Recent Features
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.

READ more
‘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.

READ more
‘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.

READ more

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.

READ more
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?

READ more
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.

READ more
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.

READ more
Globish: How the English Language Became the World’s Language

The making of a recognizable Englishness, the painful transition to Anglo-Saxon ‘Englaland’, is a history of four invasions and a cultural revolution… English was a mirror to its island state, an idiosyncratic mixture of splendid isolation and humiliating foreign occupation.

READ more

3 Aug 2010 // 9:59 PM

Feeding an Addiction

Call me a romantic, but after watching so much of that wet and messy business, I crave a less-is-more, simpler, sexier rendition of food porn. Instead, of grotesque, I prefer burlesque and have found that the good stuff isn’t on reality TV.

READ more

2 Aug 2010 // 10:00 PM

Playing the Numbers: Gambling in Harlem between the Wars

Those who controlled the numbers game in Harlem possessed a license to print money. And there, of course, was the rub... Desperately outnumbered and outgunned, she used every conceivable stratagem at her disposal.

READ more
Partial to His Abracadabra: A Discussion of Ian Dury with Biographer Will Birch

On the release of his new book, Ian Dury: The Definitive Biography, Will Birch discusses the complicated glory of the “Upminster Kid".

READ more
Future Shock, Postmodern Nostalgia, and Uncanny Technologies

The speed of technological change is unprecedented. Author Anna Jane Grossman finds that it has imbued her "with a kind of odd nostalgia for right now.”

READ more

22 Jul 2010 // 10:30 PM

A Fierce Radiance

"... the man on the stretcher was dying. His lips were blue from lack of oxygen. His cheeks were hollow, his skin leathery and tight against his bones. His eyes were open but unfocused, like the glass eyes in a box at a doll factory she’d once photographed."

READ more
Manly Love: Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg’s Letters

Kerouac and Ginsberg are cosmic twins borne from Whitman’s Universal skull, bonded as comrades, cerebrally-joined as poets -- but it will sour for Kerouac when Ginsberg uses his poetic voice as a political trump card.

READ more
Lucky Numbers: Economist Simon Johnson Explains the Importance of ‘13 Bankers’

To fix the banking sector, economist and author Simon Johnson is recommending some common sense regulations: “We need to put constraints on the size of our largest banks, we need to force them to hold a lot more capital, we need to properly regulate derivatives." So why has that proven so hard to do?

READ more
20 Questions: Gene Weingarten

Gene Weingarten, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing, nationally syndicated humor columnist and writer for The Washington Post, and now one-half cartoonist, has a new book out. More importantly, he answers PopMatters 20 Questions.

READ more

15 Jul 2010 // 10:00 PM

Pearl Buck in China: Journey to the Good Earth

As a small child lying awake in bed at night, Pearl grew up listening to the cries of women on the street outside calling back the spirits of their dead or dying babies. In some ways she herself was more Chinese than American.

READ more
‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’: A Child of Israel and the Children of Palestine

Reading narratives of the seemingly intractable Arab-Israeli conflict is like trying to follow the plot of a novel that has had every other page ripped out. Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness has fewer missing pages than most.

READ more

13 Jul 2010 // 10:00 PM

Fooled by Skepticism

Skepticism has been fueling pop culture for decades. Just ask John Lennon or Pete Townshend. Lately it’s just been fooling pop culture about science.

READ more
The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War

The Americans might be the strongest military power, but they would be powerless if western Europe fell naturally into Communist hands, and in any case there would be an economic crisis in America should Europe collapse.

READ more
More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

A Chat with José González at Newport Folk Festival

// Notes from the Road

"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.

READ the article