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These Times/This Place

The challenges we face now we’ve faced throughout the millenia, but these stories are told with a modern twist; a presumed broader sense of one’s place on this fast-spinning, hot planet.

Monday, September 20 2004

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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