As a magazine at the intersection of the psychological and the political, Room has published a number of articles that aim to explore the cultural divides in the US and beyond. In this vein, Jacob Smith has written a piece about being an Evangelical Christian in 2019, who cares deeply about humanitarian as well as spiritual issues.
As we approach another long election cycle in the United States, news outlets will be reporting on the political trends of evangelicals. It is often reported that 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016, and they continue to remain faithful to him almost three years into the completion of his first term in office.
The 9/11 terrorist attack punctured America’s innocence, inflicting massive trauma on people across the country. Almost without delay, psychoanalysts felt compelled to shed their mantle of neutrality to better assist survivors, first responders, and those who were vicariously affected by the tragedy.
From my very first contact with psychoanalysis, a fascination in the theory and practice took hold of me. But becoming a psychoanalyst was a bit unimaginable. How would a lower-middle-class Palestinian immigrant navigate such a life goal? How could I possibly pay for years of analysis and navigate an environment I perceived as potentially hostile to me? I really did not know, but the calling did not subside.
In addition to the political controversies that they ignite, the contents of presidential tweets are subject to diverse statistical analyses as evidenced by postings on the internet.
Two years ago, an article in the New York Times1 about Donald Trump’s “friends” made me want to collect the little we know about such friendships, some or all of which may apply to Trump himself.
In mythology, in fairy tales, and in psychoanalysis, losing one’s sight often indicates that a disaster has occurred, an event so unbearable that it is no longer possible to look at it. Yet in the ongoing scourge that is the Trump administration, Trump cannot bear that we look away from the disaster.
In a recent interview1, Adam Phillips ventured the hypothesis that psychoanalysis was invented to address the problem of misogyny. This was a bold and unusual statement, and though we’ve long been initiated into Phillips’s refreshing, even scandalous, takes on often otherwise mundane or familiar assumptions, this seemed, at least to me, an astonishing statement, striking not because it was outlandish, but because it was utterly, perceptively true.
I am writing in the spirit of #MeToo to bear witness to damage that has been done to a subset of women I have known personally in my thirty years of practice as a psychoanalyst, who felt pressured by the value placed on sexuality in the cultural milieu of the 1960s and, 70s and in the psychoanalytic circles they came to for help. I am also writing because I think these women’s stories offer a window into ways the mid-to-late-twentieth-century sexual revolution was experienced differently in various parts of the United States. This inquiry is part of a larger project, where I have been exploring ways to bridge cultural divides that block collaboration on a humanitarian political agenda.
I’m taken aback when Gloria Steinem, the “face of feminism,” announces on the Today show that she’s had “a little fat removed from above my eyes so I didn’t look like Mao Zedong.” Steinem is referring to the puffy-faced Chinese revolutionary who died in 1976, around the time when her model-thin figure was featured on a Manhattan billboard, erected by antagonists intent on reducing Steinem to her body.