Before Taylor and Travis, There Was Helen and John

She Was an Actress. He Was a Shortstop. We Can Learn From the Press Parade Around This 19th-Century Power Couple

Everyone who’s the least bit plugged into the NFL or popular culture, or has spent at least five minutes out of a coma the past few months, knows why the Kansas City broadcast keeps cutting to the Chiefs’ luxury suite. Shots of Taylor Swift cheering for Travis Kelce are now seamlessly part of television coverage. Is it love? Is it a publicity stunt? Why does the media follow their every move so breathlessly—and why is America following along?

Only time might answer the first two questions, but history can help with …

Tupac Was an Imperfect Prophet | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Tupac Was an Imperfect Prophet

A Contested Figure, the Rapper Championed a ‘Thug Life’ Meant to Liberate Black Americans

Hailed as a truth-teller and a champion of Black empowerment, disparaged as a hoodlum with a hot temper whose lyrics glorify violent behavior, the late rapper and actor Tupac Shakur …

LeBron, Take Your Ball and Go Home

California Depends Too Much on Imported Stars Like King James. We Need to Develop More Young Prospects.

Go back home to Ohio, LeBron James.

Yes, as a fan, I’m happy to see the world’s greatest basketball player relocate to California and join my favorite team, the Los Angeles …

The Murder That Made Us Celebrity-Obsessed

In 1922, the Mysterious Death of Director William Desmond Taylor Sparked America's Hunger for Scandal

I was 9 years old when I first learned about the murder of 1920s movie director William Desmond Taylor. Taylor’s killing was one of several scandals—others included the “Fatty” Arbuckle …

Where Would L.A. Be Without Al Cowlings?

Twenty Years Ago, He and His Ford Bronco Saved O.J. Simpson’s Life. The Trial That Followed Changed Us All.

Twenty years ago this month, Al Cowlings drove his friend—the football star, broadcaster, actor, and soon-to-be-accused murderer O.J. Simpson—around the freeways of greater Los Angeles in a white Ford Bronco, …

Commencement Speeches Are For Suckers

Students Want Rap Stars. Parents Want Astronauts. Donors Want Publicity. What’s a College President to Do?

College presidents—and I was one for 22 years—have few more thankless jobs than procuring (and that’s the right word) commencement speakers.

The expectation of graduates and their families is that a …