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The Essential Ellen Willis$
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Ellen Willis and Nona Willis Aronowitz

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816681204

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.391) Introduction
Source:
The Essential Ellen Willis
Author(s):

Spencer Ackerman

Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816681204.003.0045

This section contains chapters written in the early twenty-first century. In one chapter Willis confronts the “mantra” that desiring peace is an amulet against a predatory world—a powerful rejection of the post-9/11 fetish for first principles; another provokes the left to examine its rage at Israel. In the wake of 9/11, the text observes that psychopathology drives Islamic fundamentalism, and that anyone motivated to kill for a promise of penetrating virgins in heaven has taken sexual repression to its logical conclusion. In addition, the text embraces the “political stand” that critic Susan Sontag demanded from intellectuals while remaining cognizant of its limits; offers a reading of Thomas Frank’s book What’s the Matter with Kansas?; considers the utopian dimension of politics and Russell Jacoby’s views on utopianism; and criticizes the cosmopolitan writers who hoped something beneficial might come out of 9/11.

Keywords:   peace, Ellen Willis, Israel, 9/11, Islamic fundamentalism, Susan Sontag, Thomas Frank, What’s the Matter with Kansas, Russell Jacoby, utopianism

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