Columns > Culture

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.


Thursday, October 22 2015

What Happened to Truth When Indiana Jones Became an Adjective?

Indiana Jones was born to be a cult object. What does that mean nearly four decades later, when prestigious institutions have embraced this artifice?


Tuesday, October 20 2015

Bill Maher and the Perils of the Commentator-Comedian

To offend is inevitable for the socio-political commentator-comedian, and to suffer the slings and arrows of backlash should be equally expected.


Monday, October 19 2015

Hard Knocks and Hilarity: An Interview With Luenell

Comedienne Luenell testifies to the oppression, perseverance, and resilience of black women in comedy.


Wednesday, October 14 2015

Night-Wing Media: Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart’s Lessons in Discourse

Through the levelling power of humour, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report cut through the culture's sensationalism and panic to remind us of the baseline of normality beneath all the hysteria.


Monday, October 12 2015

On Evil Yogis and the Icy Silence of Yoga’s Post-Disintegration

David Gordon White's life-long research of South Asian religions reveals the dubious roots of the West's feel good contemporary yoga industry.


Tuesday, October 6 2015

Edouard Bourdet’s Lesbian Play, ‘The Captive’, Was Certainly Captive of its Time

Alison Bechdel's Fun Home isn't the first lesbian themed work of art to garner acclaim and controversy; 90 years ago, The Captive set the precedent.


//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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