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Thursday, September 18 2014

Mr. Mencken Went to Dayton and the Culture Wars Began

Long before Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher, H.L. Mencken was America's most notorious satirist of religion. And thus began the battle for the soul of America.


Wednesday, September 10 2014

Great Sex and No Worries: The Myth of Drug Use

Drugs. We LGBT folk certainly seem to like them. We use them at higher rates than heterosexuals, and we really like to mix them with sex. What a shame they're killing us.


Thursday, August 28 2014

The Gunman on the Unemployment Line: Masculinity, Professionalism, and Ethical Bankruptcy

Surely even Dirty Harry needs a break from cinematic violence, some time off at Walden Pond. Though I doubt its tranquility would deter him from picking off the sparrows.


Thursday, August 21 2014

From the Soul to the Hills: The Music of the Caucasus

The music of the Caucasus is powered by national ardour and ritual. All that's needed is an open and willing audience to accept the undisclosed gifts it brings.


Thursday, August 7 2014

‘The Purge’: Lawful, But Not Helpful

By grounding the violence of his barely veiled speculative fiction in the here-and-now, James DeMonaco risks inciting an audience beyond the walls of the cinema.


Wednesday, August 6 2014

Blast Shadows

The atomic bombing of Hiroshima forever altered popular culture, and the earliest traces of that tectonic shift can be found in an obscure government report and newsreel about the event.


Wednesday, July 23 2014

The Music That Sprouts Between Empires: Ukrainian Culture Amidst Conflict

Ukraine was once considered the musical heartland of the Russian Empire, its culture thriving between the cracks of various powerful and competing empires.


Monday, July 21 2014

The Myth of the Global Brown Messiah in Kollywood Cinema

Recent films from the action-masala genre project India as a global sheriff, replacing a toothless West as an expression of muscular nationalism.


Friday, July 11 2014

Singing the Low-Down, Down-Low Blues

Women in jazz can sing about their same-sex experiences, while men tend to stay deeply in the closet. Odd, considering the genre once embraced such dalliances.


Wednesday, July 2 2014

Shocking the Casbah: The Maghrebi-Noir of Rachid Taha

A furious mix of hip-hop beats, Arabic primal screams and punk-rock guitars, Taha brilliantly battles against the ideologies of both Western and Arab traditions.


Wednesday, June 25 2014

Dr. McMurtrie and the Gay Kiss

A homophobic doctor, writing in 1914, helped NFL player Michael Sam kiss his boyfriend on TV 100 years later.


Tuesday, June 24 2014

(The Limits of) Football, Samba, and Commonality

The 2014 FIFA World Cup theme song highlights one of the worst trends in a global society: culture boiled down to a sort of triumphant universal human-ness.


Monday, June 23 2014

Bring Back the Beat! What’s Up with Hip-Hop Reissues?

The record industry makes huge efforts to reissue rock CDs, but nowhere near as much effort for hip-hop CDs.


Friday, June 20 2014

The Fascination with Fundamentalism in Hardcore Punk

Some bands echoed the Dead Kennedys' anti-Moral Majority messages; others embodied right-wing religion.


Tuesday, June 17 2014

In Defense Of ... Ann Hornaday, No Matter What Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen Say

The Washington Post film critic wasn't wrong in wondering aloud about the impact Hollywood can have on the typical young male.


Friday, June 13 2014

The Future of Work Looks Like an Agency-Free Hole That Goes Nowhere

A recent Planet Money episode about worker analytics provokes two things: a memory of a troubling past, and troubling vision of the future of work.


Tuesday, June 10 2014

Pronounced Dead: The Art of Cultural Assassination

Two critical catfights are claiming to have buried art-forms which have shaped our civilisation for decades and centuries apiece. Are they entitled to do that?


Friday, May 30 2014

Carl Van Vechten, America’s First White Negro

What was Van Vechten really writing about during the Harlem Renaissance; black culture as it existed in its own right, or how he viewed it through his own complicated prism?


Thursday, May 22 2014

Somebody Gave Me an Anonymous, Amazing Gift and It Totally Freaked Me Out

I used to think stealing was subversive. Now I know I had it backwards.


Wednesday, May 21 2014

Bollywood and the Ballot: India’s Shimmery Election

Bollywood stars are essential to the cultural identity of India, but their involvement in the 2014 election have some questioning the wisdom of the "Bollywood-ification" of politics.


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