KPFA Radio 94.1 FM presents a Zoom event:
JoAnn Wypijewski & Kris Welch
What We Don’t Talk About: Sex, Authority and the Mess of Life
What if we took sex out of the box marked “special,” the contents of which are either the worst or best thing a person can experience, and considered it within the complexity of human life in general? In this extraordinary book — in defiance of the long-standing media obsessions that turn every sexual topic into a morality tale of monsters and victims, shame and virtue—journalist JoAnn Wypijewski does exactly that in this searing indictment of modern sexual politics.
“These incisive and controversial essays are a tour de force by a brilliant journalist with unbounded empathy.” — Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz and Set the Night on Fire
From the criminalization of HIV to the frenzy over “pedophile priests,” from unexamined assumptions about the murder of Matthew Shepard to the accusations made against Woody Allen, from Brett Kavanaughto Abu Ghraib, Wypijewski takes some of the most famous stories of recent decades and turns them inside out. The result is a searing indictment of modern sexual politics. She exposes the myriad ways moral panic and a punitive culture are intertwined, considering along the way the nature of pleasure, censorship, self-deception, memory and much more. What emerges is a picture of a culture in which crude morality plays acted out in the media have contributed to an imprisoning embrace of the repressive power of the state. Politics exists in the mess of life. Sex does too, Wypijewski insists, and so must sexual politics, if it is to make any sense at all.
“Wypijewski is perhaps at her most exciting when she models the “sensual intelligence” she calls for – namely, in her short celebrations of Madonna and David Wojnarowicz. The mark of her humanity is her ability to sympathize even with those she ends up condemning.”
JoAnn Wypijewski is a writer and editor based in New York. From 1982 to 2000, she was an editor at the Nation magazine. She has written for the magazine, as well as for Harper’s, CounterPunch, the New York Times Magazine, the Guardian, and other publications. She is on the editorial committee of the New Left Review. She was the co-editor with Kevin Alexander Gray and Jeffrey St. Clair, of Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence.
Kris Welch is a veteran, very popular KPFA on-air host, as well as a devoted mother and grandmother.