General

Racism, sexism and homophobia: Which prejudice is worse?

By Matthew Beetar Racism is more of a problem than sexism. But sexism is more of a problem than xenophobia, which is less of a problem — occasionally — than homophobia. Transphobia we deal with sometimes, and ageism — what is that even? And dealing with ableism — let’s not take this “reconciliation” thing too…

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Cultural embodiments of the life and death instincts in human beings

Since the 19th century, when the heirs of 17th- and 18th-century British empiricism started thinking of the social implications of the empiricist doctrine, that all we know comes from experience, thinkers like Lord Shaftesbury and his ilk have believed that human society was “perfectible”. After all, if society could be arranged in such a way…

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Of birth rights and gay rights

By Steven Hussey “Nobody is born gay” reads the headline of a billboard by a so-called “pro-ex-gay” non-profit in the United States. The ad shows identical twin brothers with the revelation, “One gay. One not.” Profound. Ironically, the openly gay South African model featured in the ad, who has no twin brother and whose image…

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South Africa, we can do and be better

By Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar It would seem that racism is a divisive topic. It seems to me that the rattling of that word bothers people. It brings out such defensive reactions. It is troubling to see how easy it is to become self-righteous, indignant and defensive. We must guard against this tendency. Let us not…

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Racism in SA is real and it matters

By Andrew Ihsaan Gasnolar We have seen the distractions all around us. We have been confronted with a great deal of flash but not much substance: from the protection orders urgently brought (and then discharged), to the newsletters from Helen Zille to the battle between a Chester and Ms Zille. However, this sideshow distracts us…

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Let’s enjoy freedom from electricity

By Kyle Allan In light (apologies for the ironic use of the word in this context) of the current Eskom shortage, and due to the great impact this is having on our national trauma levels, I have humbly submitted the following succinct guide to surviving, making it through, and even thriving under the current load…

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Africa, the dark continent?

By Matthew de la Hey “The world is like a Mask dancing. If you want to see it well you do not stand in one place” — Chinua Achebe Do they know it’s Christmas? Well of course they do. They’ll probably go to church, and then spend the day with their families. I find the…

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Judge Dennis Davis schools us in book reviewing

Judge Dennis Davis sent shockwaves through the South African literary community recently with his review of Behind the Door: The Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Story by Mandy Wiener and Barry Bateman. Davis has contributed that rare thing to our local literary scene — the negative book review. It was not only negative, but excoriating….

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Ethics always comes too late for power

If there is one lesson I have learned from Foucault, it is this: Ethics always comes too late for power. What I mean by this is that human beings – even philosophers – have a tendency to rationalise, in ethical or moral terms, about the actual decisions and choices one makes in the world, and…

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South Africans! Beware of the sea

Are you planning a seaside holiday in December? Are you thinking about putting on a swimming cossie and entering the water? Perhaps you should reconsider. I have been reading the Daily Sun since 2006, and amid all the stories about tokoloshes, 4-5s, muthi and sangomas, it was this piece of advice that stood out for…

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