Cowboy Boots Were Made for Everyone

For Over a Century and Half, the Footwear Has Carried the Story of a Nation

“In these anxious days,” wrote Aaron Latham in the original Esquire article that inspired the movie Urban Cowboy, “some Americans have turned for salvation to God, others have turned to fad prophets.” But more and more people, Latham noted, were turning to the cowboy for guidance.

When Latham’s article was published in 1978, only about a quarter of the U.S. population reported that they could trust their government “at least most of the time.” Radically shaken by the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, barreled under stagflation at home, and facing …

More In: Culture Class

Why We Hunger for the Holiday Special

Every December, an Age-Old Format Warms the Winter Night

’Tis the season.

The season for television shows to chug too much eggnog, forget their earthly cares for an hour or so, and jump the proverbial yuletide shark.

The result, whether it’s …

Could True Crime Make the World a Better Place?

The Genre’s Sordid Reputation Goes Back to the 1800s—As Does Its Potential to Inspire Those Disillusioned with the Criminal Justice System

Recreating Mabel Mora’s look for Halloween this year was simple. All it took was a mini skirt, a sweater, some gold hoops, and knitting needles—items I already had lying around …

Francis Barraud's 1898 black and white painting of the dog Nipper looking into an Edison Bell cylinder phonograph.

Her Voice Memos and My Grief

A Friend’s Digital Messages in a Bottle Carry on a Centuries-Long Tradition of Auditory Remembrance

One of my best friends died recently.

It still doesn’t feel real. The last time I saw her was the day after the Fourth of July. Her smile always lit up …

Come on Barbie, Let’s Sell Barbies

American Toy Companies, Led by Mattel, Have Entwined Marketing and Entertainment for Over Half a Century

The year was 1997.

“Un-Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton dominated the radio waves. Wallet chains and JNCO jeans were red-carpet staples. And plastic? It was fantastic.

Cool Shoppin’ Barbie wasn’t just …

Is the Indiana Jones Era Really Over?

Harrison Ford Might Be Hanging Up His Fedora, But the Imperial Theft His Movies Glorify Lingers

In 2009, soon after the fourth Indiana Jones film came out, the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) awarded Harrison Ford with the Bandelier Award for Public Service in Archaeology.

In his …