How do you discuss virginity with a class of American university students without the conversation sounding irrelevant to their lives or, worse, an exercise in exoticizing another culture? Women, sex and culture can be a Bermuda Triangle that threatens to demolish discussion through either defensiveness — when students feel compelled to defend a cultural practice — or superiority — when students feel compelled to parade their culture as being above whatever cultural challenges are being discussed. The personal is not only political, but it demolishes that Bermuda Triangle. I got a powerful reminder about that in September when I taught a course on gender and new media in the Middle East, in Oklahoma. We had watched the Lebanese film “Caramel,” directed by and starring Nadine Labaki, as the owner of a Beirut hair salon whose friends and co-workers portray a cross-section of Lebanese female experience.
Josh Kornbluth grew up in a secular, communist household in New York City. He says that he's not trying to be flippant when he notes that his parents had an almost "Talmudic reverence for Marxism."
7 Days In The Arts