"Invisible Forces" by Rafael Matos, Sr.

...full text also available at Cultural Weekly

Rafael joven    
Grandpa, your work reminds me that there is so much for which to be thankful even if we can’t see it. For the world around us and the beauty that thrives in the face of ugliness. For the fact that we are empowered even though so much that happens to us really is out of our control. For both the gentle breeze that ushers in peace and the violent gale that takes it away. For the way it feels to know that you remain one of my “invisible forces” even though you are no longer here.

The GOP’s Outsider Within

...full text also available at Truthdig


Has the GOP done much for African-Americans since it ended slavery in 1863? The answer is a resounding yes if you talk to presidential candidate Herman Cain, its latest “not hyphenated ABC” (American black conservative). Cain casts himself as an outsider, a black Main Street CEO who is ready to unleash true innovation and change upon Washington. But he’s really more like an outsider within, as it was revealed recently that the candidate is proud to be on the Koch brothers’ bankroll—aka, Americans for Prosperity. For that reason and others, Cain says he poses a credible threat to President Obama. And, as he tells it, liberals of all backgrounds should be cowering because he is something the president is not: a “real black man.”

LGBT Ordination: Small Steps, Big Changes

...full text also available at Trans/Missions

From church pews to synod hierarchies, Christians have a long history of social discomfort with and moral conflict about same-sex relations. But news media coverage of recent cultural shifts in mainline denominations and of conservative opposition to same-sex marriage has offered a glimpse into how that history has been evolving. Before the 1980s, news stories generally framed LGBT life as a categorical perversion. More recently, however, reporting has begun to reflect the changing landscape of our cultural discussions. Two important features of this landscape are the upcoming ordination of Scott Anderson as a teaching elder at the Covenant Church in Madison, Wisc., and the move by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) toward accepting same-sex relationships.

Who's the Alien, Cowboy?

...written with Ulli K. Ryder
...full text also available at Cultural Weekly

Chances are you didn’t see Cowboys and Aliens. The film won’t get to $100 million box office in the US, and it is sinking fast overseas as well. There’s even been collateral damage – in the wake of its lackluster performance, Disney has put the brakes on the even-more-expensive Lone Ranger, to have starred Johnny Depp.

Peru Recognizes Reproductive Imperialism?

...full text also available at InMediaRes

For centuries a woman’s worth has been ascribed to her womb. And for centuries some women’s wombs have been deemed more valuable than others. Over time thousands of women across North and South America were sterilized involuntarily under various eugenics laws.

Mississippi Still Burning

...full text also available at Truthdig


A scenario ripped from our nation’s troubled racial past made new headlines this week: the slaying of a man allegedly for the simple reason that he was black. But a little digging reveals that there’s more to this story than the label “hate crime” suggests.

Meet Marvel's Mixed Spider-Man

...full text also available at Huffington Post

As a kid from Queens, NY it's not hard to understand why Spider-Man has always been my favorite superhero. Aside from a shared geographical location Spider-Man reflected many of the qualities of urban youth. He came from a working class background. He lived with extended family. He was open-minded. Sometimes unsure of himself, he struggled to make sense of the bustling world around him and his place in it.

Raising Moses and Apple (and a little Awareness)

...full text also available at TransMissions

Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow recently announced her decision to raise her children, seven-year-old Moses and five-year-old Apple, Jewish. For some this doesn't qualify as news in a world full of heinous acts committed in the name of religion. For others, Paltrow's decision is part of a larger story about Jewish identity and how it intersects with religion, ethnicity, nation and culture in the news.

Adele and Eminem: Singing the Same Digital Song?

Testing out ideas for my new book on Eminem here and in Devils blog. Let me know what you think?

...full text also available at Huffington Post

July 2011 has been a meteoric month for Adele (21) and Eminem (Recovery). Their digital album sales, exceeding 1.017 million and 1.005 million respectively, have made music history. The artists seem to be a pair of space bound rocket ships aiming for the moon. But soaring success in cyberspace is not all they share. A closer look reveals they might be singing different versions of the same song.

Devils, Doppelgangers and Darkness from Eminem

...full text also available at Huffington Post

On a clear night in June I watched a man kill himself. He said he was going to do it. I don't know why. And I'm not the only one.