Columns > Culture

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.


Monday, February 22 2016

Ametora: When Cultural Appropriation Becomes Fashionable

The insightful new study, Ametora: How Japan Saved American Style, demonstrates how Japan beat American fashion at its own game


Thursday, February 18 2016

E.T. Was Gay

Steven Spielberg's most child-friendly blockbuster primed a generation to be more accepting of homosexuality.


Wednesday, February 17 2016

As Good As Gold: Lio’s Subversive Euro-Pop

In true Euro-pop fashion, Lio's marriage of risqué innuendo and brightly-coloured pop during the '80s resounded fashionably with the French.


Tuesday, February 16 2016

On Writing the Hidden History of American Women’s Lives

Sonja Livingston uses poetic essays to breathe life into some of America’s most remarkable, and little known, women.


Monday, February 15 2016

Alinea Emphasizes Ideology: You Have No Choice But to Think While You Eat

Alinea is my kind of noun, shot through with an intentionality so thorough in its precision and detail that it teeters wonderfully on the edge between magic and psychosis.


Wednesday, February 10 2016

When Is Art Beautiful? When Is It Just Boring?

To paraphrase art critic Peter Schjeldahl, beauty is a kind of action and reaction between the work and the viewer, or the listener, or the reader. Beauty happens.


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.


//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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