Forcing Tradition

Recently on Netflix I watched an interesting episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (“Producer’s Backend,” season 16 episode 3, which originally aired 8 October 2014). The narrative in the episode focused on a movie producer named Brubeck who used his power over young actresses — i.e., girls under the age of consent — to force them into sexual quid pro quos. Throughout the episode, the SVU detectives uncovered a number of victims, but in each case their hands were tied insofar as the assaults took place so far in the past that the incidents were past the statute of limitations.

As they investigated victims coerced more recently, they found that the movie producer had learned to cleverly skirt age of consent laws:

Detective #1: In the last nine years, all of Brubeck’s movies have been shot in Pennsylvania, Washington, or Montana.
Detective #2: All states with an age of consent of sixteen, and a mistake of age defense.
Prosecutor: Meaning, the guy can have sex with a fourteen-year-old and claim that he thought she was sixteen.

Despite this, the captain insists on moving forward with the investigation: “We’re not giving up. … There has got to be a way to stop him.” Continue reading “Forcing Tradition”

Identity in Law and in Practice: An Interview with Simon Tam of The Slants (Part 1)

theslantslogoLast week the Edge posted a brief piece on the case of the Portland-based rock band The Slants, and their effort to register their band’s name, and thus brand, in the US.

And then we got a comment — it turned out to be from the band’s bass player and founder:

blogcommentOver the next couple of days this led to a series of tweets and emails and resulted in the following questions, posed by us here at Culture on the Edge, to Simon, concerning identity and the band’s ongoing efforts to register a name that, at least according to the US government, is inappropriate because it can be read as a racial slur.

The issues are so central to what we, here at Culture on the Edge, have been discussing that we’re really quite pleased to post this two-part exchange. (Read part 2 here.) Continue reading “Identity in Law and in Practice: An Interview with Simon Tam of The Slants (Part 1)”

Not Just Anything Goes

oklahomaAre you following what’s now unfolding in the US state of Oklahoma? No? As just reported in The Huffington Post:

Picture 2For scholars of religion this is just too rich an example not to grab hold of and ride as far as it will take us. Continue reading “Not Just Anything Goes”