Recent Features

7 Oct 2010 // 10:00 PM

Bob Dylan in America

Over Coppertone-slicked bodies on Santa Monica Beach and out of secluded make-out spots and shopping-center parking lots and everywhere else American teenagers gathered that summer, it seemed that the ba-de-de-bum-de-bum announcing Dylan’s hit about getting stoned was blaring from car radios and transistor radios.

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What’s The Upside, Doc?: Interview with Behavioral Economist Dan Ariely

In The Upside of Irrationality, author, and self-described “social hacker", Dan Ariely calls attention to what he terms “the basic dilemma we have in life – there’s lots of stuff that’s really unpleasant for us in the short term, but really good for us in the long term.” And perhaps more importantly, he suggests what we can do to change that.

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‘The Grapes of Wrath’: The Specter of Tom Joad Emerges From America’s Dark Past, Once Again

With the current economic climate -- increasing rates of foreclosure, evictions, unemployment, poverty and misery -- this classic story dangerously impinges upon the present to reveal the specter of Tom Joad emerging from the darkness, once again.

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Chasing the Ghost of Graham Greene in Contemporary Vietnam

My suite had a balcony overlooking the square and the Municipal Theatre. The hotel has a central open courtyard for breakfast dining. Wrought iron chairs. Glass-topped tables with bamboo place mats. A small fountain. Lacy white spheres hanging from spindly branches. It was easy to imagine Greene at work here, too, under the trees.

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4 Oct 2010 // 10:00 PM

Apathy for the Devil: A Seventies Memoir

Music remains the only key that can unlock the past for me in a way that I can inherently trust.

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Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?: How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life

Where there’s equality, there’s so much more in an affluent country to see, to taste, to touch… There’s more order. But it’s the order of not having the disorder of mass poverty. [In Europe], in the really social democratic parts, I can inhale whole cities like banks of violets.

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Sweetness and Blood: How Surfing Spread from Hawaii and California to the Rest of the World

A journalist enters the dystopian world of Franz Kafka in an attempt to journey to Gaza to study the local surf scene.

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20 Questions: Sam Hoffman

Sam Hoffman is the author of Old Jews Telling Jokes, based on the enormously popular website of the same name. He has worked with such legends as Woody Allen and has produced, directed, and assistant-directed movies such as The Royal Tenenbaums, School of Rock, Dead Man Walking, Groundhog Day, and Curse of the Jade Scorpion.

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Bring on the Books for Everyone: How Literary Culture Became Popular Culture

Apparently, the love of literature can now be fully experienced only outside the academy and the New York literary scene, out there somewhere in the wilds of popular culture.

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20 Questions: Tao Lin

American poet, novelist, short story writer, and artist Tao Lin’s new book, Richard Yates releases this week. Lin tells PopMatters 20 Questions that he’s never hired a hit man, or been on a spa vacation, or used Prozac. Honestly.

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For Tomorrow: William Gibson, ‘Zero History’ and The Present… The Interview

William Gibson's recent Zero History, rounds out a trilogy of novels that began in the wake of the 911 terror attacks, and spanned the decade. In a meditative encounter with PopMatters, Gibson shares his thoughts on Zero History, the Bigend Trilogy, and the enduring present.

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Ironically Facebook and Its 500 Million Friends Remain Largely a Mystery

In the beginning, Mark Zuckerberg was a socially-awkward teenager, a computer science major at Harvard University, who arrived toting an eight-foot-long whiteboard as a brainstorming tool...

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Philosophical Tactics in International Soccer

What exactly are Marx, Hegel, Aristotle and Socrates doing after Confucius blows the ref’s whistle? They’re not just thinking about soccer. They’re playing... sort of.

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Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light

Long before there were streetlights, when only the night watchman’s lantern glowed, night travelers who dared defy curfew were forbidden to wear hoods or cloaks, carry weapons, or gather in groups of more than three or four.

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‘Eclipse’: A Sort of Romantic Kind of Fairytale

When I saw Eclipse, a gaggle of teenage girls behind me giggled, gasped and squealed their way through most of the film. Each time their hysteria erupted, it happened during a romantic scene.

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‘The Men Who Would Be King’ Reveals the Stuff That DreamWorks Was Undone By

With energy and a candor reflecting a veteran journalist unworried whether she'll eat lunch in that town again or not, author Nicole LaPorte reveals the parallels between the DreamWorks story and that of any dream's road to either reality or perdition.

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24 Aug 2010 // 10:00 PM

The German Genius: Europe’s Third Renaissance

In 18th century Germany, new beliefs, new tempers, new ways of thinking were taking place. Many of the new ideas transformed Europe and would also transform North America.

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Cults of an Unwitting Oracle: The (Unintended) Religious Legacy of H. P. Lovecraft

A horror writer, self-proclaimed atheist, and "mechanical materialist" who spent most of his life ridiculing religion, H.P. Lovecraft invented one of the most absurd and terrifying pseudomythologies in the history of modern literature. So, how is it that some of his audience came to take his cosmology seriously?

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20 Questions: Vikas Swarup

Slumdog Millionaire author Vikas Swarup's latest, Six Suspects, is out in paperback this month. He confesses to PopMatters 20 Questions that he's sometimes stopped on the streets of the various countries he works in because people mistake him for James Bond.

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Freedom Summer: The Savage Season That Made Mississippi Burn and Made America a Democracy

Two groups met that summer: The first – mostly white – had just finished another year at Harvard, Yale, Oberlin, Berkeley… Guitars slung over shoulders, idealism lifting their strides. The second group – mostly black – brought no guitars and had little idealism left to pack. They arrived with stories of being beaten, targeted, tortured.

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