The odd couple of cultural criticism, Thomas Frank and Laura Kipnis would seem to have little in common except local ties and an affection for hyperbole. Frank, the founding editor of the Woodlawn-based Baffler, moved to Washington, D.C., last year. His new book, What’s the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (out this month from Metropolitan), is a raucous personal journey into the politics of his home state that unpacks how its once Democratic citizenry has been sucker punched by the family-values populism of the Republican Party. Kipnis, who teaches at Northwestern’s School of Communication, issued a blistering attack on the institution of monogamy with her 2003 treatise Against Love: A Polemic (Pantheon), in which she lobbies ferociously and wittily on behalf of the liberatory power of skanking around. The two firebrands share the stage today for a discussion moderated by writer Brian Bouldrey called “Challenging Conventional Wisdom: Sex and Politics.” Saturday, June 5, 1:30 PM, Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, 312-222-3986. (Frank appears solo later this month also at the Harold Washington Library, though he may have some special guests to be announced.)

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lloyd H. Frank.