The deployment of smear tactics and sex-centered propaganda in the run-up to the November election has helped eclipse some of the issues that genuinely deserve primacy on the public agenda. Speculation over Sarah Palin's ability to govern a region more populous than Alaska (not to mention concern over her shaky knowledge of the Jurassic period) has momentarily crowded out issues like immigration rights and border control . . .
When Richard Sennett published his provocative thesis on the diminishing boundaries between public and private selves in the late '70s, things like reality TV and the Patriot Act were unheard of. Today they're incontrovertible facts that have further breached this boundary.