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Examined Life
Further Materials
Slush Pile

Fall 2013

Issue 7

The annotated table of contents below offers a sneak peek at what's in Issue 7.

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On Security


LETTER FROM THE EDITORS The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human […]





I remembered what Laura had said about her professor’s emphasis on respecting the bodies: “I feel like it’s impossible to respect them. We’re cutting them up, looking at them in places they didn’t want to be seen when they were alive. How can they be respected when they’re so vulnerable?” But Laura was dissecting Nancy for the sake of medicine. What was my excuse?

Perilous Aesthetics


Images like Forman’s “Fire Escape Collapse” and Drew’s “The Falling Man” achieve what we might call an “accidental aesthetic brilliance,” since there was no way those photographers could have purposely stylized these photographs to achieve their most striking aesthetic attributes. … But at what point does the aesthetic excellence of the photograph eclipse the depicted event, or, worse, distract the viewer from inquiring into what happened?

The Lonely Intellectual


What kind of a person, I wonder, responds to Kundera’s revealing statement by immediately wondering how oppressed he is, or compares “wall-to-wall media” to the Cambodian genocide?

No Such Thing?


Insofar as economic inequality is the left’s principal field of battle in contemporary political life, the fact is that it has no real response to neoliberalism. Idealists without an ideal, moralists without morals, to be on the left today is frequently to be both helpless and hypocritical. Faced with such a predicament, hating Thatcher is the easy part.

Looking Back


In cowboy hat and roller skate boots, Olivia Newton-John glided toward the viewer from the cover of the July 9, 1979 issue of People magazine. Below her, […]



Natural Laws


The very idea of calling a loving couple’s consensual sexual acts immoral had always been alien to my sensibilities. Precisely for this reason, I could no more positively reject the idea than accept it. I could only, as it were, stare blankly at it.

Marrying Up


Meeting my husband, Warren, was the best thing that ever happened to my father.

The Love We Use


When I got married I vowed to my wife, on a pulpit in front of all my friends and family, that I would continue to cherish and love her for the rest of her life. It was a kind of promise. But the love we want is spontaneous, underlying, underived and free. This is how it can affirm who we are. How can I commit to continue to love my wife?

A Matter of Life and Death


The problem with marriage, we all know, is the endlessness of it. Once you’re married, you’ve significantly cut down the options, and it suddenly makes your life feel shorter—like now there’s a direct line between you and your own death.

Joiners and Quitters


The utopian imagination must be directed inward, from which point it can radiate out to the neighbor, the spouse, the neighborhood, the city, the country and the world.

Alternative Arrangements


I tend to think that the “contradictions” between feminism, alternative sexuality and marriage have always been overblown. In any group of people, some will take on more traditional values and some won’t.

Not for Anything


Human beings are “teleologizing” creatures. That is to say: we like to understand the phenomena that we encounter in the world as coming to us […]



The World of Coca-Cola


We are then led into the “Happiness Factory,” a small movie theater where we sit through a seven-minute animated CC ad called “Happyfication.” It is hosted by Pete, a blue critter who appears to be a cross between a smurf and a gremlin, gifted with a groovy smoove Marvin Gaye voice.



“Enlightened” bears witness to the fact that we continue to live in an age of enlightenment, although whether Kant would recognize it as such is an open question.



Whenever I hear big political news I reflexively reach for my phone to check Twitter. I scroll down in the timeline to whenever the news—Thatcher […]



People think about 1994 now because Kurt Cobain died then, which causes one to squint through the year, misremembering the end of that era as […]