How Did Politics and Pop Culture Become One? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

How Did Politics and Pop Culture Become One?

In 1974, American politics and pop culture intersected as never before. Norman Lear’s TV shows considered the depths of racism as Tom Bradley completed his first year in office as L.A.’s first Black mayor. Musicians like Linda Rondstadt and politicians like Jerry Brown incorporated counterculture notes into mainstream performances. And, as Watergate consumed the final days of the Nixon presidency, …

What is the Meaning of Life? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What is the Meaning of Life?

“I intend to live forever, or die trying,” said Groucho Marx. Distinguishing between life and its end may be easy for comedians, even immortal ones. But the task has proven surprisingly hard for biologists, who know too much about nature’s bewildering diversity. Modern science, for all its breakthroughs, has yet to produce a standard definition for life. What does it …

Can Boyle Heights Save America? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can Boyle Heights Save America?

Boyle Heights may be divided up by L.A. freeways and thoroughfares, but its people have a remarkable record of maintaining solidarity across racial and ethnic lines. What explains the ability of Boyle Heights residents to stick together while constantly integrating immigrants and incorporating newcomers? How has Boyle Heights kept its distinctive identity in the face of social upheaval, political transformation, …

How Do Our Cities Prepare for the Post-Apocalypse? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Can We Still Find the Good in the World?

It feels like such a dark time. The planet is burning with hatred, disease, and environmental degradation. And, between the confusing nature of our societies and our own biases, traumas, and privileges, it’s become increasingly difficult to be sure we will know the good when we see it. What does it mean, when the bad urgently demands our attention and …