Here are 12 interesting facts about urban nightlife from Peter C. Baldwin’s article for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, which shows how times have greatly changed and, remarkably, how some things have remained the same.
A century in the making, and now completed by Britain’s David Adjaye, the Smithsonian’s gleeful, gleaming upturned pagoda more than holds its own against the sombre Goliaths of America’s monument heartland.Preparations are in full swing for a historic opening on 24th September 2016 when America's first president of African heritage will ring an equally historic bell. Related.
What I Pledge Allegiance To. "I am a black Mississippian. I am a black American. I pledge to never be passive, patriotic, or grateful in the face of American abuse. I pledge to always thoughtfully bite the self-righteous American hand that thinks it’s feeding us. I pledge to perpetually reckon with the possibility that there will never be any liberty, peace, and justice for all unless we accept that America, like Mississippi, is not clean. Nor is it great. Nor is it innocent." -- Author Kiese Laymon, Professor of English and African American Studies at the University of Mississippi [more inside]
A large part of our attitude toward things is conditioned by opinions and emotions which we unconsciously absorb as children from our environment. In other words, it is tradition—besides inherited aptitudes and qualities—which makes us what we are. We but rarely reflect how relatively small as compared with the powerful influence of tradition is the influence of our conscious thought upon our conduct and convictions.Albert Einstein, 1946
"In the past several weeks I, like countless other New Yorkers and Americans, have found solace in the epic acts of heroism displayed by the firefighters, police officers, and rescue workers who have risked their lives to save "others. My aunt's neighbors displayed a quieter, more quotidian heroism in her final weeks, setting up a cooking schedule so that a fresh dinner would always be delivered, taking turns watching the kids, and even lending my uncle a new coffee pot when his broke." -- Chris Hayes, in an unpublished article from the fall of 2001.
The premise of Jack Hamilton’s deep new study Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination seems like something that’s been on rock history’s tongue for a long time without ever quite leaving it. Chuck Berry, a black man with a guitar, had been a rock and roll archetype in 1960, but by the end of the decade Jimi Hendrix would be seen as rock’s odd man out for being... a black man with a guitar. How did that occur? "Tracing the Rock and Roll Race Problem" an interview in Pitchfork.
Today, the Hillary Clinton campaign launched a new "With Her" podcast, chronicling her historic run for office. Clinton also released her 2015 tax returns while Sen. Tim Kaine released 10 years’ worth of his. With just 87 days until Election Day, 538's "Election Forecast" looks dire for Republican nominee Donald Trump, who continues to rely on wild, desperate claims to capture each news cycle.
When the deputy sheriff’s patrol cruiser pulled up beside him as he walked down Broad Street at sunset last August, Martee Flournoy, a 32-year-old black man, was both confused and rattled. He had reason: In this corner of rural Georgia, African-Americans are arrested at a rate far higher than that of whites. But the deputy had not come to arrest Mr. Flournoy. Rather, he had come to challenge Mr. Flournoy’s right to vote. - From the county and town level to the state level, voter suppression in America is all about race.
In the winter of 1980 The Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (Milwaukee Road) abandoned almost 2000 miles of track between Miles City, Montana and Cedar Falls, Washington -- part of a passenger and freight shipping route known as the “Pacific Coast Extension.” Today, what's left of the Extension is "cut up among different railroads and the best engineered rail line through the rugged Rockies and Cascades is but weeds and trails, a vital transportation artery no longer available to shippers and the American economy." But in August 1980, before it was abandoned, two former locomotive firemen and engineers spent $400 to rescue a track-maintenance railway car, a 1952 M-19 Fairmont Speeder, from a scrap heap in a Maine train yard. They used it to travel the route and took photos along the way. [more inside]
Women Were Included in the Civil Rights Act as a Joke And a racist joke, at that. But working women and black civil rights lawyers had the last laugh when they brought women’s workplace rights to the courts and won.
Previous title holder Joey "Jaws" Chestnut, 32, has eaten his way back to victory by downing 70 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes at this year's Nathan's Famous annual Fourth of July hot dog competitive eating contest -- and it's the most hot dogs and buns ever eaten at the Coney Island event. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut regains title as top dog at eating hot dogs.
15-time WWE World Champion, actor (and Mandarin speaker) John Cena has a message for you this Fourth of July: loving America means loving all Americans.
Enjoy thirteen versions of "The Stars And Stripes Forever", wince with self-recognition at The Oatmeal's America Explained To Non-Americans and schedule a trip to one of ten distinctive July festivals and events. [more inside]
Why ‘Transcending Race’ Is a Lie [The New York Times] Few American athletes have been as widely beloved as Simpson was. Even today, his popularity seems inconceivable. “O. J.: Made in America,” the ESPN “30 for 30” documentary [ESPN] directed by Ezra Edelman that is airing this week, busies itself with the making of the man at the myth’s center and with the country that helped him become a monster. It’s the best thing ESPN has ever produced. And it answers my question: Simpson’s story is that of a black man who came of age during the civil rights era and spent his entire adult life trying to “transcend race” — to claim that strange accolade bestowed on blacks spanning from Pelé to Prince to Nelson Mandela to Muhammad Ali. Which is to say, it’s the story of a halfback trying, and failing, to outrun his own blackness. [more inside]
We used to think that as living standards improved, less work would deliver more income and thus more leisure time. But now, more and more work hours are what everyone's after. Because in today's economy, the alternative to working more isn't enjoying quality time with friends and family. The alternative is nothing. The American workplace has basically become a Thunderdome where the victors are rewarded with long hours. How insane work hours became a mark of American privilege by Jeff Spross in The Week [via NextDraft]
Maybe there’s some woman who has had four abortions and maybe that feels really wrong to you. But my rights are wrapped up with hers, so I have to fight like fuck for her to have as many as she wants—not just for her sake, but for mine, too. If I ever have a daughter, the way things are currently going, she’s going to be fucked if she ever goes through this.From "Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks"
A Mother Jones Investigation: Fully Loaded: Inside the Shadowy World of America's 10 Biggest Gunmakers. [more inside]
Fifty people were killed and at least fifty-three more were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. According to ABC news, "The shooter has been identified by officials as Omar Mateen of St. Lucie County, Florida, an American-born citizen with Afghani parents." Mateen had previously been considered a person of interest by the FBI in 2013 and 2014. Mateen was shot and killed by police. [more inside]
When many lower-income Americans feel isolated and empty, they yearn for physical social networks. All across US, this happens organically at McDonald’s.
The playgrounds weren’t just beautiful. They were quiet. That was what struck me when I first moved to Vienna, Austria. Children there played and laughed, but rarely yelled across the park.
A Marine's Convictions. "After a flawed sexual assault investigation, a Naval Academy instructor fights to prove he has done nothing wrong. But did he?" (content warning: rape) [more inside]
Consumerist: The U.S. has a giant cheese surplus and unfortunately, this is a bad thing. Bloomberg graph: Welcome to Cheese Mountain. (n.b. not a real, visitable, place) nymag: "Our great nation apparently had an inventory of 1.2 billion pounds at the end of March, the highest in 30 years." FoodDive: "Startups may see an opportunity to create marketable products out of inexpensive ingredients, and more cheese-based product startups could pop up and generate interest from investors and major manufacturers." Mashable: "Do your part. Eat more cheese."
Patrick Blanchfield writes for The Revealer: God And Guns
Setting aside both its lyrical merits and ideological upshot, of all responses to Obama’s remarks, Skynyrd’s song had the distinction of being perhaps the most honest – and, as a matter of simple description, the most analytically accurate. For the bare fact of the matter is that whatever you may think of God, or of guns, American history would be unrecognizable without the influence of both. God and machine, ever-in-tandem, producing a nation “strong” not just in the narrow sense of being powerful, but also in the etymological sense of resolute violence, of an abiding legacy of wreckage unparalleled by any other nation on Earth.[more inside]
Meticulously built using 3D camera projections of historical photos, Alexey Zakharov's The Old New World is perhaps the best chance of seeing American cities as they were at the dawn of the 20th century.
White women between 25 and 55 have been dying at accelerating rates over the past decade, a spike in mortality not seen since the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. Why?
The Company That Bribed The World - It was the company with jet-set style and dirty hands. From the tiny principality of Monaco, Unaoil reached across the globe to pay multi-million dollar bribes in oil rich states. The beneficiaries? Some of the biggest companies in England, Europe, America and Australia.
The New York Public Library has digitized the diary of one Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker as part of their Early American Manuscripts Project. Bleecker wrote about her life in New York City for seven years, beginning in 1799 when she was eighteen years old and ending in 1806.
The Lunch Date is a ten-minute short film directed by Adam Davidson. It won the 1990 Short Film Palm d'Or at Cannes, the 1991 Academy Award for Best Short Subject, and in 2013 was placed in the Library of Congress. h/t Open Culture’s list of free movies
ESPN estimates nearly a third of young Americans play soccer, so why can’t a sports powerhouse of 320m people produce a Messi – or even a João Moutinho?
The Forgotten Politics Behind Contra's Name by Matt Morey [Kill Screen]
Do a quick Google search of “contra.” Browsing the first few pages, you should see a saturation of links about the videogame—the now-primary version of the word—sprinkled with other definitions. Next in the deck is contra as preposition: “against, contrary, or opposed to,” suitingly enough. Then, a “contemporary New York cuisine” restaurant; contra-dancing, a folksy flirty form adaptable to many musical styles; the second album by Vampire Weekend; and eventually, peeking through before being closed out again, you’ll stumble upon the elephant in the room.
"Coming from a background in Political Science, I find the rapid changes in social structure unique to this country an abundant source for creating pictures that stand as visually and historically interesting." [more inside]
Almost a quarter of the votes in the last US presidential election were cast by women without spouses, up three points from just four years earlier. They are almost 40% of the African-American population, close to 30% of the Latino population, and about a third of all young voters. The most powerful voter this year is The Single American Woman.
National Geographic's Robert Krulwich discusses George Washington’s Oh-So-Mysterious Hair (which was red, and not a wig!). Includes a set of delightfully-illustrated instructions for replicating Washington's signature look, just in case you want to look like a dollar bill.
Zoë Quinn explains “why [she] just dropped the harassment charges [against] the man who started GamerGate.” (via Ellen Pao’s Twitter.)
Think you can tell a Democrat from a Republican? You are presented with a bill from 2005-2014, and have to decide if that bill was sponsored by a Democrat or a Republican. Some are obvious, some are tricky, and some are really surprising! [via mefi projects]
Critics warned that Citizens United would bring about a new era of corporate influence in politics, with companies and businesspeople buying elections to promote their financial interests. So far, that hasn’t happened much… Instead, a small group of billionaires has flooded races with ideologically tinged contributions. Zachary Mider profiles the enigmatic Bob Mercer, the single biggest donor of the current campaign, for Bloomberg: “What Kind of Man Spends Millions to Elect Ted Cruz?” [more inside]
Rural neighborhood churches, once the heart of many Iowan communities, are disappearing along with local schools. The result is a tear in the social fabric of life in the Midwest. “There is no glue holding these communities together ... and it’s making us forget how to neighbor. ... If someone is working all the time and has less disposable income, where can they go for help? It used to be church. Now?” ... “you can’t survive unless you become a neighbor and then let other people neighbor you in turn.”
In The American Prospect, Sociologist Richard Alba discusses two reasons why the Census-projected relative demographic decline of White Americans may prove illusory.
Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories by Colleen Gillard [The Atlantic] Their history informs fantastical myths and legends, while American tales tend to focus on moral realism.
If Harry Potter and Huckleberry Finn were each to represent British versus American children’s literature, a curious dynamic would emerge: In a literary duel for the hearts and minds of children, one is a wizard-in-training at a boarding school in the Scottish Highlands, while the other is a barefoot boy drifting down the Mississippi, beset by con artists, slave hunters, and thieves. One defeats evil with a wand, the other takes to a raft to right a social wrong. Both orphans took over the world of English-language children’s literature, but their stories unfold in noticeably different ways.
By the dawn of the 19th century, the deadliest killer in human history, tuberculosis, had killed one in seven of all the people who had ever lived. The disease struck America with a vengeance, ravaging communities and touching the lives of almost every family. The battle against the deadly bacteria had a profound and lasting impact on the country. It shaped medical and scientific pursuits, social habits, economic development, western expansion, and government policy. Yet both the disease and its impact are poorly understood: in the words of one writer, tuberculosis is our "forgotten plague." [54:11]
Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays "This special features Lidia and six celebrity guests—Christopher Walken, Ann Curry, Padma Lakshmi, Rita Moreno, Marcus Samuelson and Carlo Ponti, Jr. as they share their immigrant experiences and holiday traditions."
Killer Mike interviews Senator Bernie Sanders at The SWAG Shop for about an hour, in six parts:
- Economic Freedom
- Social Justice
- Free Health Care: It Ain’t A Big Deal
- This Country Was Started AS An Act Of Political Protest
- Democrats Win When People Vote
Living a Frontier Dream on the Outskirts of China’s Capital by Andrew Jacobs [New York Times]
Welcome to “Hometown America,” as Jackson Hole is called in Chinese, a mammoth real-estate venture that is an exacting pastiche of an American frontier town, albeit one with a wine-tasting pavilion, a spa and security guards dressed as park rangers, who salute every passing car. Modest entry-level homes sell for $625,000. Larger abodes — described by Jackson Hole’s developers as castles — have an attached vineyard and fetch nearly $8 million. The developer, Ju Yi International, says that more than 90 percent of the 1,500 homes have already been sold. Occupying more than a square mile of arid land in northeast Hebei Province, Jackson Hole has plenty of room to expand.