomes articles which will generate greater understanding about this complicated, diverse topic, of 1,000 to 3,000 words. Deadline for submission is October 1, 2014. Please send submissions in .rtf format, along with the author’s contact information and a brief author bio of 100 words to Editors Molly Hankwitz and Tamara Watkins at submissions.badsubjects@gmail.com .

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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