Television and Film Have a Role to Play in Repairing a Fractured America

Despite the Bitterness Splintering the Nation, History Shows We’re “All in the Family"

In American memory, if not always in reality, television and film once played a unifying role. During the Great Depression, decadent Hollywood productions delivered welcome diversion. At the dawn of rock n’ roll, Elvis and The Beatles landed in living rooms across America via The Ed Sullivan Show. During the upheavals of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Walter Cronkite functioned as a reassuring and trustworthy pater familias. And in the 1980s, Michael Jackson moonwalked his way onto screens large and small, criss-crossing ethnic boundaries. But gradually, as shopping mall cineplexes …

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Volkswagen’s Long, Strange Trip Through Pop Culture

How Did the Sensible German Automobiles Come to Symbolize Both Counterculture Cool and American Family Fun?

It looks like Volkswagen is going to owe billions for the illegal sleight of engineering hand that enabled its once-vaunted diesel car engine to cheat on emissions tests. The German …

Does Blink-182 Know Something California’s Governor Jerry Brown Doesn’t?

While Politicians Keep Trumpeting the State’s Success, This Summer’s Songs and Films Sound Skeptical

How is California doing these days? The answer may depend on whom you believe: Governor Brown or Blink-182.

This summer has exposed a divide in perception of California, between the political …

With Free State of Jones, Hollywood’s Civil War Comes Closer to History’s

Pop Culture May Finally Be Ready to Surrender the Myth of a Noble, Confederate Lost Cause

The setting is the piney woods of Civil War Jones County, Mississippi. The white farmer Newt Knight leads a band of deserters against Confederate forces. An enslaved woman, Rachel, lends …

Now That Americans Love Soccer, We’ve Also Become Its Referee

How FIFA Corruption Charges And New U.S. Fans Could Alter the Pitch for the World's Most Popular Sport

Not too long ago, Americans couldn’t care less about the world’s most popular sport. Now we care so much we are not only going to be a force to be …

Can the World Cup End U.S. Cultural Hegemony?

Soccer Remains One of the Few Non-American Narratives That Bind the World Together

When I was 17 I spent the summer in France on an exchange program, living with a family in an idyllic town in Normandy, parlando the language of Napoleon and …