About

As an historian, I write about sexual politics, the law, gender, culture, and heterornormativity, particularly through the lens of obscenity and pornography. My first book, Perversion for Profit: The Politics of Pornography and the Rise of the New Right, came out from Columbia University Press a few years ago. My second, Obscenity Rules: Roth v. United States and the Long Struggle over Sexual Expression, arrived in September 2013 from the University Press of Kansas. I am mostly too lazy to blog rigorously about matters academic; cinematic depictions of Newark seem to be where things here tend, but I try to keep it updated in regard to more formal things I’ve written or occasionally cool archival documents I find.

Titling one’s blog after oneself is surely the height of pomposity, unless one’s profile in the world can bear such weight. And no Jack Balkin or Eugene Volokh am I. But what I have that those esteemed professors lack is simple: a name that ends with a B. Resistance is futile when it rolls off the tongue so smoothly. So strublog it is. Also, I didn’t have any better ideas when push came to shoving the enter key.

On my slightly cheesy Amazon profile, I claim to spend a lot of time taking pictures of my cats. It is a true claim, I assure you, but I’ll try not to get carried away with it here. They are pretty cute though, let the record show:

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Drop a line: wstrub at gmail dot com

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Recent Posts

The Yaku and the Undefeated (2017)

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The monk is in town to avenge his brother, though because he’s taken a vow not to kill, he brings a team of assassins along. Only a young couple can stop them, though it’ll involve interrupting their reunion date, which begins with a roll in the hay and a strange discussion of the restorative powers of, uh, “male proteins.” Such is the setup of Vaughn Christion’s The Yaku and the Undefeated, which would sound convoluted were I to fully explicate the circumstances of revenge and defense at play but which unfolds in a nicely streamlined manner from one fight scene to the next, as some seeming moral ambiguities are headthwacked into clarity, villains are dispatched, and a restaurant reservation may or may not be broken.

Vaughn Christion is Newark’s longest-working filmmaker, and I’ve written at length about him before, so I won’t rehash except to say Yaku carries the torch he’s long held, blending pulp action-thriller and martial arts like a 70s grindhouse double feature condensed into a single film. I mean that as praise, of course—it’s possible that some folks attending other screenings at the Newark International Film Festival, where this proudly premiered today at Newark’s Cityplex, might have more highbrow tastes, but let ‘em have their Merchant-Ivory knockoffs or global middlebrow whatevers; this is good cheesy fun, without a hint of ironic distance, and I salute everything about that. Continue reading

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