Death becomes us? the skull as symbol of transcendence

“There was a small splash a couple of weeks ago about a new coffee: “Death Wish.” No prizes for guessing that this brew has an extremely high caffeine content. According to the website dedicated to this dark brew, it has about twice the amount of caffeine as regular strong coffee. What’s perhaps more interesting from […]

Hijab: beyond the stereotype

“The hijab — the Muslim headscarf — is a simple item of clothing that has the power to represent complex and even contradictory ideas — from tradition and social conservatism to revolution and democracy (or the hope of democracy, e.g., via the Arab Spring). The symbolism of the hijab depends partly on in which country […]

Soul outside: identity, the body, and advertising in the consumer age

“Japanese ad agency Absolute Territory PR has begun paying young women to wear advertising on their legs. The women must be at least 18-years-old, and they must be connected to at least 20 people on any social media site, since they are contractually required to post images of themselves, wearing their ad, online. Otherwise, the women […]

Louis Vuitton’s allegory of Christ: unpacking LV’s enigmatic ad campaign

Louis Vuitton’s new one-minute film tells us much about the world’s most desirable luggage company, and just as much about ourselves: our history, and our society and its hopes, its day dreams, and its anxieties. The film’s title — L’Invitation Au Voyage (“Invitation to the Voyage” — is taken from the poem of the same […]

Toward a Holistic Politics

Although a relatively obscure thinker in the English-speaking world, it is to the German theorist Oswald Spengler that we must look to find the influence on much of the political thought of the West. Huntington’s “clash of civilization” thesis is Spenglarian, as is Walter Laquer’s Last Days of Europe: Epitaph for an Old Continent and […]

Beautiful, Dirty, Politics

Republican Congresswomen are more “feminine” than their counterparts in the Democratic Party. But Republican Congressmen are “less masculine” than Democrat Congressmen. This is the slightly surprising conclusion of a recent University of California study. The study was conducted by Kerri Johnson — an assistant professor of communication studies and psychology at UCLA and the senior […]

Etheric body: Fashion and the image of God

A revolution was spreading across Europe during the 16th century. In what would become known as the Protestant Reformation the rebels were not just acting against the power of the Papcy, or trying to grab power and land for themselves. For the ordinary zealot, one of the bigger issues was the power of images, or […]

Mishima: the aesthetics of action

It has been more than four decades since Yukio Mishima — Japanese playwright, modern samurai, nationalist, bodybuilder, and all round enigma — sent a shock wave through Japan by committing seppuku, the ritual suicide of the samurai. Yet, today, he is back in public view. July saw the launch of Koji Wakamatsu’s movie 11.25 The […]