Punk, Feminism, and the anarchist Femme Fatale

sexy punk girls

Young women did much to shape the Punk movement of the late 1970s, even if they often overlooked or relegated to the role of girlfriend and groupie (think “Sid and Nancy”). Along with Malcolm McLaren, Vivienne Westwood was perhaps the first designer of Punk clothing. Siouxsie Sioux was one of the more famous, and early, Punk […]

The Veil Illuminated: Photographer Drew Tal Reimagines the Niqab in New Exhibit

“Worlds Apart,” an exhibition of photographic works by Drew Tal opened at Emmanuel Fremin Gallery last week. The focus of the exhibition – which is also being shown in Istanbul, Turkey – is the Muslim veil. Most of the works are, at least ostensibly, portraits of various Muslim women, some wearing the niqab (veil) and some […]

The Gods, Atomism, and Ancient Greece: A Humanist’s View

The didactic poem On the Nature of Things by the Latin poet Titus Lucretius Carus (99 – 55 BC), the longest, most detailed exposition of the ancient doctrine of Epicureanism and one of the most widely read and influential texts of the first two centuries AD, went out of circulation in the Middle Ages only […]

A “Topless Burka-Clad Model” and Radical Islamic Fashion

“The art of apparel is made all the more important in Islamic countries by the absence of any human image,” wrote Titus Burkhardt (1908-1984), a scholar of, and convert to, Islam. “It is,” he said, “the art of clothing that in a way conveys the Muslim’s ideal image of himself as a Muslim.” Perhaps this […]

Profane Sacredness: Spirituality, Sexuality and Violence in Art

Can sacred art be ugly? Can it seem even to be against the sacred? There are a couple of contemporary manifestation of religion and imagery that might cause us to ask these questions. In India, today, poster images of Hindu goddesses Saraswati, Durga and Lakshmi have begun being displayed in public as part of the “Save […]

Authoritarian Personality: Power and Subversion in Popular Culture

Duran Duran: The Chauffeur.

Moral superiority is the preferred pose of those lacking knowledge and understanding, it seems. And today, in our neo-Victorian era, morality is all the rage. Facts, thin on the ground, are swept under the rug with the suggestion that the speaker — whether pundit, politician, or popular entertainer — is morally offended. Yet, throughout the […]

The Spiritual Warrior and the Dharma Way

According to the Bhagavad Gita, it is on the battlefield that Krishna (Lord of the Universe) teaches the eternal truth (Sanatana Dharma), and reveals his omnipotent form, to his disciple Arjuna. Again, we are told that Krishna his brother Balarama defeated the powerful wrestlers sent, by King Kamsa of Mathura, to kill them. Early stories about the Buddha […]

Sacrifices, priestesses, and the roots of modern sport

“What is remarkable about [ancient] Greek sport,” says David Sansone in Greek Athletics and the Genesis of Sport, “is the seriousness with which it was taken as a  cultural and even religious phenomenon.” “Sport is, no less than burnt offerings and libations, a form of ritual sacrifice.” Though spotlighted almost exclusively in entertainment — and rarely […]

Platonism, “Pandrogyny” and Panache: how pop hints at the primordial man

The figure of the Hermaphrodite in esoteric symbolism is perhaps one of the strangest and most alien to the ordinary consciousness of man. It has probably always been this way. The primitive shaman — part priest, part mystic, part sorcerer, a figure of fear and reverence — is known to have feminized his appearance, and […]