Why It Matters That Star Trek Is Confronting Eugenics

For Decades the Dangerous Pseudoscience Was Heavily Censored on Screen—While Offscreen It Continued Influencing Policy

In a meme that’s been floating around online recently, William Shatner asks, “When did Star Trek get all political?”

The joke is on Shatner, or rather on an old tweet from the actor, who is best known for playing Captain James Tiberius Kirk in the original series. Considering that Star Trek has never not been political, responses to the meme have predictably flooded social media. (The best being “1966”—the year Star Trek debuted.)

Today, there is more Star Trek on air than ever before, courtesy of streaming service Paramount+. Amid this renaissance, …

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Why Americans Love a Dance Challenge

From the Early 20th-Century Grizzly Bear to Lizzo’s Latest, Social Dancing Has Always Been Silly and Subversive

In what already feels like a different year—but was really just a few weeks ago—Reese Witherspoon, Selena Gomez, and just about every single person on the internet was posting a …

tktk | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Elvis Is an American Tragedy. Elvis Is Just Tragic

The Singer's Story Has a Lot to Say About This ‘Pitiful Country’—But Baz Luhrmann's Biopic Ain’t Nothin’ But a Dog

There’s much to be said about Elvis Presley, the quote-unquote King of Rock ‘n’ Roll who shook the country as a white kid singing Black America’s music.

But despite its nearly …

The Buffet Is Dead. Long Live the Buffet!

The Swedes Have the Smorgasbord; Americans, Vegas and Sizzler. Can All-You-Can-Eat Return Responsibly?

Growing up, few things loomed quite as large as a trip to the buffet. I say the buffet because the chafing dishes all blur together—part and parcel of one great, …

You’re No Trickster, Elon Musk | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

You’re No Trickster, Elon Musk

The Real ‘Agent of Chaos’ Does More Than Disrupt the Status Quo

The term “agent of chaos” has been rattling around in the back of my brain since a billionaire announced his intention to acquire a “sporadically profitable social company,” to quote …

Why Do We Love ‘Choose-Your-Own-Adventure’ Stories?

From the I Ching to an Upcoming Netflix Romcom, Interactive Fiction Dares Us to Decide What Happens Next

The new Netflix original horror movie Choose or Die turns on an interactive computer game called “CURS>R,” which resembles a classic ’80s adventure program in which a user inputs text …