Top Gun Is Too Dumb for San Diego

A Thoughtless Film Sequel Reflects Today's America, But Not America's Finest City

Watching Top Gun: Maverick made me feel sad—for San Diego.

San Franciscans have Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, a classic film of cinematic heights and existential falls, to define their city by the bay. Los Angeles explains its fundamental fatalism about corruption and power through Roman Polanski’s nasty noir Chinatown.

But San Diego—a beautiful place full of people who have thought and fought for their country—has long had to settle for 1986’s Top Gun, a dumb, jingoistic, and misogynistic Tom Cruise vehicle about Naval aviators, as its cinematic signature. Sure, San Diego played other …

The Civil War Chaplains Who Shaped Modern American Patriotism | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Civil War Chaplains Who Shaped Modern American Patriotism

In Prisons and Hospitals, Clergy Tended to Fighters While Stoking Familiar Strains of Nationalism

Chaplain Henry S. White, of the Fifth Rhode Island Heavy Artillery, was a devout Christian—and so when he was captured by the Confederacy, he naturally led a service for his …

How the NFL and American Politicians Politicized (and Helped Merchandise) Pro Football

In the '60s and '70s, Gridiron Fans Like Richard Nixon and Bobby Kennedy Embraced the Sport That Wanted Their Attention

In January 1942, as the United States committed itself fully to World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt decided that baseball, then the national pastime, should sustain civilian morale during the …

Why Poor Americans Are So Patriotic

Even in Hard Times, Pride in Country Offers Comfort, Security, and the Hope That Life Will Get Better

Why do the worst-off American citizens love their country so much?

Patriotism may be defined as a belief in the greatness, if not superiority, of one’s country relative to others. Depending …

Why San Diego and The Donald Are on a Collision Course

United by Patriotic Spirit, Divided by Trump, the Border City Could Become a Battleground

If you wish to inspect the front lines of the conflict between Donald Trump and California, head for San Diego.

Yes, it’s true that the Golden State’s fight against the president …

California’s Finest Fourth of July Is in San Diego

The State’s Most American Pueblo Has Fireworks, Flags, and Patriotism Galore

My fellow Californians, declare your independence. Skip your community’s local parade and fireworks show. And head to San Diego, where the truth will be self-evident: No place in California celebrates …