Cultural Studies

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California’s Immaculate Conception

California’s Immaculate Conception

CALIFORNIA has been known as the end of America, where Manifest Density doubled back on itself. But long before Joan Didion declared it the place where we run out of continent, California had a histor...

Capitalizing on “The Body”

Capitalizing on “The Body”

BY NOW you’ve probably heard the news: Marx is back on trend. Thanks to the French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, even The New York Times’s Fashion & Sty...

Feminism and the "50 Shades" Hangover

Feminism and the "50 Shades" Hangover

SHOULDN'T WE ALL feel a little embarrassed about the fuss we made over 50 Shades of Grey? I don’t mean the book’s fans. I mean the anti-; the book’s critics; all of us who committed time and ene...

A Tale of Two Summers

A Tale of Two Summers

The century’s sun has set in blooded clouds.             — Rabindranath Tagore, “Sunset of the Century,” December 31, 1900 [Today’s situation] is historically unprecedented, in ...

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

Adventures in Cultural Appropriation

YET ANOTHER WHITE pop star has wandered into the thorny world of racial drag. Taylor Swift, in case you missed her, is an American musician who began her career in a calculated blend of country crosso...

Football: The Lure of the Game

Football: The Lure of the Game

Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become. — Mary McGrory IF I’M DRIVING down the road and I see it being played, there’s a good chance that I’ll stop and watch for a while, ...

When the War Is Over

When the War Is Over

When the War Is Over   When the war is over We will be proud of course the air will be Good for breathing at last The waters will have been improved the salmon And the silence of heaven will mi...

Going Up?

Going Up?

  ELEVATORS are commonplace. That’s the magic of them. Otis Elevator Company, the world’s most famous manufacturer of “vertical transport systems,” reputedly carries the equivalent o...

Culture Shock: The Problem of Juvenile Justice

Culture Shock: The Problem of Juvenile Justice

WHEN the Center for Investigative Reporting recently visited the Santa Cruz County Juvenile Hall — widely considered one of the best juvenile detention centers in the country — they found remarkab...

Romania: A Tale of Two Problems

Romania: A Tale of Two Problems

IN APRIL 2012 the mayor of Bucharest, Sorin Oprescu, unveiled a statue on the steps of the National Museum of Romanian History. It was the Roman emperor Trajan standing upright, crowned with a bowl cu...

Los Angeles Plays Itself, or Sunshine and Noir

Los Angeles Plays Itself, or Sunshine and Noir

BY MOST ACCOUNTS, it was a beautiful day in Los Angeles, one of those sun-drenched afternoons that have always enchanted the city’s filmmakers. There was something equally cinematic about the car ch...

The Feels of Friendship

The Feels of Friendship

IN AN INTERVIEW published in the April 1981 issue of Gai Pied, Michel Foucault proposed that gay male friendship represented the apotheosis of homosexuality’s capacity to challenge the regimes of no...