Courtney Martin

Courtney E. Martin is a Prospect senior correspondent. She is the author of Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists (Beacon Press). You can read more about her work at

Recent Articles

Wising Up on Marriage

Declining marriage rates among millennials just mean they take it more seriously.

According to the Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey, there are 104 million unmarried Americans -- nearly half of the adult population. A 2010 Pew Research survey found that 52 percent of millennials say being a good parent is "one of the most important things" in life, but just 30 percent say the same about having a successful marriage. Interestingly, this corresponds to a drop in the divorce rate: In 2005, there were 16.7 divorces per 1,000 couples compared with 22.8 in 1979. It turns out that the youngest adults in America, while not abandoning marriage altogether, are certainly committed to transforming it. As a generation already in debt, we're savvy about the pernicious and predatory ways of the wedding industry -- overhyping one big event to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars. We've weathered the divorces of family and witnessed friends try marriage on for size and find it ill-fitting (called "the starter marriage" by Pamela Paul). We've had serious, long-...

Opposite Ideas Attract

Professionals in all fields can learn a lot by reaching out to those in other disciplines.

(Flickr/Billy Brown, ccstbp's photostream)
Opposites attract. That's not just true of love, it turns out, but also good ideas. John Cary was trained as an architect. In school, he and his friends obsessed over their latest projects in the studio, late into the night. They talked about materials and concepts but never worried much about the people that would potentially live or work in the structures they were laboring over. Turns out, architects generally try to avoid speaking to their clients but frequently speak for their clients. This is reinforced in the way that architecture is described in the press, in the way that award programs and design competitions are juried. Clients are all but invisible. Their stories are nowhere to be found. Before John met me, he thought storytelling was for kids. John actually had an architect once tell him that he had over 100 clients and he could talk more informatively about the impact of design than all 100 of those combined. John respected him, but he had a hunch that there was something...

Facing Sexual Assault

The case on sexual assaults in the military highlights how most assaults happen in the real world.

Panayiota Bertzikis, 29, is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against Pentagon officials, seeking change in the military's handling of rape and sexual assault cases. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
On Tuesday of last week, two stories broke. One you've undoubtedly heard about: Lara Logan, a chief foreign correspondent for CBS , was sexually assaulted by a mob while covering the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak for 60 Minutes in Tahrir Square. Glenn Beck pretended as if the news were proof of his various Egyptian conspiracy theories, journalist Nir Rosen seized the moment to write offensive (and clearly jealous) tweets about Logan, eventually leading to his resignation as a New York University fellow, and conservative pundit Debbie Schlussel saw an opportunity in Logan's misfortune to spew Islamaphobia. A veteran female journalist even sent around photographs of what she used to wear when she reported in Islamic countries to a listserv that I'm on, suggesting not so subtly that Logan asked for it because she's pretty and didn't cover that up adequately. The other story didn't make as much of an impression. A federal lawsuit was filed accusing the Department of...

The Off-Camera Revolutions

While all eyes turn to Egypt, women lead quiet revolutions around the world.

Women dancing outside a school in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Flickr/Mulungwishi mission station, D.R. Congo photostream)
It's a moment for revolutions. Some are loud and measured in the millions. Some are tearing down dying regimes. Some are quieter, characterized by the slow but steady building of a new paradigm. A Congolese woman in an orange Day-Glo vest perches on a ladder and adds a brick to the growing wall -- that's a picture, one you haven't seen, of a less publicized revolution. V-Day, playwright Eve Ensler's global movement to end violence against women and girls, has created a new model in development: the City of Joy. Last Friday, the city -- located in Bukavu, a provincial capital in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- officially opened its doors as a place where Congolese survivors of sexual violence can heal from the past and look to the future -- personally and politically. Thanks to V-Day, UNICEF, and their local partners, every year,180 women will have the opportunity to receive therapy and training in technology and media skills, allowing them to come to grips with their stories and...

Discomfort in an Age of Demagoguery

We are hungry to be a part of a community where the dire challenges we face and the resilience of the American union are both acknowledged.

People wave at the ambulance carrying U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Mamta Popat)
You know you're in Santa Fe when Sunday morning services take place in a travel store. Which is where I found myself over the holidays, surrounded by white-haired seniors of the far-left variety and travel guides on floor-to-ceiling shelves. The lecturer for the morning was Craig Barnes , author of Democracy at the Crossroads and a local public-radio host. A frequent lecturer on political issues in the Santa Fe area, he sat astride a stool and asked the fleece-clothed mystics gathered: "What would be a wise course in an age of demagoguery?" My mind flashed on the evidence of the demagoguery all around us these days. House Republicans just took a big, blunt instrument to so-called Obamacare last Wednesday -- which would insure 32 million Americans -- by voting to repeal. Many of them celebrated with the same kind of empty rhetoric that was so common in their campaign speeches during the midterm elections -- that troubling new brand of Palinese so typical among GOP leaders these days...