Contact: Caitlin Graf, The Nation, press [at] thenation.com, 212-209-5400
New York, NY—November 3, 2015—The Nation, America’s oldest weekly magazine of politics and culture, today launched its first-ever advice column, “Asking for a Friend,” by columnist and contributing editor Liza Featherstone (@lfeatherz). The monthly feature will tackle the most prickly predicaments and fraught ethical conundrums confronting leftists in a mean, monied world. Featherstone is based in New York City.
Since opening a call for questions last month, micro- and macro- queries have poured in. Concerns ranged from health to wealth and roommates to relationships: Should you call an Uber or hail a cab? Can you date that extremely good-looking man who’s voting to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain? Are you a neighborhood gentrifier?
“I am here to provide rigorously reported, intelligent, and humane advice,” explains Featherstone. “A longtime journalist and columnist—not to mention a mother, Facebook addict, and Family Dollar shopper—I too grapple with the day-to-day struggles of living ethically under capitalism. I’ve been offering unpaid advice for decades and could not be more delighted to offer my skills to Nation readers.”
With her signature snark and wit, Featherstone’s inaugural column, “Asking for a Friend: Is It Me or Is It Capitalism?”, answers readers’ questions about depression and the ethics of cleaning apps.
Reader “Depressed or Oppressed” wants to know whether their depression is personal or political; Featherstone talks to a psychotherapist and a Marxist psychoanalyst to respond. Some therapists think that our inner lives are impacted by our social and political worlds, and research suggests that political participation boosts psychological well-being. “It can even help offset some of the mental-health risks of being part of an oppressed group,” she concludes; “probably because, following Dr. Fraad, we (women, the poor, people of color, and the working class) have even more things to be angry about.”
Featherstone next answers a distraught query from “Resident, Pigpen or Sweatshops” about the ethics of using Handy.com, a cheap and known-exploitative start-up cleaning service. While Resident hoped to use a worker cooperative with good labor practices, Resident’s roommate thought they were too expensive. The long and checkered history of domestic workers’ rights, compounded by the rampant abuses of the sharing economy, renders Handy an unscrupulous choice.
Featherstone’s work has appeared in the New York Times, Ms., and Rolling Stone, among many other outlets. She is the co-author of Students Against Sweatshops: The Making of a Movement (Verso, 2002) and author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker’s Rights at Wal-Mart (Basic, 2004).
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Founded in 1865, The Nation is America’s oldest weekly magazine, serving as a critical, independent voice in American journalism and a platform for investigative reporting and spirited debate on issues of import to the progressive community. Through changing times and fashions, The Nation and TheNation.com offer consistently informed and inspired reporting and analysis of breaking news, politics, social issues and the arts—never faltering in our editorial commitment to what Nation Publisher Emeritus Victor Navasky has called “a dissenting, independent, trouble-making, idea-launching journal of critical opinion.”