Columns > Culture

Wednesday, April 8 2015

Bill O’Reilly’s Rock & Roll Machine

Nostalgia has its uses, its benefits. But is it useful and beneficial when it obscures the reality of the past and present, usually in the service of power, prestige, and making a buck?


Tuesday, April 7 2015

Billie Holiday at 100: Still an Inspiration

On Billie Holiday's centennial, her influence remains everywhere in music. Jazz singers Cassandra Wilson and Jose James, have new tributes out on Blue Note.


Wednesday, March 18 2015

Power and Possibility in Political Satire: 22 Years of ‘22 Minutes’

Canada’s hit comedy news program offers a provocative example of the role political satire and popular culture can play in defining and even changing a nation


Thursday, March 12 2015

The ‘80s Jazz Fads Return!

Two unique jazz phenoms of the Reagan '80s -- tapping guitarist Stanley Jordan and falsetto scatting legend Bobby "Don't Worry, Be Happy" McFerrin -- are back.


Wednesday, March 11 2015

Uncovering Queer History in ‘Gay Berlin’

Gay Berlin reveals a vibrant gay rights movement that flourished in Germany a hundred years before Stonewall.


Thursday, March 5 2015

Searching for Value in All the Wrong Places, Or How to Put Away Childish Things

More than fetishizing his prizes, the collector fetishizes his own obsessiveness and glorious blindness to the machinations of what non-collectors call “real life”.


Monday, March 2 2015

‘Who We Be’ and the Optics of Culture, in Living Colors

Jeff Chang's cultural history tackles how race has played out across the last 50 years, and counting, of American culture.


Friday, February 27 2015

The Hays Code Nightmare Has Come True. Ain’t That Grand?

The '30s era Hays Code limited significantly what artists could express and what audiences could see. Today's LGBT media has blasted through all that.


Thursday, February 26 2015

Weapons Drawn! Perspectives on Charlie Hebdo

Questioning cartoons, satire, and the role of the media after the Charlie Hebdo assassinations.


Wednesday, February 25 2015

Songs of Imploration and Love: The Music of Tajikistan

For centuries, Tajikistan has seen just about every monarchy, kingdom, religious faith and culture sweep through its land, leaving an indelible impression on its people and music.


Monday, February 23 2015

Let’s Make Childhood Savage, Again

A growing movement says we ought to help our kids lead riskier lives with the intent of improving society.


Monday, February 16 2015

Much Ado About Art, Satire and Terrorism

As the debate rages over Charlie Hebdo’s controversial cartoons, Art Spiegelman offers sage advice on cartoons and free speech.


Wednesday, February 11 2015

In Defense of Brunch

A provocative and insightful new book challenges us to rethink our obsession with brunch, and to critically consider what this overpriced, messy meal really says about shifting class identities in today’s world.


Friday, February 6 2015

‘The Secret History of Wonder Woman’ Also Reveals a Great Deal About Our Own Social History

Jill Lepore's hit new book on Wonder Woman sheds light not only on the astonishing origins of this iconic character, but also on the fascinating social and political strands of history which gave rise to her.


Tuesday, February 3 2015

Does the Title of the Bollywood Blockbuster, ‘PK’, Actually Stand for Performing Kulturkampf?

In the kulturkampf between India’s intelligentsia decrying the ‘cultural terrorism’ of extremists, a film like PK has me wondering, how long can secular liberals retain the moral high ground?


Monday, February 2 2015

The Visual Enchantment of Music Photography

Sometimes photographs tell stories that music cannot fully articulate, carrying in their grain long-gone atmospheres.


Thursday, January 29 2015

Metaphor in a Time of Ebola

The more closely I followed the Ebola coverage, the more the simulacra of contagion in fiction, film, and games seemed inextricably woven into the mainstream media.


Wednesday, January 21 2015

Antitheism and the Art of the “Hitch Slap”

Before Bill Maher became the demon-du-jour for his satirical scorn of religion, Christopher Hitchens led the charge of rhetorical antitheism.


Monday, January 19 2015

The 2015 Grammys Get Jazz Mostly Wrong, a Little Right

Grammy nominations in jazz are rarely adventurous and usually confusing. Yet this year's slate is intriguing.


Thursday, January 15 2015

‘The Sacrament’, ‘The Unbelievers’ and Religious Imperialism

From cult leader Jim Jones to scientist Richard Dawkins, once in a rare while, Hollywood gets a religious idea, or an idea about religion, right.


//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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