Oliver Sacks’ brilliant & essential lesson: What the legendary science writer taught us about politics & the human mind

Published: Salon (August 31, 2015)

“We normals — aided, doubtless, by our wish to be fooled, were indeed well and truly fooled… And so cunningly was deceptive word-use combined with deceptive tone, that only the brain-damaged remained intact, undeceived.

So wrote neurologist Oliver Sacks at the conclusion of “The President’s Speech,” a chapter from “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” his classic book chronicling the fascinating stories he encountered throughout his work in neuroscience. read more

Quick Note: ‘Reverse Racism’ Doesn’t Exist

Published: The Good Men Project (August 27, 2015)

When people talk about “reverse racism,” they are describing a phenomenon that doesn’t exist.

This isn’t to say that yesterday’s shooting of two Virginia journalists wasn’t motivated by prejudice. For that matter, even if perpetrator Bryce Williams was correct in claiming that he had experienced discrimination at the hands of his employers, he was undeniably wrong for choosing such a violent method for redressing his grievances. What happened on Wednesday was a terrible crime, one that horrifies all decent people. read more

Donald Trump has blood on his hands: Why the nativist demogogue is the second coming of George Wallace

Published: Salon (August 26, 2015), The Good Men Project (August 22, 2015)

Donald Trump has indelibly associated his presidential campaign with the cause of opposing political correctness. He has every right to do this – but we in the media need to make sure that ideas which are simply “un-PC” are distinguished from near-criminal irresponsibility.

This brings us to Trump’s comments after hearing that a Hispanic homeless man in Boston had been viciously assaulted by his supporters.

“It would be a shame,” Trump briefly observed, before continuing: “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” read more

Americans aren’t just putting in longer hours—we’re being forced to work until we die

Published: Salon (August 26, 2015)The Daily Dot (August 19, 2015)

Believe it or not, there is a line that Donald Trump refuses to cross. As he has made clear in debates and speeches, he parts ways with the other Republican candidates over the touchy subject of Social Security reform. “Every Republican wants to do a big number on Social Security, they do it on Medicare, they want to do it on Medicaid,” he explained in April. “And we can’t do that. And it’s not fair to the people that have been paying in for years and now all of the sudden they want to be cut.” read more

Joe Biden’s Legacy for Battered Women

Published: The Good Men Project (August 25, 2015)

I have a guilty conscience. Although I respect Vice President Biden quite a bit, I recently wrote an op-ed arguing that it would be a bad idea for him to run for president. My concern (then and now) is that Biden, despite being a qualified statesman, simply doesn’t have the political chops or base of support to mount a viable campaign against either the Hillary Clinton juggernaut or the Bernie Sanders insurgency. If anything, a Biden campaign would only weaken the Democratic ticket in November by dredging up all kinds of mud against his opponents – one of whom, of course, will eventually be the party’s nominee. read more

Josh Duggar’s hypocrisy is part of a much larger cultural problem

 

Published: The Daily Dot (August 21, 2015)

America’s most high-profile Christian conservatives often use their social media platforms and media prominence to extol the virtues of chastity—only to get caught up in sex scandals.

The most recent example comes by way of Josh Duggar, one of the oldest kids from the hit reality TV show 19 Kids and CountingComing on the heels of a revelation last month that Duggar molested five young girls (including his own sisters), Americans have now learned that the outspoken opponent of same-sex marriageabortion rights, and sex education was cheating on his wife with an account on the notorious dating site for cheaters, Ashley Madison. “I have been the biggest hypocrite ever,” Duggar proclaimed in a public statement. “While espousing faith and family values, I have secretly over the last several years been viewing pornography on the Internet and this became an addiction and I became unfaithful to my wife.” read more

Why We Need To Bring Back Crushes

Published: The Good Men Project (August 20, 2015)

Let’s talk about crushes.

I recently noticed that when adults discuss their romantic feelings, the term “crush” is almost never used. When it does appear, there is almost always an apologetic undertone to it – people will qualify their crushes with adjectives like “schoolboy” or “schoolgirl” (as in, “I have a bit of a schoolboy crush on you”), or will in some other way indicate that they feel the emotion they’re displaying is childish. read more

A Few Thoughts on Racist Tweets

 

Published: The Good Men Project (August 18, 2015)

Political articles have been written for millennia, but thanks to the Internet, anyone with the right technology at their disposal can voice their opinions on the published work produced by professional writers. This is mostly a good thing… but what lessons can we learn from those occasions when readers cross important lines of decency?

Last week I wrote an editorial that criticized white supremacist, misogynistic, and other hierarchical ideologies as inherently unmasculine.  It was published by The Good Men Project, cross-posted on Salon, and continues to net me far more personal feedback (i.e., sent by email, Facebook, or Twitter) than any other piece I’ve written this summer. I’d like to focus on one subset of that reader response – namely, the reactions that have targeted me for being a Jew. Bear in mind, the article in question never mentioned that I was Jewish, meaning that the respondents had to research my other work in order to discover my ethnic background. read more