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Saving Face The Family

The Janus Face

The time between Christmas and New Year is in many countries formally sanctioned ‘downtime’, comprised of several days spent recovering from festive excess. Countries that celebrate Christmas tend to class this period as automatic/grace annual leave for many employees, during which movies get watched, social visits get completed, and really, not much else. Nothing much […]

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The Family

Here Be Demons

The notion of demonic possession has a long history, going back at least as far as the New Testament. The gospels of Mark and Matthew for example took seriously the existence of demons that impose physical and emotional trauma on people they possess. The casting out of these demons was crucial to Christianity (and to some […]

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The Family

Women and Their Mothers

Jeanette Winterson’s upcoming biography (a great read by all accounts) is the latest in a long line of memoirs that put centre stage the relationship between author and mother. The content of Why be happy when you could be normal? occupies a similar emotional context to that portrayed in Nancy Friday’s classic My mother my […]

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Politics The Family

The Worst Betrayal

In politics, personality does matter, but not for the usual reasons described. Many believe personality politics is the style to policy’s substance, a minor but necessary sideshow in the realpolitiking of modern governance. But this assumption neglects to take seriously the public’s concern over personality; i.e., with the substance of the person who wishes to lead […]

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The Family

The Conditions of Love

The notion of unconditional love has come to signify the ideal form of parent-child bond, to such an extent that too often the real form (in many cases), conditional love, gets ignored. The fact that conditional love tends to be shunted back into the emotional closet reflects a cultural need to avoid reality, especially when […]

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The Family

Absence as a presence that attacks

Caring about what other people think of you is seemingly there from the beginning. In an article entitled “The language of absence”, Hayuta Guverick describes a film on infant development, in which early signs of dependence between self and other are starkly illustrated:   “One scene in particular left a powerful impression on me. A […]