Sex, Lies, and Politics: TPM’s Hottest Takes Of 2014

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In 2014, TPM’s readers loved takes on everything from sexism on Fox News and rape in New Orleans, to illegal immigration and being the daughter of Cuban exiles, to interracial couples and black people (not) camping. We published open letters, tackled American myths, illuminated political flareups, and more.

Below are the best pieces at TPMCafe—and a few from our new features section—in 2014:


10. WHICH KINDS OF INTERRACIAL COUPLES SPARK OUTRAGE?

By Nichole Perkins

“Many brands over the last several years have had ads that feature black women with white men, and yet they didn’t cause anywhere near the level of controversy as the Cheerios ads. Why does seeing a black man with a white woman stir up a hornet’s nest of racism, but not the reverse?” Read more

9. HOW THE CLIVEN BUNDY SAGA EXPOSES AMERICA’S MOST ENDURING MYTH

By Jonathan Earle

“When the anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy stepped before the cameras to ‘tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,’ he also stepped into far-reaching and noxious American historical myths about self-sufficiency, race, and rugged individualism.” Read more

8. WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY

By Brian Murphy

“It is utterly irrelevant if Chris Christie ‘wins the day’ or the weekend or the next 5 minutes or the next week. Irrelevant. The bottom line is that he is in serious trouble, politically and legally.” Read more

7. WHY IS CAMPING A WHITE THING? A FEW WILD THEORIES

By Brandon Harris

“Watching Wild, I wondered why stories of blacks finding authenticity or solace in the wilderness were so rare. I’ve been an African-American for 31 years now, and among the things I’ve learned is the simple fact that camping and blackness seem mutually exclusive.”
Read more

6. WHY I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR VACATION TO CUBA

By Miriam Zoila Pérez

“My progressive politics tell me that U.S. policy toward Cuba has made little sense…But my roots, the stories that bathed my ears growing up spending summers with my abuelo and abuela in their house in South Miami, also say there is a lot of pain, loss and injustice in that story, however ill-addressed it is by this particular foreign policy.” Read more

5. THE ‘RELIGIOUS LIBERTY’ CAMPAIGN MAY BE BACKFIRING FOR CONSERVATIVES

By Ed Kilgore

“An argument that once distracted from the extremist nature of conservative Christian objections to gay rights and reproductive rights is drawing attention to them in a dangerous way.” Read more

4. NO, YOUR ANCESTORS DIDN’T COME HERE LEGALLY

By Ben Railton

“I guarantee you’ll hear the phrase “My ancestors came here legally” in the aftermath of President Obama’s immigration address…It helps deflect charges of hypocrisy (since most Americans are descended from immigrants). It’s hard to argue with. And it’s also, in nearly every case, entirely inaccurate.” Read more

3. HOW A WOMAN’S RAPE AT A GAY NUDE BAR SPARKED A BATTLE OVER NEW ORLEANS’ LIBERTINE SOUL

By Kat Stoeffel

“The sexual assault case and its aftermath brings a national conversation about “rape culture”—the notion that women invite unwanted sex if they drink or dress provocatively—to the Bywater’s doorstep…[It forces] the question: Can you make a city safe and keep it weird?” Read more

2. AN OB/GYN’S OPEN LETTER TO GEORGE WILL ABOUT HIS RAPE COLUMN

By Jen Gunter

“When a man who is much stronger than you holds you down (Hey baby don’t fight, you know you want it) and forces your legs open the violence and power of those movements is horrifically violating and utterly disempowering. You think you screamed NO! at the top of your lungs but you were so scared and so shocked that when you went from yelling no! to pleading no to silently weeping no is hard to remember.” Read more

1. AN OPEN LETTER TO FOX NEWS ABOUT ‘BOOBS ON THE GROUND’

By Men and Women of the Truman Project

“As it turns out, women have been flying combat aircraft since before either of you were born.” Read more

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nona Willis Aronowitz is the editor of TPM’s The Slice and TPMCafe. Previously, she was an education and poverty reporter at NBC News Digital, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, and an associate editor at GOOD magazine. She’s written for The Atlantic, Washington Post, NYMag.com, The Nation, The American Prospect, Tablet, and Rookie, among others.

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