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The Unspeakable Podcast

Feb 7, 2022

Cultural critic Laura Kipnis is revered, even beloved, for her bold, counterintuitive observations about aesthetics in art, sexual politics, moral ambiguity, and the complexities of human relationships. Her 2003 book Against Love: A Polemic explored the hypocrisies and reductive logic behind the monogamy industrial complex. Her latest book, Love In The Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis, is a follow up of sorts to Against Love. Born out of the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic and Laura's lockdown experience with her longtime boyfriend, the book examines how the cracks in interpersonal relationships can mirror the breakdown of political systems, economies, cultural life and public trust. In this conversation, Laura talks with Meghan about what she learned from interviewing dozens of people who were locked down with their romantic partners—or in some cases their soon to be ex-partners—during the first year of the pandemic. They also talk about the evolving  legacy of the #MeToo movement, the impact of online pornography, the role of alcohol in life and in love, and “BDE” or so-called Big Dick Energy. Laura also reflects on the aftermath of the events described in her previous book, Unwanted Advances, which chronicled a journey through the campus court system after students at her university filed Title Nine charges against her for publishing an article that they claimed created a “hostile environment.”
Guest Bio:
Laura Kipnis is a cultural critic and the author of seven books, including Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus; Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation; How to Become A Scandal; Against Love: A Polemic; The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability; and Bound and Gagged: Pornography and the Politics of Fantasy in America. Her latest book, Love in the Time of Contagion: A Diagnosis, is out February, 8 2022 from Pantheon.