John Biscello’s ‘Freeze Tag’ evokes Brooklyn’s Guts, Grit, & Glory

New Mexico author John Biscello has never left his native Brooklyn. His whole being is rooted in that region where he spent his young life. His collection of stories, Freeze Tag, grows out of him in the same way he grew out of the NYC burough. His prose is his bone and marrow, and from each page emanates the pavement, sidewalks, car horns, corner bars and greasy spoons that shaped his life and fiction. The book begins like a shotgun blast with "The Bottom Feeders," a story that is very mu...
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Review of Bonnie Lee Black’s ‘How to Cook A Crocodile’

There's a sensuous gravitational tug to Bonnie Lee Black's memoir/cookbook How to Cook A Crocodile: A Memoir With Recipes. Her vivid prose draws you into a world that is rife with humidity and sweat, sharp aromas, the lively voices of children, exotic birds, swarming insects, trash and flowers and diesel exhaust. It's the world of Gabon, Africa, as she experienced it in the mid-1990s after making a life-changing decision to leave her career as a Manhattan caterer and join the U.S. Peace C...
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Exorcising the Elderly: The Horror of Ageism

Yeah, The Exorcist is misogynistic. But is that all it is? William Friedken's 1973 horror classic The Exorcist, like the novel by William Peter Blatty, is more than just a story about demonic possession. It's a manifestation of the most deep-seated anxieties in American culture at that time, many of which still exist today. Arguing that "most good horror films are good because they exploit ambiguous feelings andhalf-baked beliefs lurking in the public," Amanda Marcotte sees The Exorcis...
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Transgendered Jesus / Feminist Christ

Women served as models for the iconic paintings of Jesus Christ.
Christ's Transgendered Disposition Always in Plain View! It's astonishing how most Christians fail to recognize Jesus of Nazareth's transgendered disposition. Not only does it repeatedly reveal itself in the Gospels, it can be plainly - yes, plainly - seen in thousands of paintings, murals, stained-glass windows, storybook illustrations, and other artifacts across the vast body of Christian iconography. Numerous scriptural accounts of Jesus's interactions with both women and men reveal that his ...
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Toys, Boys, and Masculine Ideology

Since its inception in 1964, the G.I. Joe action figure has undergone numerous redesigns which reflect ideological shifts in American social and political culture.  Its most dramatic transformation came with the 1996-7 series G.I. Joe Extreme, which endowed its characters with uniforms linking their ultra-muscular bodies to military weapons systems. While on one level G.I. Joe Extreme may be seen as a toy product designed to entertain boys, on another it can be conceived as a cultural arti...
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Female Veggies, Male Meat

When you "beef up" something, you improve it. When you don't "beat around the bush" you go directly to "the meat of the matter." If you're a "couch potato" who "vegetates" in front of the boob tube all day then you're undoubtedly sloppy, out of shape, listless, and dull.  If you end up brain dead you're a "vegetable."  Phrases like these matter in The Sexual Politics of Meat (1990) by Carol Adams. Studying the language of English-speaking meat-eating cultures, Adams shows how meat-base...
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Malcolm X’s “Little Blonde Co-ed”

In his movie Malcolm X, Spike Lee depicts--but sadly undermines--an incident that significantly impacted the slain former leader of the Nation of Islam. In the 30-second scene pictured above, Malcolm X (Denzel Washington) is approaching a building with three of his associates when a young white woman momentarily blocks his path and asks what she, as a white person, can do to help his cause. Malcolm tersely answers with one word -- "Nothing" -- and passes her by. It is unfortunate that Spike Lee...
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