Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past


Monday, September 27 2004

United We Stand? Dividing Lines in the Land of Albion

In modern-day England, dedication to your locality, however creaking and crumbling that metropolis may now be, is more important than commitment to queen and country. Liverpool and Manchester, a mere 40 miles apart from one another, have always been, and most resolutely always will be, rabid rivals.

Ignore This City

Among the most economically depressed cities in the EU, Glasgow is trying to get its citizens back on their feet, again, with a pep-talking campaign. But is this feel-good campaign just 'spit 'n shine' style over substance in a city that is firmly rooted in the manufacturing of substance?

Best Kept at Arm’s Length

When you live in the target zone of terrorists, the "distant future" is simply the present plus five minutes. One lesson of 9/11 was that, ultimately, real power comes with the ability to terrify. In that context, the concept of powerlessness felt by this disenfranchised population takes on fresh meaning. Staying here is one step toward manifesting the kind of strength that, as a DC resident, we aren’t normally allowed to have: a sliver of dignity in a humbled place.

Shanghai Snapshot

Shanghai's entry into the global market is an ambivalent mixture of imitation and excess. Strolling the parks, a few old men still wear blue Maoist worker's uniforms, but they are anachronisms among scores of trendy young hipsters sporting their own sassy blend of Japanese, American, and European fashion. Shanghai is on its way up, but even in its own eyes, it hasn't quite arrived. The older housing, and the era it represents feel endangered, about to be swept away in a typhoon of construction.

Madrid Hoy

In Madrid the spirit of La Movida, a liberating time comparable to Swinging London, lives on: well after the death of Franco; through the terrorist activities of the Basque separatists; and it will continue, in spite of 11 March 2004, when Al Qaeda killed civilians -- Spaniards, Moroccans, Ecuadorians, people from the Dominican Republic, Cuba and China -- during their morning commute.

Thursday, September 23 2004

The Ramones: An Appreciation

The Sex Pistols would sing of 'no future' with rage and desperation, wearing their fury against adult culture and the failing English economy as a badge; the Ramones turned their alienation into a joke.

Thanks John…

Who'd have thought that burnout kid would grow up to be the legendary Johnny Ramone? Damn, I miss him already...

Johnny Ramone: A Cool Guy Doing His Job

The Ramones offered rebellion, but they didn't work all that hard at it. They just were that way.

BAMcinématek Presents: The World According to Shorts

The World According to Shorts this year offered punchy films organized so their rhythms meld into a syncopated pulse.

Grab Bag of Queerness: 17th Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival

Whether they reflected something true-to-life or were just bizarre, these films united a whole community of queer people who might not otherwise feel connected to each other.

Monday, September 20 2004

Selling the Past: Heritage Tourism in Charleston, South Carolina

Since heritage tourism is Charleston's lifeblood, and the city's main attraction for heritage tourists is its status as capital of the preserved antebellum lifestyle, it might be said that Charleston still profits from slavery. Almost as soon as slavery ended, Charleston's plantations fell into disrepair. It was only in the 20th century that these dubious monuments were restored to financial viability as tourist attractions. Charleston may sell a cotton candy version of its history, but Yankees consume it as enthusiastically as southerners.

Jozi: City of Gold

Post-apartheid South Africa is now 10 years into its new democracy. Hope and progress are evident in places like bustling Johannesburg, where daily commerce at all levels of the economic spectrum are evident from one's very doorstep. But a country so deeply torn by political and racial violence is still healing and redefining itself. While Johannesburg is not an easy place to live, one feels quite 'alive' being here.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of “Cool”-ness

The Real World shot a segment in Philadelphia, thereby christening this city 'cool' to those who partake of such artificial takes on 'reality', but that show can't even come close to what is really cool about this city. Leaving no stone unturned, Reynolds explores every aspect of this place deemed the 'Cradle of Liberty' -- its history, its music, its politics and people -- but it was the death of one little boy that showed him the real spirit of Philadelphia.

Capital of Chaos

In Cairo nothing seems to work that well, and yet everything seems to work out. The city is rotting as much as it is growing. The dead and the living commingle. Seeming always on the verge of collapse under its own weight, Cairo is perpetually reborn.

The Land of Bananas and Boom-Boxes

This tiny sliver of Ecuador rocks: with the waves of the surrounding ocean; to the beats at the Saturday night discoteca; and under the teetering mass of the world — its weight unrelenting as the pull of gravity — and industry. This essay is presented in four parts.

Imperial Bristol Forever?

Bristol's racial history is as complex as that of any other city, but in England, this city is a site of struggle over how exactly the nation's complex racial history will be managed in the future. Bristol may be picturesque, with its old stone buildings and plentiful parks, but its contemporary street names, such as 'White Lady' and 'Black Boy', proffer constant reminders of Bristol's relationship to its racial and imperial past.

A Very Public Private Affair

December 2005 will mark the 100th anniversary of one of the fundamental principals of French republican ideology: the separation of Church and State. By way of preamble, and in conjunction with celebrations for the 60th anniversary of its liberation, Paris declared 2004 its "Year of Secularism". But one of France's paradoxes amongst its bourgeoisie seems to be that it is publicly a secular republic, but privately a Catholic state; simply professing the secularism of the Nation-State in no way guarantees religious tolerance. These are ideologically worrying times in France.

Wednesday, September 15 2004

Frankenstein 9-11

The family values movement teaches people to be loyal only to their own kin, and to pursue familial interests without concern for a larger society.

Tuesday, September 14 2004

An Interview with Marc Acito

Marc Acito, a humor columnist, whose syndicated column 'The Gospel According to Marc,' appears in 18 newspapers nationwide.

Monday, September 13 2004

Searching for Julia Child

Many vibrant personalities host cooking shows, as well as numerous exceptional culinary teachers. Few individuals are both.

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