Culture Trust

Old School

Scott BeauchampFebruary 14, 2017
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dake_crop_square

Anatomist Louis Bolk once called humans sexually mature primate fetuses. (And yes, it sounds suitably disturbing in the original German: einen zur Geschlechtsreife gelangten Primatenfetus.) As Bolk patiently explained, our evolutionary history is something of an arms race between the pelvic size of mothers and the skull size of offspring, which means, in turn, that we’re born half-made and unfinished.

Too Many, Too Many

Thomas MeaneyJanuary 20, 2017
Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny
Narodowy Instytut Audiowizualny

The “European Project,” like the United States, is in need of a regime change. It will be vulnerable to populist condemnation and counteraction until it scraps the elite designs at its origin. In a time when pseudo-revolutions have brought pseudo-regime-change around the world—with Thailand, Ukraine, Egypt, among others, all recently experiencing “revolutions” that turned out to be replacements of one set of elites with another—it is worth thinking about the necessary ingredients for a better, different Europe.

Obama Out

Niela OrrJanuary 13, 2017
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2834357616_e8b58c2a4b_b

This week, the country’s dominant mode of pop-cultural expression was the public speech—something of a throwback trend, given Americans’ patterns of media consumption nowadays. In the smartphone era, we tend not to gather around and listen to our leaders pontificate in the tradition of the FDR fireside chat; the internet and social media provide us with an inexhaustible array of platforms to do so on our own.

The Sad Taste of Success

Rebecca StonerJanuary 06, 2017
Monuments to tragedy. / John Rees
Monuments to tragedy. / John Rees

“For a while,” the New York Times recently observed, “it seemed as if slapping the word ‘girl’ on a title virtually guaranteed best-seller status.” There were the mass-market paperbacks, like Gone Girl, as well as the more highbrow specimens—like Emma Cline’s The Girls.

Be Afraid

Martha BayneDecember 23, 2016
Forsaken Fotos
Forsaken Fotos

In the final minutes of Doomocracy—a piece of immersive theater styled after a haunted house that ran in Brooklyn during the month leading up to Election Day—audience members were confronted with three doors. One was labeled “Clinton,” one “Trump,” and the third “Other.” Pass through the Clinton door and you were greeted by a pantsuited actor in a grinning Hillary mask and urged to don identical headgear.

Just Plain Nasty

Sam KrissOctober 25, 2016
Miles of merchandise. / majunznk
Miles of merchandise. / majunznk

“It wasn’t just Hillary Clinton you insulted,” they say, “it was me. I’m a nasty woman too.”

This was inevitable. As soon as Donald Trump interrupted Clinton in Vegas, in the middle of a deeply boring section on “entitlement reform,” the T-shirts were born.

Barren and Dangerous

Talia LavinOctober 24, 2016
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untitled-1

In the thriller du jour The Girl on the Train, a kind of Rashômon for the bridge-and-tunnel crowd, three female perspectives compete for our attention and sympathy. At its core, Rachel (Emily Blunt) enacts her onscreen alcoholism via smudged eye makeup and artfully blurred tracking shots; tragedy and confusion have enveloped her life in the wake of her estrangement from her husband Tom (Justin Theroux).

Beverly Hillbilly Elegy

David V. JohnsonOctober 14, 2016
Our intrepid reporter takes a journey into his own past. / Filmways
Our intrepid reporter takes a journey into his own past. / Filmways

Imagine if you discovered one day that your father was a closeted polygamist, that your brother secretly sold meth, or that your sister the schoolteacher had an affair with one of her fifth graders. A similarly dark family secret confronted me recently, when I learned that my very own mother, the woman who brought me into the world, planned to cast her ballot in November for Donald J.

The Death of the Autodidact

Ravi ManglaOctober 07, 2016
Billionarie se
Billionarie se

Harry S. Truman seems likely to be our last self-educated president. Currently we are on pace for five consecutive Ivy League-primed commanders-in-chief. Of the twenty-three cabinet or cabinet-rank members in the Obama Administration, thirteen graduated from either Harvard or Yale (and, in the case of Samantha Power and John King, both).

The Snarxist Temptation

Maximillian AlvarezOctober 04, 2016
Max Talbot-Minkin
Max Talbot-Minkin

This is a letter to all those who, like me, have been foolish enough to spend this election season feeling something about it (hopeful, committed, angry, you name it). More than anything, though, it’s a letter to those—particularly those on the left—who chose not to, and who now get a chance to enjoy the bitterest of pleasures: telling the rest of us they told us so.

As We Saw Ourselves

Lottie L. JoinerOctober 04, 2016
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, many years in the making, opened on September 24. / John Sonderman
The National Museum of African American History and Culture, many years in the making, opened on September 24. / John Sonderman

On September 4, 1957, Carlotta Walls LaNier and eight other African American students tried to enter Central High School in Little Rock, but the students, who became known as the Little Rock Nine, were turned away by the Arkansas National Guard.

History and You

Allison MillerSeptember 30, 2016
mrrigen
mrrigen

Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History sidles up to listeners with the faux-charming tagline “Because sometimes the past deserves a second chance.” This plea-cum-disclaimer is an act of charity, perhaps, for a school subject supposedly demanding rote memorization of facts and dates.