Columns > Culture

Thursday, May 26 2016

Consider the Troll

The pressing question isn't so much what a troll is and how he came to be, but what to do when confronted with a troll.


Friday, May 20 2016

‘Til Human Faces Wake Us: Don DeLillo’s ‘Zero K’

For all that it is cold and disquieting, DeLillo's latest is also his most sincere -- his most human -- meditation on death yet.


Wednesday, May 18 2016

Stephen Colbert’s Consumption of Junk Food Is Deeply American—and Catholic

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert examines food in a manner that is Catholic. But also, it engages with food in a manner that is catholic.


Tuesday, May 17 2016

Slain Journalist’s Open Letter Tackles Racism, Islamophobia, and Free Speech

For all its infamy, few outside of France really understand what Charlie Hebdo is all about. A manifesto posthumously published by its editor, offers insights.


Wednesday, May 11 2016

The Object Withdraws in Obduracy: Thoughts on Richard Tuttle’s ‘The Critical Edge’

What's critical about cast-off pieces of fabric? Is Richard Tuttle's The Critical Edge merely ironic hyperbole?


Thursday, May 5 2016

Socialist Solutions for America’s Problems

A growing array of America’s leading thinkers and activists have gone from critiquing the excesses of capitalism to charting the future of American socialism.


Monday, May 2 2016

How to Save the Media (and Democracy)

The system of media and journalism on which our democracy relies is under threat. French economist Julia Cage surveys the scale of the crisis and proposes a unique solution.


Wednesday, April 27 2016

We Have Never Been Human

Within our bodies, single-celled organisms outnumber cells that we identify as human DNA ten to one. We're merely a colony within a colony within a colony.


Monday, April 25 2016

Kanye and Mingus: Gifted, Complicated and Proud of It

Charles Mingus and Kanye West represent an extreme form of the complicated-and-proud-of-it black man, within a society that prefers its black men as uncomplicated and untroubling as possible.


Friday, April 22 2016

Movie Time: Annie Baker’s Pulitzer-winning ‘The Flick’ Transfers to the National Theatre

Funny, sorrowful, quietly subversive, and a film nerd’s wet dream, Annie Baker’s Pulitzer-prize-winning play mines humour and pathos.


Wednesday, April 20 2016

Kurt Vonnegut: Our Reluctant, Agnostic, Hippy Guru

Vonnegut's timeless stories challenge the assumptions, institutions, and ideologies that so delimit critical thinking and open-mindedness.


Tuesday, April 12 2016

Soylent: Ingesting the Future

An exploration of lifestyle branding for the coming environmental apocalypse.


Thursday, April 7 2016

Let’s Play at Kentucky Fried Chicken, America

In this game we consumers are reduced to plastic playthings, happy to be fingered. This and other thoughts on American culture.


Tuesday, April 5 2016

A Brief Lesson on Poetry for Physicists

Praise for Carlo Rovelli's international bestseller Seven Brief Lessons on Physics has been near universal. Can the reviewers all be wrong? Yes, they can.


Monday, April 4 2016

Lorraine Hansberry’s ‘Les Blancs’ Gets Extraordinary Production at National Theatre

The personal and the political are so interlinked in this play as to be inextricable, and Yaël Farber’s staging offers a dynamic mingling of the intimate and the epic.


Thursday, March 24 2016

Was Frederick Douglass America’s First Media-savvy Political Activist?

The Lives of Frederick Douglass and Picturing Frederick Douglass reveal a radical approach to discussing politics, race and self.


Friday, March 11 2016

Wriggling Down the Rabbit Hole Again With ‘The Esquire’, the Follow-up to ‘The Institute’

Arye Michael Bender reprises his role as defrocked '70s guru Octavio Coleman in the upcoming part spin-off, part sequel, part prequel and completely mind-bending film, The Esquire.


Monday, March 7 2016

Tomorrow Belongs to Me: “Freedom’s Call”, Donald Trump and Propaganda

When you see and hear a group of children in star-spangled cheerleader outfits lip-syncing the words “Cowardice! Are you serious?” to an EDM reworking of the 1917 patriotic song “Over There”, that is the moment you should wake up.


Friday, March 4 2016

Defending Chicago’s ‘Defender’

It's possible to trace much of 20th Century America’s history through the pages of the Defender, a local paper with a national impact.


Tuesday, February 23 2016

What Does Randy Newman Say When He Talks With God?

One of the less celebrated satirists of religion, a study of some of Randy Newman's key songs reveals a subtle subversive at work.


//Mixed media
//Blogs

Authenticity Issues and the New Intimacies

// Marginal Utility

"The social-media companies have largely succeeded in persuading users of their platforms' neutrality. What we fail to see is that these new identities are no less contingent and dictated to us then the ones circumscribed by tradition; only now the constraints are imposed by for-profit companies in explicit service of gain.

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