Anti-Sacred Spaces

According to the "Blowing Off Steam" theory, rough humor—humor that deals with culturally sensitive issues in a way that bumps into or violates taboos—helps release people’s anxieties and stresses in a safe environment. Specifically, it is a release of sacred anxiety.

Adorno and the Culture Industry

A lot of the popular culture we consume these days is produced and distributed by large studios and record companies. Should that worry us? Are doomed to mediocre music, television, and film? Or even worse: are we doomed to songs, shows, and movies that secretly serve a hegemonic propaganda machine?

#FrancisOnFilm: Thor Ragnarok

Thor: Ragnarok is funny, exciting, and visually nifty. The third in a series, it's a great two-plus hours of entertainment. But it's not just entertainment; there's more in Thor philosophically than you might think of when you are caught up in the action.

Theodor Adorno [VIDEO]

Happy 114th birthday to Theodor Adorno, the influential founder of the Frankfurt School. His writings on culture, capitalism, and fascism are as timely as when they were written.

Self and Self-Presentation

Questions about the nature of the self are questions of metaphysics. When we ask such questions we want to know what exactly a self is and what distinguishes one self from another. On the other hand, when we talk self-presentation, we seem to be talking psychology or politics or marketing. Self-presentation has to do with how people present themselves to others.