Recent Features
Dylan As Text, Sub-Text, Ur-Text in ‘Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown’

This is Bob Dylan as shifting text, not just layered like pages, back or front, or over-laid like a palimpsest, but cross-wise and motile as a termite.

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Reality, and Then Some, as Conveyed in ‘The Wire’ and ‘Oliver Twist’

The spoonful of sugar that The Wire employs in relating its harsh theme is all wrapped up in that medicine's themes of fatalism. The humor employed in Oliver Twist highlights the opposite: the needlessness of the system that allows orphans to starve to death.

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20 Jun 2011 // 10:00 PM

In Praise of Silliness

They say you gotta laugh to keep from crying. A simple dose of pure silliness taken on a regular basis is much needed, these days.

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Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright: The Role of the Asian American in American Pop Culture

From New York magazine to Punk Planet, Audrea Lim shows us how recent Asian American writing sensations Wesley Yang and Amy Chua get it wrong in their interpretations of what it means to be of Asian descent in American at the dawn of the 21st century.

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Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future—And Locked Us In

As technology becomes more intimately woven into our lives, the implications of a single point of control over our digital experiences, such as Apple has over the iPhone, are threatening creative freedom.

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Prince’s Parade: It’s Really All About the Music

A large part of what I love about Prince is his ability to take his influences and synthesize them into a whole that suits his fancy. So it's not so much that he brings a new dish to the table. It's more that he explores new ways to enjoy what's already there.

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The Best Books and Graphic Fiction for Summer

PopMatters writers recommend some of their all-time favorite summer reads. Look for music summer picks on Tuesday, film/TV/DVD summer picks on Wednesday, and event and game picks for summer on Thursday.

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Zoot Suit: The Enigmatic Career of an Extreme Style

Los Angeles’s 1943 “zoot suit riot” may be the only time in American history that fashion was believed to be the cause of widespread civil unrest.

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David Foster Wallace’s Posthumous ‘The Pale King’ Explores Self-Consciousness As a Disease

The problem with The Pale King is not that it killed a great writer, but that a great writer’s own problems became the narrowing factor for what might have been his greatest work.

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Cinderella May Have Eaten Peggy Orenstein’s Daughter, But Who Ate Cinderella?

All the expertise in the world doesn’t prepare a parent to face the vagaries of American culture that lays itself pink, shiny, and bejewelled at the feet of a young girl.

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I Know Where I’m Going: Katharine Hepburn, A Personal Biography

Katherine Hepburn’s mother was a suffragette, her father, a prominent doctor. At 13, she discovered the body of her adored older brother Tom, an apparent suicide. From then on, Kate assumed her brother’s birthday as her own and always considered Tom “the most important man in my life.”

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Socially Valuable Knowledge: An Interview with Louis Menand

Pulitzer Prize-winning Harvard Professor Louis Menand diagnoses some of the problems in the American university system and makes some proposals for what can be done, all without the alarmism of many of his colleagues.

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30 May 2011 // 10:00 PM

Defending the Imperialist

Ours (Canadians) is not an in-your-face passion-filled ‘clutch your breast in pride’ existence. We are but a country of high hopes and slow lopes, of lofty dreams and starry visions, of mighty pragmatism and irreproachable logic.

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27 May 2011 // 3:40 AM

Prince: Chaos, Disorder, and Revolution

Prince imbued his art with his idiosyncratic view of life, turning out music from the mind of a sex-obsessed deviant, a bomb-fearing party-animal, and a God-fearing man searching for a ways to reconcile the spiritual with the sexual… and so much more.

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19 May 2011 // 10:00 PM

The Ballad of Bob Dylan: A Portrait

Bob Dylan lurched toward his place onstage wearing a steel harmonica holder around his neck that made him look like a wild creature in harness, blinking at the floodlights, hunching his shoulders to adjust the guitar strap that held the Gibson Special acoustic high on his slender body.

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The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress

There is a deep current of cynicism that runs through much of American journalism… It is safe and painless to produce "balanced" news. It is very unsafe… to produce truth.

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How Sherlock Holmes and Isaac Asimov Can Help Purge Your Social Media Addiction

Old books and even older movies can fend off the creeping anxiety of information overload.

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Christopher Newfield’s ‘Unmaking the Public University’

What happens to America's higher education system when humanists meet industrial (and now post-industrial) knowledge managers and technocrats?

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The Old, Weird America: The World of Bob Dylan’s Basement Tapes

Despite or even because of its jumble of missing pieces, half-finished recordings, garbled chronologies of composition or performance -- the basement tapes can begin to sound like a map; but if they are a map, what country, what lost mine, is it that they center and fix?

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20 Questions: David Thorne

Humorist and Satirist David Thorne’s book, The Internet is a Playground, published in April. Finally, he gets his biggest break, his surefire launch to celebritydom, here on PopMatters 20 Questions. (The royalty check is in the mail, David.)

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media

'Assassin's Creed': The Comic Book

// Moving Pixels

"How does one establish an entry point into a complex mythos developed through the plots of more than a half dozen very popular video games in only about 20 pages? Not very well.

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