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

Michael E. Ross
Image: Michael E. Ross

Michael E. Ross writes frequently on the arts, race matters, politics and American culture. He has worked as a reporter, critic and editor at various news organizations, including The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News and msnbc.com. He blogs on politics and media at Short Sharp Shock. American Bandwidth, a book of essays and blog posts spanning the 2004 presidential election and the dawn of the Obama administration, was published by Authorhouse in October 2009.


Features

Monday, May 31 2010

'Easy Rider': Dennis Hopper Explains America

Anticipating everything from the Kent State killings to the Branch Davidian siege, Easy Rider distills just how deeply freedom and authority are fundamentally antagonists in America. Sadly, especially in America.


Tuesday, December 1 2009

Reinventing Don Imus: Anatomy of an Excuse

Imus traffics in the tropes of hip-hop and black culture in general on an occasional, selective basis -- a cafeteria approach to cultural exploration as obvious as it is insincere.


Wednesday, April 23 2008

Comfortably Numb: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd

Like any sound biographer, Blake is the fly on the wall — but one careful not to breathe the smoke in the air. What could have been Pink Floyd hagiography has the weight and distance of clear-headed scholarship, charitable but candid.


Wednesday, May 9 2007

Electric Litigationland

The lucrative marketing of Jimi Hendrix's image has spawned a series of lawsuits and possibly a reality show.


Thursday, February 1 2007

Cavemen R Us

GEICO's recent ad campaign offers yet another example of the ongoing search for cultural groups we can mock in public.


Columns

Monday, February 14 2011

Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America

While Disintegration contains its share of frank, bracing, straight talk that dispels long-held notions about black Americans, one of Eugene Robinson’s underlying assumptions — that America persists in seeing black people as an experiential monolith — is not the defining absolute it used to be.


Tuesday, November 23 2010

'Life': Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stone

Because Keith Richards lived the book he’s written, he’s written a book that lives on.


Thursday, August 26 2010

'The Men Who Would Be King' Reveals the Stuff That DreamWorks Was Undone By

With energy and a candor reflecting a veteran journalist unworried whether she'll eat lunch in that town again or not, author Nicole LaPorte reveals the parallels between the DreamWorks story and that of any dream's road to either reality or perdition.


Monday, March 15 2010

Last Words by George Carlin with Tony Hendra

Part raucous credo, part comic pilgrim’s progress, this is George Carlin’s celebration of his own human condition and how he became not just a comedian, but a conscience.


Reviews

Tuesday, May 24 2011

Mr. Sanders' Blows to Washington in 'The Speech'

Sen. Bernie Sanders — the longest-serving Independent member in Congress — speaks as someone liberated from reflexive salutes to either the Democratic or Republican parties. His status as an Independent thinker is clear in his willingness to go upside the heads of Democrats and Republicans alike.


Monday, April 18 2011

Days and Nights in the Life of the Beatles Captured in 'The Lost Beatles Photographs'

The Lost Beatles Photographs documents the sunrise of four protean talents we can’t quite let go of yet, from an era whose innocence was as short-lived as it was unlikely to happen in the first place.


Monday, July 19 2010

Up From Obscurity: 'Black Los Angeles American Dreams and Racial Realities'

A less celebrated Los Angeles comes to light in these essays, a place of people thought to be walk-on players in city history, people whose DNA in the region -- socially, culturally and literally -- indicates a full starring role.


Tuesday, May 25 2010

R&B’s Paterfamilias Johnny Otis: ‘Black by Persuasion’

Not long after Pete Seeger galvanized American progressives with folk music, and years before Bob Dylan brought social issues to the forefront of rock music, Johnny Otis was a "drum major for justice".


Thursday, February 25 2010

Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln by John Stauffer

In John Stauffer's capable hands, the tug-of-war between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass is a study in the evolution of both a friendship and a political world view.


Blogs

Wednesday, October 6 2010

"Like a Rolling Stone" Revisited

“Like a Rolling Stone” perfectly embodies the heads-is-tails uncertainty of modern life, now and in long-ago 1965. More than just lyrically articulating the rock and roll mindset of liberation and risk, it contains the multitudes, distilling the collective experience of millions of lives caught, then and now, in the crossfire hurricane of modern life.


Monday, September 28 2009

Michael Jackson, King of Pain


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