‘Humor Is What Makes Us Human’

In an Age of Political Tyranny and Deep Division, Comedy Can Help Us Understand Our Leaders, Ourselves, and Each Other

Fittingly, the Zócalo/ASU Gammage event “What Can We Laugh About?” last night opened with a joke from Los Angeles Times columnist Gustavo Arellano, who was moderating: “Knock knock.”

The prompt audience reply came in unison: “Who’s there?”

Arellano: “Zócal-OK, we can now laugh.”

There was playful booing from the in-person audience—a packed house at the ASU California Center in downtown Los Angeles—but, though the joke bombed, it set off a wide-ranging, alternately funny and serious conversation around our comedic zeitgeist. The discussion brought Arellano (no stranger to humor, including in his long-running “¡Ask …

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Can California Lead a Reproductive Justice Movement?

From Sister-Friends to 'Full-Spectrum' Doulas, the Golden State May Be a Model for Care

As the full weight of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade bears down on the nation, California is seeking to become a sanctuary state for reproductive rights. …

‘It’s Difficult to Win Hearts and Minds When You’re Holding a Gun’ | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

‘It’s Difficult to Win Hearts and Minds When You’re Holding a Gun’

When War Becomes the Means of Governing, Civilians, Soldiers, and Veterans Lose

With wars playing a crucial role throughout history in shaping American influence and character—and with present-day conflicts devastating countries such as Ukraine and Yemen—Zócalo convened a panel to probe the …

Heather McGhee Offers a New Story of American Solidarity

The 2022 Zócalo Book Prize Winner Sees Hope Beyond America’s ‘Zero-Sum’ Mindset

The 2022 Zócalo Public Square Book Prize event’s return to in-person programming for the first time in three years—and the hopeful chord struck by the winning author—arrived at the ASU …

Not Your Average L.A. Mayor Voter Guide

From South L.A. to the Valley, Angelenos Will Have to Vote Their Values

As the primary election for Los Angeles’ next mayor nears and narrows, Zócalo, together with Creating Our Next L.A., convened a panel to answer the question on every Angeleno’s mind: …

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of California’s Direct Democracy

Keep the Mail-In Ballots. Lose the Money and Special Interests. Give the People More Information

While majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents in California agree that the state’s system of direct democracy is a good thing, they also agree that it needs some fixing, especially …