Thank you for consenting to read our publication. We hope you enjoy this, our third issue; if you do, we advise you look for our longer-form theoretical work, _Hetero Doxy: Towards A Comprehensive Sexual Ethic_ (Zone Books, Fall 2010). Inside you’ll still find the same depth and range you’ve come to expect, from names new and old. There’s a thoughtful debut by Greer Hanshaw on this year’s daring performance of _The Vagina Monologues_, and a hilarious dual act by Spencer Gaffney and Matt Karasz on illegal igloos; our familiar stars take their turns, of course, and you can look to Nick Cox for the first word on Yeasayer, Thúy-Lan Võ Lite for the last on Alexander McQueen, and Felipe Cabrera for the definitive one on “Failed Love.” And, finally, there’s the new institution of Dan Abromowitz on The Movies, Today.
Until the publication of our masterwork—which Žižek, when shown a galley, called “the realest real since the really real”—readers looking for a clear theoretical framework in support of our cover may be disappointed. That the _Nassau Weekly_ has once again impoverished the discourse with insufficient defense is about as surprising as—well, come to think of it, the most recent iteration of the annual countercultural Valentine’s Day campaign by the Anscombe Society did surprise. All four of the posters, each more beautiful than the last, may be viewed on Anscombe’s blog [\(link\)](http://blogs.princeton.edu/anscombe/2010/02/valentines-day-poster-campaign.html) for anyone who missed them; for the opening salvo, there’s Brenda Jin at Equal Writes [\(link\)](http://equalwrites.org/2010/02/13/race-virginity-anscombe-femininity-and-valentines-day/).
We’ll be the first to admit that, as the case must be with any polemic, our cover is unfair. The Anscombe Society is a laudably diverse organization, in race and gender. Whether the selection of eight white individuals for their most recent campaign was the product of unconscious bias on the part of Anscombe or the Student Design Agency remains unclear—and, in any case, guilt likely lies with neither, as the most proximate cause is obviously the strictures on what sort of subject was fit to be photographed in the retro go-go 1960s. (Trust us, we took a spin through Life’s archive on Google [\(link\)](http://www.images.google.com/hosted/life) to find our photos. There were conscience photos of segregation, and then there were life studies of, you know, white folks with lives to lead.)
That said, we hope our snark isn’t so wildly off the mark. (Take this letter, by turns self-aggrandizing and defensive, as evidence of our fear of the contrary.) We intended more by it than to dock points from Anscombe in the game that, played to the last round, placed a veiled disabled Muslim girl on every eighth page of my eighth-grade French textbook. It’s an article of our secularist faith that, in true and comprehensive fact, the diversity of Anscombe and the accident of their monocultural campaign do nothing to alleviate the—to borrow some language from the natural lawyers—intrinsic and self-evident immorality of the—to borrow some words from our own theoretical framers—cultural and biopolitical hegemony such a ‘retro’ campaign seeks to re-install. We believe in overdetermination, and if any campaign was overdetermined to turn out an exclusivist aesthetic nostalgic for prejudice and segregated sexual relations, it’s (even the most laudably positive example of) one in favor of abstinence.
Point is: _pace_ Shivani V. Radhakrishnan, in her post explaining the posters on Anscombe’s blog, “the shared values of love and romance that seem timeless” aren’t, and can’t be. The ‘timeless’ is, too often, the untimely— and any community capable of “shared values” across “different time periods and generations” is only so capable because it, or at least its imaginary corollary, has been populated by a single unbroken lineage. (Anscombe’s 1960s weren’t Paul McCartney’s, even if they quote him.) That such a community should appear white—even when, to Anscombe’s weird credit, _it_ is not—is to be expected when the values to be shared, and the community that shares them, are, you know, ‘retro.’ And the same goes for a sexual ethic that exchanges female technological control for . . . the record speaks for itself.
We stand with Brandon McGinley in opposition to the instrumentalization of sexuality; where we differ, as we hope our cover made clear, is our belief that a valorization of reproductive sex is, in fact, the _truest_ instrumentalization. Instruments produce something; hence our reduction of chastity to offspring. And as for ‘precious’: the demographic results are in from southern Europe (where conservative sexual mores, combined with the economically necessary liberation of women, have turned out birthrates below the replacement level) and sub-Saharan Africa (where conservative sexual mores, combined with the economically imposed subjugation of women, have turned out birthrates above the sustainable level); either case presents a compelling argument against the moral traditionalist view, and a backdrop against which its nostalgia appears to hold dear an ethic that is literally too dear. (We’re beyond comprehensive sexual ethics, Brandon—we’ve got facts now!) As aesthetically innovative and laudably positive as the message was, Anscombe’s latest campaign only confirms that conservatism looks to preserve an impossible and distant order.