952 posts tagged with America.
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"His mother was an ice-cold wind; his pa a fiery rock."

The Highwayman (1987-88) was a 60-minute sci-fi/action tv series from Glen A. Larson starring Sam J. Jones (1980's Flash Gordon). Jones played a federal marshall with a high-tech 18-wheeler "supertruck" that had advanced weaponry, the ability to turn invisible and a cab that turned into a helicopter. He patrolled America's highways and fought crime in the futuristic world of... 1992. A pilot movie, Terror on the Blacktop (starring Claudia Christian, G. Gordon Liddy, Jimmy Smits and Rowdy Roddy Piper) kicked off the series, which lasted nine episodes before driving off into the cancellation sunset. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 13, 2015 - 54 comments

The Road from Westphalia

Jessica T. Matthews reviews Henry Kissinger's "World Order" and Bret Stephen's "America In Retreat":
Almost from the beginning of its history, America has struggled to find a balance in its foreign policy between narrowly promoting its own security and idealistically serving the interests of others; between, as we’ve tended to see it in shorthand, Teddy Roosevelt’s big stick and the ideals of Woodrow Wilson. Just as consistently, the US has gone through periods of embracing a leading international role for itself and times when Americans have done all they could to turn their backs on the rest of the world. Two new books now join this never-ending debate.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 30, 2015 - 20 comments

"fabrics and furnitures and experiences to which I will never belong"

I Went to a Launch Party for a Chair - Nicole Dieker for The Billfold
posted by psoas on Mar 11, 2015 - 36 comments

People do not naturally assume that my family is a family.

Friends often try to assure me that people mean well, urging me to go easy on them, to be gracious, to give people the benefit of the doubt. "People don't mean to be offensive," they tell me. "They just don't know how to say it without coming across that way."

What these friends don't understand is that when the act of defining your family structure becomes an expected part of every day of your entire life, you grow tired of being gracious. It's exhausting to have strangers view your life as an up-for-grabs educational experience. For my kid, it's to constantly hear the underlying message: "Your life, your family, doesn't make sense to me. Someone needs to explain it to me. You owe me an explanation."

It's the people who live comfortably inside majorities who tend to discount any sort of commentary from minorities as being "overly sensitive." And I imagine that it's hard to step back and grasp the fact that when the world you occupy is built to accommodate you, you fit inside the boxes. You make sense. You are expected.
Nishta Mehra writes about her family's experience with learning how to navigate the landscape of interracial adoption in a "post-racial" America: Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair.
posted by divined by radio on Mar 4, 2015 - 51 comments

"In Chinese, mei-mei means sister."

Best friends forever: Separated in China, 2 girls reunite in U.S.
Mae and Mai spent the first years of their lives in the same orphanage in southern China, before they were adopted by families on opposite coasts of the United States. They were inseparable in China. As close as sisters. They ate together and played together, and even after they were moved to separate foster families in the same town, they went to school together and often shared meals at one girl’s home. Adoption may have saved their lives, but they both lost someone they loved.

This week, four years after the best friends were split up, the girls reunited in Oakland, where they’re receiving treatment for the same genetic blood disease at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland.

posted by Lexica on Mar 2, 2015 - 6 comments

Kanye West vs. white mediocrity

Kanye takes more heat than anyone. Post-Grammys and "SNL" 40, we're finally seeing his critics for what they are. Social media has changed the game a lot in the past six years. There’s a lot of voices–lumped under names like “Black Twitter”–who have begun to consistently speak out to fill in the missing pieces from stories like the Kanye West Saga, to poke holes in pat narratives like “Kanye West is an egotist” or “Kanye West is a maniac.” [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Feb 17, 2015 - 229 comments

Reginald D. Hunter's Songs of the South

In a three-part series on BBC2 in the UK over February and March, Reginald D. Hunter travels across the (USA) south and explores the music and culture. There is a bunch of intriguing clips in advance. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 16, 2015 - 7 comments

The Color Line Murders

The Equal Justice Initiative has released a report (pdf) on the history of lynchings in the United States, the result of five years of research. The authors compiled an inventory of 3,959 victims of “racial terror lynchings” in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950 -- documenting more than 700 additional victims, which places the number of murders more than 20 percent higher than previously reported. "The process is intended... to force people to reckon with the narrative through-line of the country’s vicious racial history, rather than thinking of that history in a short-range, piecemeal way." Map. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 11, 2015 - 58 comments

While you mouth-breathers are at Chipotle I’m rockin’ the omakase

On the eve of the premiere of his sitcom, Eddie Huang (previously) aka Rich Homie Huang aka Sars Blackmon aka the Human Panda gets profiled by Wesley Yang (previously) in the New York Times. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Feb 3, 2015 - 5 comments

"This is not Guantanamo Bay"

A San Francisco deputy public defender was handcuffed and arrested at the Hall of Justice after she objected to city police officers questioning her client outside a courtroom, an incident that her office called outrageous and police officials defended as appropriate. [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Jan 28, 2015 - 110 comments

And Canada's most racist city is....

Maclean's brings to the forefront the dark reality faced by the country's aboriginal population. Maclean's article on Winnipeg has generated a lot of buzz in the city and beyond, and a mixed reaction. What's more, the statistics speak to those still tempted to claim the problem isn't as bad as America's race issues.
posted by xm on Jan 25, 2015 - 23 comments

What's Wrong With 'All Lives Matter'?

When we are taking about racism, and anti-black racism in the United States, we have to remember that under slavery black lives were considered only a fraction of a human life, so the prevailing way of valuing lives assumed that some lives mattered more, were more human, more worthy, more deserving of life and freedom, where freedom meant minimally the freedom to move and thrive without being subjected to coercive force. But when and where did black lives ever really get free of coercive force? One reason the chant "Black Lives Matter" is so important is that it states the obvious but the obvious has not yet been historically realized. So it is a statement of outrage and a demand for equality, for the right to live free of constraint, but also a chant that links the history of slavery, of debt peonage, segregation, and a prison system geared toward the containment, neutralization and degradation of black lives, but also a police system that more and more easily and often can take away a black life in a flash all because some officer perceives a threat.
George Yancy interviews Judith Butler for NYT: What's Wrong With 'All Lives Matter'? [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jan 13, 2015 - 24 comments

"We're also thankful for Mississippi"

50 Americans Summarize Their Home State In One Perfectly Sarcastic Sentence [SLCB]
posted by Jacqueline on Dec 31, 2014 - 90 comments

"How can they possibly believe this shit?"

Piety and Plenty: The Buying and Selling of Christmas
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 15, 2014 - 55 comments

Radio Raheem Is a Broken Record

Do the Right Thing wasn’t ahead of its time. It was behind its time, and it’s ahead of ours. It came out in the summer of 1989, six months before Driving Miss Daisy, but if you can imagine it without hip-hop, it could have come out in 1939 alongside Gone with the Wind; without color, in 1929 with The Jazz Singer; without sound, 1915 and The Birth of a Nation. If you updated the soundtrack and the fashion a bit and released it next week, critics would praise its timeliness and how its depiction of police brutality and racial tension captures the angry zeitgeist surrounding the recent killings of unarmed black civilians by police officers. Some might even predict that it would ultimately end up feeling dated, as some did 25 years ago. If only. - Lessons from Do the Right Thing on Its 25th Anniversary
posted by Artw on Dec 13, 2014 - 34 comments

"the family is the unit of cultural preservation."

"Eat Turkey, Become American." (SLNYTimes essay)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 27, 2014 - 10 comments

Hiding the Hollywood Sign through Garmin 'n Google

You're not really supposed to try to find this sign up-close in person, you're supposed to look at it from a distance. Arguments begin on how short that distance can be... [more inside]
posted by aydeejones on Nov 24, 2014 - 43 comments

We're hurting innocent people...but we're helping the economy

"Black Friday", a new flick from the makers of "Daylight Saving"
posted by Renoroc on Nov 23, 2014 - 16 comments

Somewhere in-between Chop Suey and Pork Roll, the truth lies.

Recently on The Blue we've had discussions about American Chop Suey and New Jersey Pork Roll, but what about other regional favorites, like Lutefisk, Scrapple, or the French Dip Sandwich? Just in time for Thanksgiving, here are a few links to get you started:

posted by Room 641-A on Nov 17, 2014 - 97 comments

You wanna understand America, don't come here — go to the movies

Rich Hall’s How The West Was Lost (What started with Red River mostly ended with Blazing Saddles; from 20th C. cultural behemoth to object of satire; the Western genre and the archetype of the cowboy.)

There’s a tradition of Brits coming to the US to explain this young country and expose the folks back home to America. From Charles William Janson and Thomas Ashe on through Stephen Fry and Jeremy Clarkson, foreigners with funny accents and strange vocabulary have set foot on American soil in an effort to explore the place and its people. But for the Brits to truly understand America, two things might be necessary: an American expat and (more importantly) MOVIES! Because an insider’s take on Hollywood’s misportrayal, mythmaking, stereotypes, historical ignorance, misunderstanding, bullshit, and skewed lens through which we see (and are shown) ourselves as Americans can get pretty interesting as well as informative.

Stuff like: [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Nov 16, 2014 - 19 comments

“I just don’t buy into the nonsense about discrimination.”

The Whiteness Project is a multiplatform investigation into how Americans who identify as “white” experience their ethnicity.
posted by chunking express on Oct 15, 2014 - 103 comments

the dangerous precision worship

Among a rising chorus of folks speaking out about problems caused by America's obsession with football at every level, author (and fan) Steve Almond's voice stands out the loudest. His new book Against Football argues that "our allegiance to football legitimizes and even fosters within us a tolerance for violence, greed, racism, and homophobia." In a nutshell "Fans should stop watching." Needless to say the book has provoked a strong reaction in fans (and defensive sportswriters), most notably in New York Mag, with Jonathan Chait's personal story of how football made him a better person: "In Defense of Male Aggression: What Liberals Get Wrong About Football". [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Oct 13, 2014 - 170 comments

Mine tastes like a doctor's office.

Irish People Taste American Junk Food for the First Time
posted by Evilspork on Sep 30, 2014 - 173 comments

"something like a sense of despair often took hold of me"

The Colour of Our Shame: 3 AM Magazine interviews Chris Lebron [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 29, 2014 - 3 comments

Thinking about disease

Ebola and the Construction of Fear by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 29, 2014 - 74 comments

Reconciling the Second Amendment with Public Safety Concerns

Gun Wars: the struggle over gun rights and regulation in America, in the aftermath of the Newtown school shootings and the ongoing congressional stalemate over federal gun legislation. An investigative report from "29 students from 16 journalism schools, as well as an experienced staff of editors" for Carnegie-Knight News21. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 11, 2014 - 62 comments

NFL Fandom Map

A county-by-county breakdown of NFL fandom across the United States, or: nowhere is home for a Jets fan.
posted by saladin on Sep 5, 2014 - 80 comments

The Original Tea Partier Was an Atheist

Politico: "Young called his creed 'the religion of nature' and 'the religion of nature’s God.' And he made abundantly clear that, in his own mind, this radical philosophical religion was the axis on which the Revolution turned. For him, the project to free the American people from the yoke of King George III was part of a grander project to liberate the world from the ghostly tyranny of supernatural religion." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Sep 2, 2014 - 26 comments

The Big Country/Run

College Football has returned, and Spencer Hall has .gifs and feelings as accompaniment.
posted by DGStieber on Sep 1, 2014 - 8 comments

ICI FINIT LA CVLTVRE ALLEMANDE

On this day one hundred years ago, Imperial German soldiers who had peacefully arrived in the Belgian city of Leuven (Fr: Louvain), having taken hostages and accepted the parole of its mayor on behalf of its citizens, without warning set fire to the city and massacred its inhabitants forever altering the city, its university's library, and the course of the war.
  • Belgian Judicial Report on the Sacking of Louvain in August 1914
  • The destruction and rebuilding of the Louvain Library: claim and counterclaim
  • [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Aug 25, 2014 - 13 comments

    "Don’t shoot me"

    Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson? - According to the police of Fergusson, Missouri it was because he reached for an officer's weapon, necessitating that he be shot multiple times as he ran away empty handed. Eyewitness tell a different story. Whatever happened the killing has prompted demonstrations and looting. Ferguson police responded in full force, firing teargas and wooden rounds into crowds of protestors and sealing the area off from the media. In the wake of the tragedy questions of racial profiling, the paramilitarization of police and media depictions of black shooting victims have been raised. Meanwhile the shooter has not been named to preserve his safety.
    posted by Artw on Aug 12, 2014 - 3381 comments

    "An awfully classy hook"

    The Wonder Years. An Oral History.
    posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2014 - 21 comments

    Do not drive into smoke

    The Worst Highways in America. "There are bad, bad roads in America. None have I-40's ability to warp time itself, and turn what should be a three-hour drive with traffic into a creeping space-time anomaly broken only by the words "hey, there's the exit for Bucksnort." I am convinced a person could extend their lifespan near infinitely and live to biblical ages provided they drove only on this stretch of I-40. No one will ever prove this, because no one would subject themselves to this even in the name of near-immortality. They would rather die, and wisely so."
    posted by HumanComplex on Aug 5, 2014 - 155 comments

    The American Room - Behind the nation’s closed doors, with YouTube.

    It’s a standardized room. "Like Diet Coke or iPhones, American rooms are a kind of product, built as quickly and cheaply as possible to a standardized specification. " Article describing the standard American room as viewed through youtube videos.
    posted by amitai on Jul 30, 2014 - 51 comments

    Our nation’s preschool-to-prison pipeline

    "My son has been suspended five times. He’s 3." [more inside]
    posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 25, 2014 - 116 comments

    The Modern American Man, Charted

    "This summer, All Things Considered is looking at the lives of men in America. By some measures, not much has changed over the past few decades — girls still do better in school, and men still make more money. In other areas, the shifts are profound." They made some charts.
    posted by cmchap on Jul 18, 2014 - 51 comments

    Fear is the highest fence.

    After years of debates, notoriously contentious public meetings, and the looming specter of a civil rights lawsuit, a federal mediation agreement between the Town of Hamden and the City of New Haven, Connecticut resulted in the removal of a 10-foot chain-link fence that separated New Haven's West Rock public housing projects from Hamden's Woodin Street neighborhood for nearly half a century. NYT's Benjamin Mueller reports: In Connecticut, Breaking a Barrier Between a Suburb and Public Housing. [more inside]
    posted by divined by radio on Jul 14, 2014 - 9 comments

    Well-honed weltschmerz and mesmerizing monotony

    Lana Del Rey: Why a Death-Obsessed Pop Siren Is Perfect for Late-Stage Capitalist America (mirrored at Salon.com)
    Lana Del Rey is pushing the envelope, and here's her message, delivered with a languid pout: 21st-century America is a rotting corpse, deadlocked culturally, economically, and politically. Since there's nothing we can do about it, let's enjoy ourselves as the body-politic disintegrates, perhaps by savoring some toothsome bites of the past: candy-colored Super 8 films, juicy jazz tunes and clips of sultry screen sirens. The future is a retrospective.

    All of this echoes the ancient danse macabre, the dance of death, the motif that sprang out of the medieval horrors of war and the plague. It's a plea for fevered amusement while you've still got time.

    posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 11, 2014 - 60 comments

    Rolling Coal: Everything Else About It Is Pretty Good

    Slate: "Prius Repellent is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era’s great conservative subcultures: the men and women who “roll coal.” For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver “trick the engine” into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid “rice burners,” and a stellar source of truck memes." [more inside]
    posted by porn in the woods on Jul 6, 2014 - 134 comments

    Mine is the beige house. No, the other one. No, the one next to that.

    In his new book Ciphers, German photographer Christopher Gielen (previously) reveals haunting images of our endlessly repetitive development through aerial views of American urban sprawl. [more inside]
    posted by Room 641-A on Jul 5, 2014 - 50 comments

    Muskrat Love: "Every time I sing this song, I think of Henry Kissinger"

    Toni Tennille informed an audience that she and the Captain performed Muskrat Love at the dinner in honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (PDF) as part of the Bicentennial celebrations at the White House, much to the intrigue and/or confusion of Henry Kissinger. Though there doesn't seem to be any video of the performance, there is some photographic evidence (description of photos (PDF)). The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum tumblr has a post on the event, with a higher quality image of Captain and Tennillee in action. For better or worse, there aren't any people in muskrat-type costumes to be seen.
    posted by filthy light thief on Jul 5, 2014 - 31 comments

    Why the Civil Rights Act couldn’t pass today

    "Although the Civil Rights Act passed the Senate by 73-27, with 27 out of 33 Republican votes, one of the six Republicans who voted against it was Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who weeks later became the GOP’s presidential standard-bearer and started the long process by which the Party of Lincoln became the party of white backlash, especially in the South. Today, Republicans hold complete legislative control in all 11 states of the Old Confederacy for only the second time since Reconstruction." [more inside]
    posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 2, 2014 - 19 comments

    "It's a privilege to want less."

    The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in farmer's markets, healthful cooking, and dismantling the industrial food system, spurred in large part by Michael Pollan's 2006 book The Omnivore's Dilemma. But the "food movement" of today tends to be dominated by affluent urbanites, and messages from Brooklyn and San Francisco often don't reach--or resonate with--the majority of places in between.
    Guernica contributor Meara Sharma interviews food journalists Jane Black and Brent Cunningham about the juxtaposition of American working-class culture, Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, and the idealized pastoral leanings of the modern-day food movement: Servings of Small Change. [more inside]
    posted by divined by radio on Jul 2, 2014 - 104 comments

    Water is a Human Right

    Welcome to Detroit's water war – in which upward of 150,000 customers, late on bills that have increased 119 percent in the last decade, are now threatened with shut-offs. Local activists estimate this could impact nearly half of Detroit's mostly poor and black population – between 200,000 and 300,000 people. [more inside]
    posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 26, 2014 - 39 comments

    Garbage Everywhere

    What refuse in India's streets reveals about America’s hidden trash problem
    posted by infini on Jun 22, 2014 - 43 comments

    Miss American Dream

    How Britney Spears went to Vegas and became a feminist role model. No, really. [more inside]
    posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 13, 2014 - 53 comments

    But they hadn't destroyed it.

    On Tuesday, a group of Islamic militants that were thrown out of al-Qaeda for being too violent took over Iraq's second largest city. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (abbreviated as ISIS) kicked the Iraqi Army out of Mosul, a wealthy city in northwestern Iraq. Today, ISIS secured another northern city, Tikrit. It currently controls an area "the size of Belgium," according to Jason Lyall, a Yale University political scientist who studies insurgencies. [more inside]
    posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 11, 2014 - 215 comments

    "I think about race and racism every day of my life."

    The Racism Beat - Cord Jefferson writes about the repetitive mental strain of being a writer on racism.
    posted by Conspire on Jun 10, 2014 - 14 comments

    "Just because we have the best hammer"

    Presdient Obama gave a speech (video, transcript) at the United States Military Academy last month that outlined American foreign policy.
    Reaction has been mixed. [more inside]
    posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 10, 2014 - 57 comments

    40 Maps about food in America

    It says a lot more about America (United States) than food.
    posted by rmhsinc on Jun 10, 2014 - 38 comments

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