What Writers Can Glean from “The Wolf of Wall Street”

In my latest for Ploughshares Literary Magazine, I summarize the Crazy response to The Wolf of Wall Street, and tackle the Good that might come from ethically-precarious art. An excerpt: Criticisms of The Wolf of Wall Street both devalue viewers—by assuming they can handle only moralistic tales—and esteem them, by providing immediate evidence of their astonishing critical thinking skills. The film’s critics…

Using Words

“As long as I can, I will take what I feel, use it to face what I am able to know, find language, and write what I think must be written for the freedom and dignity of women.” I don’t agree with everything Andrea Dworkin has written, but this, yes. Yes. Taken from “My Life As a Writer,” in Life…

On the obscene… from (the widely-censored) Henry Miller

The most insistent question put to the writer of “obscene” literature is: why did you have to use such language? […] Someone has said that  “the literary artist, having attained understanding, communicates that understanding to his readers. That understanding, whether of sexual or other matters, is certain to come into conflict with popular beliefs, fears…

sometimes, “staying together for the kids” needs to suck it

Note: I’m in a (long!) marriage that I love, and I don’t have kids. That said: Many of my friends are contemplating divorce. And I’ve noticed that, when kids are involved, a super-sized ever-present argument gets touted about how parents should “stick it out for the kids.” If you’ve experienced a more nuanced approach to divorce with…

Dear Parents. Stop Saying Miley Was Degrading Herself.

Okay. It’s true that many women who use their bodies to make money ARE degraded, by others or themselves. It’s true that many women don’t have a choice in this, and/or don’t believe they’re worth anything “better.” And our desire to change the socio-cultural situation for the benefit of such women is admirable, and necessary….

I want to be numbered among the heretics

It’s the heretic who’s out without her jacket, skirt above the knees, showing her bruises, saying, I dare someone to say it’s okay. Try it. The heretic won’t settle out of court, dress suicide as martyrdom, praise the impotence of silence. It’s the heretic who spits out the communion wine if it tastes of poison