How 1970s Pop Culture Cemented Today’s Partisan Divisions

Journalist Ronald Brownstein Explores the Creative Explosion in Los Angeles That Prefigures Our Current Politics

Longtime political journalist Ronald Brownstein paid a visit to Zócalo yesterday to speak about his new book, Rock Me On the Water: 1974- The Year Los Angeles Transformed Movies, Music, Television, and Politics.

In conversation with Los Angeles Times columnist Sandy Banks, Brownstein, who is a senior editor at the Atlantic and senior political analyst at CNN, explored the complexities of the early 1970s, and the era’s relationship to the mainstream social engagement of pop culture today.

The discussion, titled “How Did Politics and Pop Culture Become One?,” captured a moment of …

Quarantine Won’t Be Forever, but Pandemic Humor Is Timeless  | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Quarantine Won’t Be Forever, but Pandemic Humor Is Timeless 

A Century Before TikToks and Memes, the 1918 Flu Inspired Rhyming Poetry and Skeptical Satire

Early in the coronavirus pandemic, as society shut down and social distancing became the new norm, user-created media content about life during the pandemic exploded. Today’s technology makes it easy …

Television and Film Have a Role to Play in Repairing a Fractured America

Despite the Bitterness Splintering the Nation, History Shows We’re “All in the Family"

In American memory, if not always in reality, television and film once played a unifying role. During the Great Depression, decadent Hollywood productions delivered welcome diversion. At the dawn …

Volkswagen’s Long, Strange Trip Through Pop Culture

How Did the Sensible German Automobiles Come to Symbolize Both Counterculture Cool and American Family Fun?

It looks like Volkswagen is going to owe billions for the illegal sleight of engineering hand that enabled its once-vaunted diesel car engine to cheat on emissions tests. The German …

Does Blink-182 Know Something California’s Governor Jerry Brown Doesn’t?

While Politicians Keep Trumpeting the State’s Success, This Summer’s Songs and Films Sound Skeptical

How is California doing these days? The answer may depend on whom you believe: Governor Brown or Blink-182.

This summer has exposed a divide in perception of California, between the political …

With Free State of Jones, Hollywood’s Civil War Comes Closer to History’s

Pop Culture May Finally Be Ready to Surrender the Myth of a Noble, Confederate Lost Cause

The setting is the piney woods of Civil War Jones County, Mississippi. The white farmer Newt Knight leads a band of deserters against Confederate forces. An enslaved woman, Rachel, lends …