• Essay

    The Radical Meaning of Silence

    In a Noisy World, Wordless Glances and Subtle Gestures Have Always Been Powerful Statements

    by Kate McLoughlin

    Everyone claims to want silence right now. Uber is trialing the use of a mute button so you can ride in peace. A British newspaper columnist has finally found a way to forget all her problems—floating in the sea, both …

  • WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AMERICAN

    In Search of ‘the Commons’ in Modern America

    My Rhode Island Town Has Had a Communal Green Since 1694, but Today’s Public Spaces Are Complicated and Splintered

    by Steven Lubar

    “The commons” is a concept, an ideal. The commons are property we all share, property that’s owned not by any one person or group, but that’s held—well, in common. It also has a distinct history in the U.S., harking …

New at Zócalo

Connecting California

The Fabulous Fable of Fabiola's Scholarship Fund

While Rich Californians Paid Bribes to Get Their Kids Into College, a Struggling Sophomore Shares Her Small Windfall

by Joe Mathews

This spring—as federal prosecutors announced a major college admissions scandal that had ensnared wealthy movie stars and prominent Californians, who paid millions in bribes to get their kids into elite universities—a poor kid from a poor California town faced her own dilemma about money and universities: How could she use her own meager bank account to help others go to college?
  Fabiola Moreno Ruelas, an 18-year-old from the Salinas Valley town of Gonzales, was about to become California’s most unlikely philanthropist. She had not had a glittering, Carnegie-style (or even Kardashian-style) upbringing. In fact, she had suffered much of the worst of California, from the deportation of her father, to a serious ...

WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AMERICAN

Americans Have Always Celebrated Hacks and Swindlers

In 19th-Century New England, Rule-Breaking Yankees Were a Source of National Pride

by Hugh McIntosh

Grab a burger at the James Dean diner in Prague, pay homage to the Miles Davis monument in Kielce, Poland, or stop by the Elvis fan club of Malaysia, and you’ll see how a certain brand of 1950s “cool” still shapes perceptions of America abroad. What people mean by cool can be hard to pin down, but cultural historians tend to agree on some basics: defiance, self-control, individualism, and creativity—ideals epitomized by the jazz and beat movements of the early 20th century.
  Long before these characteristics were cool, however, the term was linked with American identities in a very different way, and in very different contexts. Tracing its history helps us understand how we have come to ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews

Poetry

  • Channel Surfing

    after Forrest Gander’s ‘Deadout’

    by Max Early

    I.
    Procure his bone-dry clay & burnish,
    synchronous glide and precision.
    Red Eared Slider …

  • by Devin Becker

    The children have left the red ball
    disintegrating in the ...

  • by Leslie Harrison

    & the trees gleam wetly under the luminous clouds
    & through ...

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