Sightings Articles

Something Rotten in the State of Denmark

The recent decision by the Danish parliament to ban the burka and niqab was not as severe as its most vocal proponents desired. Prison time will not be a mandatory punishment, for instance. Nor is the law as wide-ranging as many Danes, including thos...

June 14, 2018


Puerto Rican Artists Shine Light on American Carnage

For two years Puerto Rico was illuminated from within. A curious work of art, located deep inside a limestone cave, deserved to be considered “religious” for multiple reasons. Reframing a remote rock formation rich with traces of indigenous history a...

May 10, 2018

anxiety | conspiracy theories | epistemology | fake news | knowledge | Media | Pizzagate

"We Don't Have Enough Proof": Pizzagate as Epistemological Panic

A man with a rifle enters a pizza place, not for the purposes of mass murder or terrorism but on a quest for epistemological certainty. Twenty-eight-year-old Edgar Maddison Welch had heard a theory, and he wanted to know if it was true. He had encoun...

December 15, 2016

washitaw; alpha males; police shootings; Gavin Long

"I'm the One": Masculinity in the Philosophy of the Baton Rouge Shooter

Self-help guru Cosmo Ausar Setepenra, born Gavin Long, peddled a personal philosophy called “Alpha Preneurism” for years before he killed three Baton Rouge police officers on Sunday.  A “mental game coach” and “freedom strategist,” Long’s wor...

July 21, 2016

Religion, Democracy and the Censorship of “Fire in My Belly” — Spencer Dew

David Wojnarowicz—who once, to protest President Reagan’s silence on the AIDS crisis, sewed his lips together—is again in the news, this time posthumously, with his eloquent 1987 video of mourning, love, and survival, “Fire in My Belly.” The film has...

December 23, 2010

Sovereign Citizenship, Religion, and Law: The Case of Moorish Science by Spencer Dew

Over the past few weeks, a strange crime played out in Hampton, Virginia, as men unloaded trucks of furniture and belongings into an empty house still up for sale.  The squatters eventually changed the locks, and took out a newspaper ad and posted fl...

July 29, 2010

Is the Devil a Black Man? by Spencer Dew

In what has now become a much-circulated clip, Pat Robertson makes sense of the catastrophic Haitian earthquake as the latest in a string of curses delivered by God to Haiti’s people.  Robertson’s interpretation of this catastrophe, whether we find i...

January 21, 2010

Radical Freedom in the Kingdom of Sweets — Spencer Dew

Each December we find ourselves “one Nutcracker nearer to death,” as Richard Buckle observed.  This fairytale ballet, with its pantomime, its ballroom dancing, and its Orientalist divertissements tacked onto a story about a dream voyage to a benign m...

December 17, 2009

On Muslims and Miniature Horses — Spencer Dew

Last week’s Sightings explored religion’s horrific side, discussing a Supreme Court case regarding the constitutionality of videos showing animal deaths. The content of the videos under judgment ranges from demonstrations of hogs being killed by dogs...

October 22, 2009