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Wednesday, October 10 2012

Woe is Us: ‘What’s the Matter with White People?’

Salon editor Joan Walsh’s half-brilliant and half-confused memoir / manifesto posits that many white Americans have historically taken out their frustration over declining opportunities on minorities … and Democrats.


Tuesday, October 9 2012

Occupy Literature: New York from Melville to the Beats

Before Occupy Wall Street rattled the money merchants, Herman Melville and the Beats shook the city's foundation with gumption and glee.


Monday, October 1 2012

Waves of Grain: How World War II Created Our World

World War II changed the way we eat, live and work on such a fundamental scale that to those in the West it seems like there has never been anything other than the globalized world it created.


Wednesday, September 19 2012

Bounce and Go-Go: It’s Not Where You’re At, It’s Where You Are

So expressly "chocolate city", go-go is part art form, part entertainment, and part Washington, D.C. civic totem pole; heading south, bounce is a distinctly and defiantly New Orleansian spin on an established rap genre.


Tuesday, September 18 2012

Ethnographies of the Hipster: Miranda July’s ‘The Future’ and ‘It Chooses You’

It Chooses You provides a sketch of the deluxe hipster, one who hardly knows what to make of the poor, the underprivileged, the recently incarcerated, and others who are just plain weird, as opposed to quirky.


Thursday, September 13 2012

Daniel Clowes’ Cranky, Comical World

Some of Daniel Clowes’ exaggerated bitterness about his vocation comes from a willingness to see himself as just as ridiculous as the characters he gets paid to doodle. But he also harbors a deep disillusionment with art itself.


Sunday, September 9 2012

Endless Nights and Savage Angels: Henry James and Walt Whitman’s New York Cityscapes

New York is a symbol that claws its way into the core of stories. It's never just a set piece, never just a grid of architecture. It's a city of multitudes, madness, and muddied values.


Thursday, August 23 2012

Putting the Bite Back into Snow White with ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

After some bland remakes of this classic fairytale, it's nice to see the poison put back into Snow White's apple.


Sunday, August 5 2012

Standing at the Edge of a Cliff: China in Two Books

Like the scene in romantic movies where two lovers see each other from across a crowded room and begin running towards one another, culturally the US seems to be rushing towards China as fast as China is rushing towards the US.


Thursday, July 26 2012

Tears in Rain: ‘Blade Runner’ and Philip K. Dick’s Legacy in Film

Thirty years after the release of Blade Runner, with a remake of Total Recall on the horizon, the work of Philip K. Dick continues to find its way into our cinemas and minds. How did the visions of a paranoid loner become the most relevant science fiction of our time?


Monday, June 25 2012

What It Means to Be Human: ‘Never Let Me Go’’

The film, Never Let Me Go, follows the book relatively well, although it eliminates some of the story, and isn't able to mirror the novel's careful and timed revelations about the mystery of Hailsham's students.


Thursday, June 21 2012

The Politics of American Perceptions

If Republicans and Democrats were in a street fight, who would win? Beyond Red and Blue is the rare book that gracefully helps you see the legitimacy of the other side of your sacred political beliefs.


Tuesday, June 19 2012

An Early Moan from the Great Moaner: Jack Kerouac’s ‘The Sea Is My Brother’

Jack Kerouac’s greatest achievement is the creation of the most compassionate of 20th century literatures; not just the adolescent fraternalisms or calls for equality, but the glee of rushing down the mountain with the good news, or as the good news, curious about humanity, forgiving, ready to report well and true.


Wednesday, June 13 2012

Post-Black, Post-Racial… Post-Trayvon

The sense that a cohesion of group identity was no longer a defining factor of black life had taken a firm hold in America. Then Trayvon Martin was killed.


Thursday, May 24 2012

Sherlock Holmes, Dirk Gently and the Case of the Eccentric Detective

With two TV shows returning Arthur Conan Doyle's creation to our screens, Sherlock Holmes has never seemed more influential. But for the good of detective fiction, it might be time to look elsewhere for our unorthodox investigators...


Thursday, May 17 2012

Sergio Leone: Something to Do with Death

Britain’s pop culture knight, Christopher Frayling, offers the definitive biography and interpretation of the Spaghetti Western maestro, Sergio Leone.


Sunday, May 13 2012

Systemic and Subjective: The Violence of ‘The International’ and the Global Financial Order

The weapons deals in The International and the back-door negotiations between corporate lobbies and Congress are two sides of the same coin; both use overwhelming systemic violence to further their ends.


Sunday, May 6 2012

International Beats: The Desire for the Foreign in Kerouac’s ‘On the Road’

With the film adaptation of On the Road just a month away, it's important to once again define what characterized the Beat movement: an infatuation with the foreign.


Monday, April 30 2012

The Bloody Ballad of Charlie and Ira Louvin

The Louvin Brothers made heavenly sounds, but the road they took to get there was Hell on Earth.


Sunday, April 29 2012

Enjoy Orientalism-Lite with ‘Stranger Magic’

Stranger Magic is an exhaustive compendium of the various tales in the Arabian Nights collection, as well as a robust and energetic investigation into how these stories of “Oriental” myth and folklore have seeped into the European imagination from the 18th century onward.


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