Is water male or female – and does it really matter? English does not allocate gender to words. Although some things, ships and countries for example, often have feminine associations, there are no grammatical rules to make something either male or female.
Masculinity is often, these days, described as “toxic”. In May, Hillary Clinton spoke at a gala where “toxic masculinity” cocktails were reported to have been served. Toxic masculinity even has its own Wikipedia entry.
Many of the commentaries on post-truth have attempted to locate the sources of it. Where does post-truth discourse come from, and who is responsible for producing it?
The word radicalisation has been hijacked by the war on terror and become interchangeable with extremism. But radicalisation is happening in our towns and cities every day as marginalised teenagers and children – left isolated from opportunity – join street gangs.
Does pornography foster harassment and abuse? That was the question posed by a recent New York Times editorial, in the wake of allegations and debate about endemic harassment, objectification, and abuse of women.
Under Hitler, Germany experienced the consequences of a nation caving in to propaganda and hate speech. This may explain its government’s urgency to enact a new law, known as the “Facebook Act,” in response to the recent alarming rise of hate speech online.
In the wake of the numerous accusations of sexual predation, the endemic issue of the harassment and abuse of women is finally causing a stir. It may seem like a new matter to some, but the coming forward of countless women has merely raised age-old questions about women’s voices.
When US President Donald Trump was confronted with the shocking events in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, his response followed his usual style: to attack “mainstream media” reports and try to reframe the media narrative.
The word “Viking” entered the Modern English language in 1807, at a time of growing nationalism and empire building. In the decades that followed, enduring stereotypes about Vikings developed, such as wearing horned helmets and...
In the immediate aftermath of the October 2 Las Vegas massacre – the US’s 273rd mass shooting in 2017 alone – it seems neither President Donald Trump nor his Republican colleagues will entertain a review of current gun legislation in America.
As a criminologist, I have reviewed recent research in hopes of debunking some of the common misconceptions I hear creeping into discussions that spring up whenever a mass shooting occurs.
In the absence of any clear ideology associated with Donald Trump’s US presidency, it does seem he has at least one obvious priority that transcends the hype and spin: he is determined to undo his predecessor’s legacy.
The way I see it, there are two paths we can choose to take. One leads to further conflict, and the other takes us toward greater compassion and peace. I believe that on a whole, we're becoming tired of negativity, and we're consciously looking to find ways to effect positive change...
There are those who say that comparing President Donald Trump’s rhetoric to that of Adolf Hitler is alarmist, unfair and counterproductive.
Margarine has seen its fortunes ebb and flow with the tide of popular opinion. But Unilever’s recent announcement that it’s dropping the margarine brands Flora and Stork marks a new low point for the spread.
White supremacy is woven into the tapestry of American culture, online and off – in both physical monuments and online domain names.
What is the recipe for long-term happiness? One crucial ingredient cited by many people is closeness in their social relationships. Very happy people have strong and fulfilling relationships.
Extremism has always been with us, but the internet has allowed ideas that advocate hate and violence to reach more and more people.
I’m sitting on a train when a group of football fans streams on. Fresh from the game – their team has clearly won – they occupy the empty seats around me. One picks up a discarded newspaper and chuckles derisively as she reads about the latest “alternative facts” peddled by Donald Trump.
Terrorism is a form of psychological warfare. Most terrorist groups promote their agenda through violence that shapes perceptions of political and social issues.
The children come home from school to be greeted by their mother, who is wearing an apron. They then go off to play with their neighbourhood friends, from families very like their own.
Last year, New York’s then police commissioner Willam Bratton was quick to blame rap music and the culture around it for a fatal backstage shooting at a concert by the rapper T.I. Ignoring wider issues of gun control, Bratton pointed at “the crazy world of the so-called rap artists” that “basically celebrates the violence”.
How did we arrive in this Twilight Zone, in which the norms of public discourse appear to have broken down — this alternate universe in which brazen lies and grotesque spectacles of incivility feel like the new normal?
Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran recently announced he had quit Twitter because he was sick of internet trolls.
Civilizations emerge and evolve when they are governed by a creative minority that inspires the people. In turn, civilizations enter decline when the dominant minority prefers to follow a status quo of power rule...
Last Wednesday, on the eve of his election to the House of Representatives, Montana Republican Greg Gianforte beat up Ben Jacobs, a reporter for the “Guardian" newspaper.
In February 2017, more than 100 gravestones were vandalized at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society Cemetery outside of St. Louis, Missouri and at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia.
It will probably come as little surprise that recent surveys have found the majority of adults in Europe think that international terrorism is the most pressing threat to the continent.
Political polarization is largest for demographic groups in which individuals are least likely to use the internet and social media, new research shows.
I spent much of this past week in Washington – talking with friends still in government, former colleagues, high-ranking Democrats
The theme that unites all of Trump’s initiatives so far is their unnecessary cruelty.
Fake news is not news – that is, it is not in fact news, and the matter of fake news is not a recent revelation.
A colleague recently asked me how I would define “Trumpism”. Where do you start? Is it a new political ideology, or a revival of dangerous old populisms?
Rural people and issues generally receive little attention from the urban-centric media and policy elites.
President Donald Trump has shown a unique ability to use Twitter as a way to connect directly with his followers.
With congressional Republicans in the majority in Congress and unwilling to cross Donald Trump, the job of containing Trump’s incipient tyranny falls to three centers of independent power
Recent reports indicate that Trump administration officials have circulated plans to defund the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), putting this agency on the chopping block – again.
Life goes on for the parents who drop off their children at homework club, or those rushing in late for embroidery class.
If music historians, not critics, chose which acts to induct into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the selections would likely differ, says Richard Aquila. They might even include Pat Boone.
The papers and social media are today full of claims of fake news; back and forth the accusations fly that one side of the political divide in the US has been filling the world with lies in order to discredit the other.
As the Senate hearings for Jeff Sessions’ nomination as attorney general ran into their second day, I kept thinking about the movie Hidden Figures, which my wife Judith and I saw three days earlier.
For generations, many have worked towards the quintessential American Dream, in both the idealistic and materialistic senses.
The nonpartisan model of journalism is built around the norm of covering politics as though both parties are equally guilty of all offenses.
Experiencing record high or low temperatures affects people’s stated belief in climate change, new research finds.
On December 31 1937, Cambridge classicist and man of letters F L Lucas embarked on an experiment. He would keep a diary for exactly one calendar year.
Historian Eric Hobsbawm famously called the 20th century an “age of extremes”, one characterised by polarising ideological battles fought in the name of nationalism.
It’s the story of a society in which democracy descends into tribalism and tyranny. One of a civilisation built by those committed to the rule of law who turn on each other, scapegoating the marginalised and powerless.
Last Thursday President-elect Donald Trump triumphantly celebrated Carrier’s decision to reverse its plan to close a furnace plant and move jobs to Mexico. Some 800 jobs will remain in Indianapolis.
Tohono O’odham traditional lands extend deep into Mexico, and any border wall will face legal and physical opposition.
In recent months, far-right activists – which some have labeled the “alt-right” – have gone from being an obscure, largely online subculture to a player at the very center of American politics.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, many questions have been raised about Facebook’s role in the promotion of inaccurate and highly partisan information during the presidential race and whether this fake news influenced the election’s outcome.
This was a highly emotional election, and we need time to feel our feelings and sort out what it means for us and for the country. Donald Trump's game is to manipulate emotions and activists can be as vulnerable as anyone else...
In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, the overwhelming response among progressives was “how in the world did this happen?” Those of us who study the rise of political and moral polarization in the United States, however, were less surprised.
When I started in TV journalism three decades ago, pictures were still gathered on film. By the time I left the BBC in 2015, smartphones were being used to beam pictures live to the audience.
The reactionary wave that swept across America with the election of Donald Trump is not an anomaly in our history. It is an all-too-familiar pattern in the long struggle for American reconstruction.
The 2016 election campaign was arguably the most divisive in a generation. And even after Donald Trump’s victory, people are struggling to understand what his presidency will mean for the country.
Political correctness was one of Donald Trump’s earliest targets in his presidential campaign. From the onset, his massive crowds cheered whenever he would defiantly declare, “I’m so tired of this politically correct crap.”
You probably have a handle on what Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States means in your own country, but what about around the world?
If non-Americans could vote for what is often called “leader of the free world”, Hillary Clinton would easily be the next US president. WIN/Gallup has surveyed world opinion and Donald Trump’s support is extremely weak (apart from in Russia).
Many political commentators credit Donald Trump’s rise to white voters’ antipathy toward racial and ethnic minorities. However, we believe this focus on racial resentment obscures another important aspect of racial thinking.
Much has been made about the predictable partisan split between presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on issues of science and public policy. But what about their supporters? Can Americans really be that far apart in terms of science?
Even the most secluded person cannot fail to have noticed that the United States is riven by two competing worldviews: one politically and culturally conservative and religiously bound, the other socially progressive and largely “spiritual but not religious.”
At the core of Theresa May’s reasons for lifting the ban on new grammar schools in September was, the prime minister argued, her desire for “Britain to be the world’s great meritocracy”.
Some policymakers and elected officials, including President Barack Obama, have publicly criticized impoverished and African-American fathers for not being involved in the lives of their children.
Vaginas are so hot right now. If that sentence shocks you, then you’ve been out of the cultural loop.
As long as each side is attached to their beliefs, the battle never ends. It is only when one person is able to step back and listen to the other without judging that is there is potential for a shift to occur...
A January 2015 Pew Research Center study found an alarming chasm between the views of scientists and the views of the public.
As a professor of Russian literature, I’ve come to realize that it’s never a good sign when real life resembles a Fyodor Dostoevsky novel.
Harvard Law School professors love to use hypotheticals in their classes. So let’s try one that they have not subjected their students to in its 200 years of storied history. What if the Law School split itself into two parts
Is there a difference between calling a woman or a man “hysterical”? The word’s origin as the term for a psychological disorder grounded in female physiology suggests the answer is yes.
The GOP presidential nominee's acceptance speech was a litany of fear and resentment, a dog whistle to disaffected white Americans.
We hear a lot about patriotism, especially around the Fourth of July. But in 2016 we’re hearing about two very different types of patriotism. One is an inclusive patriotism that binds us together. The other is an exclusive patriotism that keeps others out.
For years, transgender rights activists have argued for their right to use the public restroom that aligns with their gender identity. In recent weeks, this campaign has come to a head.
A visceral sense of domestic decline is coursing through contemporary American culture and politics – and it’s become one of the central themes of this year’s presidential campaign. Donald Trump in particular has used it to stoke the inchoate anger of his supporters, telling them: “Our country is falling apart. Our infrastructure is falling apart … Our airports are, like, third world.”
The four key elements of ethnic culture respondents mentioned were language, food, holiday celebrations, and values. As Kelly H. Chong investigated how the couples sought to preserve ethnic traditions, food and holiday celebrations were the only cultural elements passed down among generations in a concrete way.
The race for the Republican presidential nomination has provided pundits with ample opportunity to claim that we have reached an all-time low in terms of fractiousness, divisiveness and vulgarity.
Luis is an upper-middle-class American-born Latino. When I interviewed him in 2008, he told me he had spent long hours, and a substantial amount of money, restoring a classic Chevy truck.
In issues as diverse as domestic violence to media representation, women have made themselves heard in 2015.
The Justice Department announced that nearly 6,000 people in federal prisons will be going home early. The move, U.S. officials told the Washington Post, is an effort to both reduce overcrowding and to provide relief to people who received harsh drug war sentences over the past three decades.
The murder of two journalists in Virginia, live on TV, by a disgruntled co-worker who later shot himself, has once again sparked debates about gun legislation in the US, with the White House calling for action by Congress.
For a few days in late February, social media users were transfixed by a debate over the color of a dress posted on Tumblr: Was the dress blue and black, or white and gold? More than a million tweets, associated with the hashtags #thedress, #whiteandgold and #blackandblue, turned the debate into a social media phenomenon.
There are hidden, and serious, ethical issues in the news media. It has become an industry in which editors and journalists routinely select the most disturbing and shocking news for our daily, or even hourly, consumption.
The new thinking we need will not emerge all at once, in one fell swoop. It will come about—and is already coming about—as contemporary thinking is increasingly questioned. There is a step before we can embrace new ideas: it is to put the old ideas on trial.
As California endures its worst drought since records began, illegal marijuana plantations are being blamed for further depleting precious water resources.
In today’s China, the philosopher Confucius is back. To mark his 2,565th birthday this September, the nation’s President, Xi Jinping, paid homage to the sage at an international conference convened for the occasion.
What if you asked Americans in largely "red" or Republican districts and largely "blue" or Democratic districts very specific questions about what government should do—about taxes, reproductive rights, foreign affairs, and the like, and 96 percent of the time they agreed? And 69 percent of the time there wasn't even a statistically significant difference ...
Why did an elementary school math problem go viral? It has to do with a new set of federal education standards known as the Common Core.
"...the public is currently being denied the right to be fully informed about the risks it is facing. There are many reasons for this, from “doubt-mongering” to ideologically-motivated denial. We know from much research on misinformation that people cannot dismiss “noise” or misinformation unless they are given a reason to do so."
Accurately understanding our natural environment and sharing that information can be a matter of life or death. When it comes to global warming, much of the public remains in denial about a set of facts that the majority of scientists clearly agree on. With such high stakes, an organized campaign funding misinformation ought to be considered criminally negligent.
The Tea Party is just the popular face of corporate power in the United States, says political philosopher Noam Chomsky. “I wouldn’t call them revolutionary,” Chomsky said, dismissing a suggestion that the conservative political faction had anarchist characteristics.
Almost all of the medical research with psychedelic drugs to date has been focused on curing diseases and treating illnesses. Little attention has been paid to the reported ability of these remarkable substances to increase human potential, and even less attention has been paid to their reputed ability to significantly enhance all aspects of human pleasure...
I read a quote from Thoreau, and his words stopped me cold: "We are all schoolmasters and the universe is our school house." As Thoreau says, this is everyone's true nature — being a teacher. I don't mean the teacher who stands up in front of a classroom. I mean someone who nurtures and inspires and encourages and guides and challenges...
When Timothy Leary was diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer at age seventy-six, he said that he was “thrilled and ecstatic” to hear that he was going die. As much as Leary loved life, he not only accepted death but also embraced it...
The myth of progress tells a story in which everything that came before this moment is useless and obsolete. Many will agree that the idea of progress, which is the ideological underpinning of civilization, is delusional, but still wonder where does it leave us if we...
Retail redlining is a more recent and less studied variation on redlining as it's been historically recognized in the housing sector.
If the NRA were to have its dreams come true, surely every single person in the US would own a gun! Nay! What am I saying? Not just one...
Psychiatric heretic R. D. Laing wrote, “The condition of alienation, of being asleep, of being unconscious, of being out of one’s mind, is the condition of the normal man.” In Laing’s mind normality is insanity, whereas madness may be a path to “hypersanity.”
There is not much to dislike in this typical Republican self-revealing dribble since it glaringly exposes their true color. Republicans say we have a spending problem and we do. However, they fail to acknowledge that it's not from spending too much -- it is from spending for the wrong things.
Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 should be a no-brainer. When you add in the Earned Income Tax Credit and food stamps it’s possible to barely rise above poverty at this wage. Besides, the proposed increase would put more money into the hands of families that desperately need it. A decent society should do no less...
Before we can choose productive myths for our lives we must be sure to weed out the bogus myths first. Some of these will be very deeply rooted, and therefore harder to deal with. One of the marks of a bogus myth is that it acts like carrot-and-stick persuasion. So, for example, if we take a look at some political myths, we'll see that...