Susan McWilliams

Legitimized Rapes

1210680_dance_or_fight August 23, 2012
Claremont, CA.  In Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, the hero Howard Roark violently rapes a woman named Dominique, forcing her into submission “like a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession” of a slave. “She tried to tear herself away from him.…
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On Competitiveness

crowd March 16, 2011
“Competitiveness” is the new “proactive” – the word, to paraphrase The Simpsons, that dumb people are using to sound important. Or, more precisely, it’s the word that ostensibly smart people are using to try to cover up really dumb thinking.
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Why We’re Gaga for Gaga

592117_26272252 February 18, 2011
For all the unpredictability of her outfits, there is one thing that has been quite predictable about her work: Gaga’s constant equation of love with violence and humiliation.
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The Social Network Fantasy

friends October 17, 2010
In today’s Los Angeles Times, Neil Gabler has an insightful piece on the way in which the “gang of friends” has become the dominant social group on American television.
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Not a “Modern Family” At All

Happy family September 30, 2010
Claremont, CA. ABC’s hit series “Modern Family” has returned to the air for its second season. It’s the “modern” elements of the “Modern Family” that you’re supposed to notice right away. The family patriarch, Jay, has divorced his children’s…
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Which Came First, the Chicken or the McNugget?

McDonald's September 14, 2010
In many ways, the Los Angeles County Fair is not so different from county fairs all over the country ... except for its agricultural exhibit.
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It’s a Boy! It’s a Girl! It’s a Technology-Enabled “Sex Party”!

pregnant lady September 9, 2010
How do we explain a culture that tells children that sex doesn’t matter much, that “girls can do anything boys can do,” and at the same moment is treating the sex of infants in the womb as a critical, determining fact?
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Where Are All the Grownups?

shadows August 31, 2010
Why is it taking so long for Americans to become “real” grown-ups?
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Your Huddled Masses, Yearning To Make Par

Statue of Big Money August 24, 2010
I people really want to see the current state of the union, they need to take a look at my favorite part of Liberty State Park, which is the fact that it recently has been bisected – rent in two – by the Liberty National Golf Course.
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“Open” Primaries and the Illusion of Choice

Choices June 9, 2010
Claremont, CA. On Tuesday, the residents of this fair state voted to “open” the California primaries. From now on, every voter in the state will receive the same ballot in a primary election. In each race, voters can choose among…
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Lessons from the Jersey Shore

Nightclub May 11, 2010
Jersey Shore teaches us something about the tragic dimensions of the culture in which we live, and in which we raise young people.
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Our Hookup Culture

shadow_of_love March 2, 2010
Hooking up is almost bound to emerge as a norm among young adults in a large-scale society where mobility is highly prized and cultivated.
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Facebook and Friendship

1108380_hand_in_hand February 18, 2010
Whatever else you make of Facebook friendship, it underscores the great and significant discrepancy between: 1) the scale of contemporary life, and 2) the scale of friendship.
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Building Something of Our Own

Men Not At Work February 4, 2010
It may be the great sentiment of this American moment: “I want to build something of my own. How do you not understand that?”
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Read the Printed Word

February 1, 2010
Here’s a sign of the times: if you’re worried about what all these digital and internet technologies are going to do to books, you can join a movement to signal your support of books (and other pen-and-inked things). Here’s what really makes that a sign of the times: the movement is online.
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Talk To Me, Barack

President Obama January 28, 2010
Obama is suffering because whether or not it is true, he seems not to understand what is going on around the country. Whether or not it is true, he seems uninterested in making his proposals understood. As a result, he seems distant – the kind of guy who doesn’t really get you as a person – and the first thing that he must use to bridge that seeming distance is speech.
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