The Catholic church has a new pope! Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio this week became Pope Francis I, the first non-European pope. The first BRIC pope. He sounds like a man of humility and asceticism, who travels on budget airlines – Lord knows that is a trial of the flesh. While a friend to the poor, Read more…

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We’ve all hallucinated during sex, haven’t we? Or…is it just me?! Well I have anyway, on a couple of occasions. Once was back in 1996. I had just left university, and broken up with my girlfriend in the clumsiest and most insensitive way imaginable. I moved to Seville to try and write a novel, but Read more…

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A friend of mine told me about this 1991 documentary, Paris Is Burning, about the New York transvestite ball scene from the 1980s. I just watched it, completely fascinating film. It was one of the first successes of the independent studio Miramax, and part of the rebirth of indie cinema in the 1990s. What the Read more…

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Liberalism has a blindspot when it comes to pornography. Liberals see it as a freedom issue – adults should be free to watch porn if they want, so long as no-one is harmed in the making of it. Adults should also be free to make porn if they want. Companies should be free to sell Read more…

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Over at the Centre for the History of the Emotions blog, we’re holding a Shame Week, in which various historians of the emotions consider shame. Today, Katherine Angel of Warwick University has posted an excellent review of the Steve McQueen film, Shame. She loves the film, but wonders why Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender have, Read more…

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