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[VIDEO] ‘Sex, Drugs, & Robots’: Reason’s Katherine Mangu-Ward on the Future of the Magazine

Reason‘s new editor in chief Katherine Mangu-Ward sat down with former Reason editor and author Virginia Postrel (now a columnist at Bloomberg View) at Reason’s Los Angeles headquarters to talk about the future of the magazine as it nears its 50th anniversary.

Nick Gillespie—and to some extent Matt Welch—their version of Reason was sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll. Mine is more like sex, drugs, and robots,” says Mangu-Ward.

« The News Mausoleum Commentary Magazine

You may know Mangu-Ward’s work already as Reason’s managing editor or from her insightful cover stories covering everything from defending plastic bags to why your vote doesn’t count.

Approximately 48 minutes.

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Michelangelo’s David the Tranquil Heroic Naked Guy vs. Michelangelo’s David the Conquering Warrior Hero

David-with-gun

“They commissioned statues of David because he was a martial hero who had felled an intimidating foe. They made him a beautiful nude to emphasize his heroism, not to disguise his bloody deed.”

— Virgina Postrel

armalite-gallery-1This controversy is news to me. Author  Virginia Postrel has an item about this in Bloomberg that I recommend, with the (wonderfully not-subtle) headline: Michelangelo’s David Has a Right to Bear Arms

So a gun company, ArmaLite, depicts Michelangelo’s David with a powerful firearm. Potent image. Effective advertising, too. It gets attention. Did ArmaLite think the Italian cultural establishment would view this…favorably? The backlash was perhaps stronger than they anticipated. What does David represent? Asymmetrical warfare, for one.

Come to think of it, Glenn Reynolds wrote a whole book on asymmetrical warfare (the digital revolution) in his classic An Army of Davids. Virginia Postrel’s book The Power of Glamour, makes her uniquely positioned to comment on the controversy.

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Barbie B.S. and Bossy B.S.

barbi-averageThough these two articles aren’t directly related, they share a common theme: “Girl Power”!

First, commenting on the real vs. unreal-proportions Barbie debate, is author , in an essay provocatively titled called ‘Average’ Barbie Is Just as Fake’, Postrel begins with reflections drawn from her own childhood experiences with dolls:

“When I was a little girl, my favorite dolls came from Mattel and had wildly inhuman proportions. To me, they were magical and special and didn’t look the least bit strange…”

Then gets into the business with Mattel:

“…As a mass-produced product, a doll represents a single version of female proportions. Taken as a role model, any single standard excludes those with a different build. Celebrating “average” doesn’t solve the problem. Instead of trying to create a plastic role model, it’s both kinder and more honest to treat a doll as an object of escapist fantasy — a plaything.

Barbie’s popularity is waning, a fact Lammily boosters rarely fail to mention. But Mattel is in the business of selling play, not social commentary…”

Like most guys, other than G.I. Joes (and nobody really talked much about the Joe’s body image) I have no experience with dolls (honest!) and defer to thinkers like Postrel for insights. Put those dolls away and read the whole thing.

[Check out Postrel’s book “The Power of Glamour: Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion” at Amazon]

ban-bossyThe second article involves the recent “Ban Bossy” campaign — featuring the comments of a author Jonah Goldberg, who I’m sure would agree is equally knowlegable discussing Edmund Burke, Adam Smith, or Foghorn Leghorn — and who also draws from personal experience.

“…It seems patently untrue that a) Bossiness is the same thing as “leadership,” b) That bossiness is a gender-specific issue for kids, c) That girls are falling behind in leadership nationally or in schools. Some of my views are based on the fact that I am the father of a little girl and some of it is based on informed common sense…”

And questions the premise that girls are disproportionately disadvantaged in the first place:

“In every conceivable way women are doing better and better. Sheryl Sandberg is herself proof of that. No rational or objective person believes that things aren’t getting better for women in the workplace or the executive suite.

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