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The Psychologization of Everything

The enormous Duggar family has been in the public eye since their TLC reality series, 19 Kids and Counting, premiered in 2008. In the lineup of TLC shows about oddball families—the twins-plus-sextuplets family; the polygamist family; the little-people family; the hundred-proof hillbilly family—the Duggars are distinguished by their amazing fecundity, and by their commitment to baby-names starting with J (Josh, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph).They are distinguished, too, by their vocal affiliation with Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull—hierarchical and pro-procreation movements within Evangelicalism, which strike some observers as creepy and cultish. The Duggar kids are homeschooled and don’t mix much with the outside world; this, too, strikes some observers as creepy and cultish. All of the Duggar girls perm their hair and wear long skirts—sartorial tics that some observers find creepy and cultish. Did I mention that all the Duggar kids’ names start with J? (Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedediah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin …) At a certain point, this starts to look creepy and cultish. Continue Reading »

Rolling Stone, Alan Dershowitz, and Catholic Priests

By now, virtually everyone has heard of the Rolling Stone fiasco, with its explosive article, “A Rape on Campus,” having been unmasked as deeply flawed. Although the magazine featured a long story about campus sexual assault, the police found no evidence to substantiate the allegations of rape at the University of Virginia.Perhaps fewer are familiar with the case of Alan Dershowitz, the well-known Harvard Law professor who tells his own frightening story of a false accusation. Dershowitz’s reputation for integrity, built over the course of a lifetime, was recently threatened by an uncorroborated allegation of sex with an underage woman. While that accusation has now been stricken from the record, Dershowitz notes that “you can’t unring a bell.” His sterling career and good name having been called into question. Continue Reading »

Sex and Danger at UVA

This past November, Rolling Stone magazine published an article that told the story of a gang rape in a fraternity house at the University of Virginia. This report soon became national news. When we first saw the article, we were uncomfortably reminded of Tom Wolfe’s 2004 novel, I Am Charlotte . . . . Continue Reading »

Sex on Campus

haven’t followed the details of the UVA sex scandal. Unless one is an administrator with responsibilities for such things, keeping one’s distance from the facts is probably best for one’s moral health. Indeed, we didn’t need this particular news story to know that there’s a problem. We’ve embarked on a de-regulation of sexual relations. In the official ideology of our time, our bodies are machines available to provide us with pleasure. The same holds for the bodies of others, limited only by consent. Today, at places like UVa this is the unquestioned and unquestionable orthodoxy. Continue Reading »

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