Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Politics and Culture/East and West

Thursday, May 31 2007

Boris, We Hardly Knew Ye

With the former Russian president's passing, Thompson recounts his visits to Yeltsin's Russia, and recalls what his Russian friends thought of Boris Yeltsin.


Wednesday, March 21 2007

The Post-Putin Era: Russian Revolution or Russian Evolution?

The world’s two most dominant forces will usher in new regimes in 2008. Thompson offers insights into the next Russian presidential election and its diverse cast of players.


Monday, December 4 2006

Run, Hillary! Run!

As the weakened state of the Republicans augurs well for a Democratic president in 2008, a veritable flood of candidates has joined Clinton as the race begins. She begins her run with name recognition and plenty of monetary backing, yet she is far from a shoo-in.


Monday, October 9 2006

Fascist, Fascist, Who’s A Fascist?

The term "fascism" is being appropriated, inappropriately, by a range of political interests in the US – including the Republican Party.


Monday, July 31 2006

Onward Young Pioneers!

As Communism's old guard is gradually relegated to the past, much of Eastern Europe is faced with a decidedly non-traditional youth movement. But are countries like Hungary and the Czech Republic ready for the political make-over?


Tuesday, May 30 2006

Postcard from Beijing

The Lovely Club and Mao's Tomb not only seem like two different Chinas from on another -- they seem to be on two different planets.


Wednesday, November 30 2005

Alito? No!

Is Judge Samuel Alito Jr. the right man for the Supreme Court? More right than you might believe.


Sunday, October 2 2005

Impeach George W. Bush

As Hurricane Katrina nearly blew New Orleans off the map, George W. Bush blew the chance to fulfill his presidential duties.


Wednesday, July 6 2005

Supreme Court Smackdown

Separation of Church and State in the US is a myth. As Sandra Day O'Connor steps down from her seat on the US Supreme Court, the country prepares for another Holy War.


Tuesday, May 31 2005

Tony Blair’s Tenuous Trifecta

Blair endured a grueling campaign that required him to actually face disgruntled voters -- quite unlike Bush's pre-screened, pre-set, flag waving constituency.


Wednesday, January 26 2005

The Dogs of Revolution

The people -- and the dogs -- of Romania now reside in a less threatening, more humane country.


Wednesday, December 8 2004

Sex, Lies and Videotape: the 2004 US Presidential Election

'Moral' Bush supporters unleashing their anti-gay bigotry; 'patriots' denigrating a veteran's wounds and combat service while supporting a draft dodger. With four more years of the Bush Administration to endure, we have to show these bullies that it is we, not they, who represent the best, compassionate impulses of American democracy.


Wednesday, October 20 2004

You Can’t Force the Vote

Newsweek's Anna Quindlen thinks fining non-voters in the US is a good idea. Thompson, his university students, and some friends who lived under communist dictatorships in Hungary and the Czech Republic, think otherwise.


Wednesday, August 25 2004

Still Standing: House of Terror

This Neo-Renaissance building located a pleasant stroll from the Danube River, was once an elegant mansion. During WWII it became known as 'The House of Loyalty', then 'The House of Horror', and now it has settled into a museum named 'The House of Terror'.


Wednesday, June 30 2004

Budapest Dreams

Destroyed during WWII and again in '56, during the anti-communist, Hungarian Revolution, it seems Budapest was always pulling itself from the rubble. This 'second city' to Prague is stronger, now, and wizened, but full of promise.


Wednesday, May 12 2004

Dear Europeans: I Am NOT George Bush!

Politics and Culture/East and West -- Dear Europeans: I Am NOT George Bush! -- At the Geneva Model UN committee session, Thompson and his students face the repercussions of a long-standing European wariness towards Americans; and the fact that the Bush Administration's policies have turned that wariness into open resentment.


Monday, March 1 2004

The Iowa Caucuses: American Democracy’s Naked Emperor

Politics and Culture/East and West -- The Iowa caucuses disenfranchise a person who, despite being politically active, would prefer to act -- that is 'vote'.


Wednesday, November 12 2003

The UN, George Bush, and You

Politics and Culture/East and West -- Americans feel very mean towards the UN, at the moment.


Tuesday, October 7 2003

Patriots, Terrorists, and Liberty’s Future

Politics and Culture/East and West -- Americans are torn between the conflicting demands of liberty and security.


Thursday, September 11 2003

Reading Lolita in Tehran, and in Baghdad, and in Hungary, and in New York

For whatever the hardships, people will read.


Wednesday, July 9 2003

Justice, Peace, and Memory—From East Europe to Iraq

Politics and Culture/East and West -- Justice, Peace, and Memory - From East Europe to Iraq -- This painfully constructed edifice of rights is honored more in the breach than in the observance.


Wednesday, May 14 2003

Seeing the War from Abroad

No one can sit in this conference and be unaware of the U.N's guiding principle: the need for peaceful settlement of global conflicts.


Thursday, December 26 2002

Pop Politicians

In my high school a constant 'battle' went on between the Kennedy emulators and the Elvis crowd. Our hair told the story: the bushy tousled look with a smart part vs. the wild, unruly pompadour.


Wednesday, October 30 2002

Prague Is Pop

Sure enough, before the soup arrives the band of young, shaggy musicians is working hard to blow the breadbaskets off the dinner tables.


Wednesday, October 9 2002

Cher Was No Gypsy

So those stories about gypsies were true: they were thieves and beggars, always ready to assault, possibly even kill, and quickly move on.


Wednesday, August 28 2002

Prague: A Dual Heritage of Beauty and Sacrifice

Prague shows the world that sacrifice is not futile, that evil can be fought and ultimately, defeated.


Wednesday, August 7 2002

Dracula’s Revenge

At a lunch with two members of the Romanian Senate the discussion moved from NATO admission to Dracula Park.


Wednesday, June 26 2002

Democratic Vistas: East and West (with apologies to Walt Whitman)

We were no longer in a country where this soldier's actions were constrained by democratic niceties. When he said get off the bus, we got off the bus.


Wednesday, June 5 2002

The Complexity of Memory: Warsaw 1940-1991

Auschwitz and Warsaw clashed with Jennin; the Battle of the Boyne was fought again; memory struggled with memory.


Wednesday, May 8 2002

Mother(s) for President(s)

That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute.


Wednesday, April 3 2002

Culture Clash at Ground Zero

The [Church of Christ the Redeemer] has been rebuilt — a meticulous copy of the original — and an example of reconstruction triumphing over destruction.


Friday, March 1 2002

Presidents, Pop Stars, and Czars

He should have rugged good looks, and perhaps some pop star charisma so that he can wow the crowds when he's out there making appearances and giving speeches 'on tour'.


Wednesday, February 6 2002

Reaching for the Real World War II—A Personal Journey

The newlyweds . . . came to the tomb as most Muscovite newly weds do, to pay homage . . . to honor those whose death had truly made this wedding day possible.


Wednesday, December 12 2001

Russia: White, Red and Green

I use Snickers to pay for taxi rides and to buy old Soviet medals from street vendors. People buy computer software from salespersons who tote up the price with an abacus.


Wednesday, October 24 2001

The Draculas’ Hometown

Who are we outsiders to say that Romania shouldn't fully exploit the Dracula story, both real and imagined?


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