Columns > Culture

Monday, February 8 2016

A No-Nonsense Agenda for the Left

The authors of Inventing the Future ask: why think local, when there’s a world to win?


Thursday, February 4 2016

Bruce Springsteen, ‘The Ties That Bind’, the Working Class, and Authenticity

As we use the term today, authenticity allows no truth from art, only from artists. It visits art the way one visits a subway station or an airport: to get to somewhere else.


Friday, January 29 2016

Christianity’s Crisis in Medieval Japan Says a Lot About Cultural Dialogue Today

Shusaku Endo’s classic novel of faith, doubt, and intercultural communication, Silence, readies itself for a timely big-screen debut by Director Martin Scorsese.


Thursday, January 28 2016

Kayaktivists’ Colorful and Effective Protests in 2015

The most elaborately staged spectacle of 2015 was performed by the “kayaktivists”, a group of environmentalists that successfully stopped oil giant Royal Dutch Shell from drilling in the Arctic.


Wednesday, January 27 2016

Anthropology’s Storyteller-Shaman-Sorcerer Strikes Again With ‘The Corn Wolf’

Michael Taussig’s work both attracts and angers other anthropologists. It also re-enchants a discipline that is in desperate need of it.


Monday, January 25 2016

From Yugoslavia to South India: The Rise of Tamil Turbo-folk

Like its Serbian counterpart, Tamil Turbo-folk masquerades as ethno-nationalist resistance against the dislocations brought to bear by nation building, liberalization, and globalization.


Friday, January 15 2016

The Kamasi Washington Phenomenon

PopMatters' jazz critics didn't include Kamasi Washington's The Epic on their "Best of 2015" list, despite its huge acclaim by mainstream critics. Here's why.


Tuesday, January 12 2016

John Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’: Boundaries, Mobility and Honesty

The working class song has to speak of boundaries and ambition, but it also has to say where the performer stands among the people, among the classes—or where he thinks he stands, or wants to stand.


Monday, January 11 2016

Where Is the Truth in Our Romance of Popular Physics?

If all the truth of physics is in the math, what kind of storytelling are we lay persons getting when we read popular accounts of physics that are completely stripped of it?


Thursday, January 7 2016

The Gospel According to Ricky Gervais (in 140 Characters or Less)

One of today's most accomplished and revered comedic minds has jettisoned himself onto the frontlines of the culture wars where he wittily battles on behalf of humanism, reason, and secularism.


Thursday, December 17 2015

‘Asking For It’ Is a Harrowing Read, But Offers Hope, Too

Kate Harding offers a damning survey of rape culture’s tenacious hold on American society, and argues that recognizing the problem is the first step to fixing it


Wednesday, December 16 2015

James Baldwin Matters

There's a reason why Ta-Nehesi Coates is often compared to James Baldwin, and there's a reason why Baldwin's work is so relevant in the age of Black Lives Matter.


Friday, December 11 2015

It’s in the Blood: A Conversation with History Writer Tim Hannigan

Treading the lines between journalist and academic, travel writer and scholar, author Tim Hannigan talks about his latest book and his unorthodox approach to writing historical narratives.


Thursday, November 26 2015

40 Nights at the Movies (in the Comfort of Your Home): The Franchise

Back by popular demand! Recommendations from "40 Nights at the Movies" will keep you, your dog and your elephant glued to the couch for months.


Thursday, November 19 2015

Ian Buruma: A Voice of Tolerance and Erudition Among Liberalism’s Intellectuals

In Theater of Cruelty the politics of love, war, and popular culture define the career of one of today’s foremost public intellectuals.


Monday, November 16 2015

Performing Politics: Judith Butler and the Struggle for the Street

We may hate that we are vulnerable and dependent upon one another, argues Judith Butler, but it's that very interdependence that allows us to mobilize together as social movements.


Thursday, November 12 2015

No Gays Allowed: Religious Hypocrisy and the Refusal of Services

Those who refuse service to the LGBT community claim their religious beliefs are being attacked. What they are really doing is showing ignorance of their own religion.


Tuesday, November 10 2015

‘A Town Called Malice’: What’s Happened to Working-Class Music?

Is it possible that the very idea of the working class doesn't exist in popular music today -- as if it's been erased?


Monday, November 2 2015

The Empire of Scientism Strikes Back

Despite what Steven Pinker has claimed in his epic debate with Leon Wieseltier in The New Republic, science is less Theory of Everything and more Harper's "Findings".


Friday, October 30 2015

Black Mass Murder: Extreme Metal and the PMRC

A mainstream metal band like The Black Dahlia Murder is more explicit than anything the Parents Music Resource Center sought to regulate in 1985.


//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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