If the members of the Nobel Academy felt slighted when Jean-Paul Sartre rejected their prize 50 years ago, they didn’t show it. The Academy set out the dinner plates and made their speeches anyway — without the philosopher. The 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature, announced Anders Österling — longtime member of the Swedish Academy, and a writer himself — was being given to “the French writer Jean-Paul Sartre for his work which, rich in ideas and filled with the spirit of freedom and the quest for truth, has exerted a far-reaching influence on our age.” 

Stefany Anne Golberg is a writer and multi-media artist. She has written for The Washington Post (Outlook), Lapham’s Quarterly, New England Review, and others. Stefany is currently a columnist for The Smart Set and Critic-in-Residence at Drexel University. A book of Stefany’s selected essays can… More…

The day K. came in and said, “I don’t care anymore,” was a revelation. By then, the communal living space/art collective housing 17 artists and hangers-on that was my home had been battling bedbugs for three months. Only four of the 17 rooms (mine not included) were actually infested, but communal living as it is, we all had to share in the initial bedbug cleansing procedures familiar to anyone who has had or read about bedbugs — the thorough packing all personal items in plastic, the taping of holes and cracks in walls and furniture, the wrapping of each bed in a plastic sack not unlike those used to wrap corpses at homicide scenes. We tried not to let hysteria get the best of us as we emptied our rooms of every doodad, every picture, and watched the mountain of 17 people’s-worth of belongings mushroom in the gallery space. We… More…

Last month, anthropologist Helen Fisher opened a speech at the Economic Summit in Davos with, “I am definitely not a feminist.” The irony of the situation was lost on her apparently. The word “feminist” has become almost meaningless. Some people will twist themselves into knots trying to avoid the label, and others will wield it to justify all sorts of personal behavior. In Lisa Belkin’s infamous New York Times Magazine profile “The Opt-Out Revolution,” about well-educated women who decided to stay home to raise children, a woman named Jeannie Tarkenton has this to say about feminism: “Women today, if we think about feminism at all, we see it as a battle fought for ‘the choice.’ For us, the freedom to choose work if we want to work is the feminist strain in our lives.”

First-wave feminists threw bombs and died on hunger strikes to get the vote. Today’s… More…