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Regular dispatches from our contributors.

Double the Song

Double the Song

I know what a vibe is

For a long time she had loved karaoke. Honestly, she had loved it too much. The love was frantic but also complex, a complexity born of her desire to expose herself and be known, and her concomitant dread of exposing herself and being known. Of all the forms this conflict had ever taken in her life, karaoke was the purest.

BLM in the Billionaire Wilderness

BLM in the Billionaire Wilderness

A channel for movement at the grindingly slow pace of government

Our new group joined around a hundred people who stood on the grass and the sidewalk in front of the courthouse. A counter-protest formed on the sidewalk across the street—they numbered around ten, all men, all white, some with assault rifles strapped across their chests. Together they held one sign, a large piece of cardboard with Sharpie letters that read ALL LIVES MATTER FCK SOROS AND ANTEFA [sic]. It was mostly silent—a modern-day Western standoff, with two opposing factions staring each other down and a man in a MAGA hat on horseback circling both groups.

The Most Exciting Time in the History of the World to Be Alive

The Most Exciting Time in the History of the World to Be Alive

If Americans clamor for a return to boring and courteous politics, the 1996 Gore–Kemp debate offers a blueprint

They were living in an era that prized blithe superficiality. For the second straight month, the Billboard Hot 100 was dominated by a song about a woman named Macarena who cheats on her boyfriend after he’s conscripted; delegates at that summer’s DNC had famously danced to it. The reigning box-office champ was The First Wives Club, in which three well-heeled divorcées vie for the fortunes of their adulterous ex-husbands. “It’s the ’90s,” says Goldie Hawn’s character, “plastic surgery is like good grooming!” (Characters in the ’90s loved to talk about how they were living in the ’90s, the ultimate decade.)

Argument Without Argument

Argument Without Argument

Robert M. Gates and America’s forever foreign policy

The more time one spends in Gates’s head, the more one is struck by the increasingly nihilistic quality of the American exceptionalist creed. Gates and his ilk remain committed to the idea that when there are problems in the world, the United States must “do something.” What is that something? It usually doesn’t matter much.

Dispatch from the California Stripper Strike

Dispatch from the California Stripper Strike

The rumblings of revolutions begin small

In all radical labor movements, history is made when ordinary workers disrupt the system that seeks to exploit and silence them. Because of social stigma, wage theft, and sexual assault, the strip club has always been a difficult and dangerous work environment. Today, the stakes have reached a desperate tipping point, even though, technically, thanks to a recent court ruling, we have more legal rights than ever: we have the right to discuss the job while on the job, the right to organize and gather, and the right to unionize, which will give us a voice in the workplace—instead of only a body to be gazed at.

A Family Affair

A Family Affair

Sometimes we don’t know our limits until they have been breached

Sex work has helped me define and enforce so many new boundaries I have set up for myself: physical, sexual, emotional, and mental. I did not have these facilities when I was younger, but as I began working as a Domme, I saw that such boundaries were vital to this industry. Even in the realm of fantasy, so much of what we do feels real to our clients. Oftentimes, it feels real to us too, even when we know that it is happening in a small compartment of fantasy—even if that small compartment is on display to a consenting audience witnessing a full-on shit storm inside of adult diapers.

How to Build a Hookers Army

How to Build a Hookers Army

Developing a self-defense system for sex workers requires more than compiling a list of techniques that can be performed in close proximity, in heels, with nails, or in a car. It requires a philosophy of self-love for sex working populations that asserts our right to bodily autonomy and self-protection in a culture that treats many of us in media and in law as disposable people.

Regression

Regression

Perhaps it had been so fantastic that she’d assimilated it into a dream

Other memories appear: the afternoon she accompanied Tamara to her iaia’s house. Every day, she’d see the grandfather, a yarmulke on his bald head, collect Tamara after English class. They didn’t attend a religious school, and when her friend confessed that her family was Jewish it gave her a strange feeling. There were so few Jews in Spain, it was as if her friend were special, a rare jewel.