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Bill of Mights

“Republicans always saw libertarians as nice to have around in case they wanted to score some weed, and we always knew where there was a party. And for a while it made sense to bunk up with them. But after a while, it would be like, ‘So if we agree on limited government, how about opening the borders?’ No, that’s crazy. ‘How about legalizing drugs? How about giving gays equal rights?’ No, come on, be serious. And so I thought, There’s nothing in this for me.”

From Silicon Valley technologists to NYU postgrads, the ‘Libertarian Moment’ may have finally arrived.
posted by four panels on Aug 7, 2014 - 309 comments

HD Available

Test Pattern: Downscaling 2997fps 10Min. Reviews are streaming in for Test Pattern: Downscaling 2997fps. Test Pattern: Downscaling 2997fps. Test Pattern: Downscaling 2997fps. Test Pattern: Downscaling 2997fps. Satisfied viewers are saying "Not as good as the book" but still a "A start to finish THRILL RIDE!" and "Deeply. Riveting". It's currently the most popular Netlix movie on Instant Watcher and destined to be a classic.
posted by four panels on Jul 20, 2014 - 20 comments

I get all steamed up

I love your poise
Of perfect thighs
When they hold me
in paradise ...
If I had you today, I’d kiss and
fondle you into my arms and
hold you there until you said
‘Warren, oh, Warren’

Warren G. Harding, perhaps the worst chief executive in U.S. history, was a poet to longtime mistress and possible German spy Carrie Fulton Phillips.
posted by four panels on Jul 7, 2014 - 48 comments

like greyhounds in the slips

Why Men Love War. "What people can't understand is how much fun Vietnam was. I loved it. I loved it, and I can't tell anybody."
posted by four panels on May 24, 2014 - 97 comments

Your Culture Is Stupid And I Hate It

Transcontinental Yelling With Jo (An Englishwoman) and Mallory (An American)
posted by Joe in Australia on Mar 15, 2014 - 89 comments

live to your last day

Last Day for Last Abortion Clinic in the Rio Grande. “Honestly, I think they’ll go south of the border, if they have to,” said a 23-year-old woman who was one of the last patients to be seen at the clinic and who traveled to San Antonio for her abortion last month. “It’s cheaper and it’s closer. To go to San Antonio is so much more of a hassle and costs a lot more.”
posted by four panels on Mar 6, 2014 - 81 comments

Foreigners Abroad.

11 French Tourist Tips For Visiting America. Tips For Russians. Tips For Japanese Visitors.
posted by The Whelk on Mar 6, 2014 - 162 comments

The Big Chill

Why American refrigerators are so huge, and what it says about our culture.
posted by reenum on Oct 6, 2013 - 265 comments

myths of heaven

Joan Roosa, wife of Apollo 14 Lunar Module Pilot Stu Roosa, recalled "I was at a party one night in Houston. A woman standing behind me, who had no idea who I was, said 'I've slept with every astronaut who has been to the Moon.' ...I said 'Pardon me, but I don't think so'".
posted by four panels on Oct 4, 2013 - 53 comments

Good Job

In a “third-world” city, a self-styled tour guide might be tipped in return for leading a group of sightseers. In Italy, a Neapolitan street urchin might offer to protect a parked car in return for a gratuity.

In both cases, the inference is clear: if you don’t employ me, I will hurt you. This thinly veiled extortion is the subtext to much tipping: if the propertied individual doesn’t comply with the demands of the semi-employed, something terrible might happen to them or their things. So tipping began essentially as a way to stave off violence by the indigent, forgotten people; it is a social contract adhered to by the privileged class who fear and disdain the less fortunate and are aware of the failure of their own class to create equity.
posted by four panels on Sep 18, 2013 - 42 comments

"Elites preying on the weak, the gullible, the marginal, the poor."

"We condition the poor and the working class to go to war. We promise them honor, status, glory, and adventure. We promise boys they will become men. We hold these promises up against the dead-end jobs of small-town life, the financial dislocations, credit card debt, bad marriages, lack of health insurance, and dread of unemployment. The military is the call of the Sirens, the enticement that has for generations seduced young Americans working in fast food restaurants or behind the counters of Walmarts to fight and die for war profiteers and elites."
-- War is Betrayal. Persistent Myths of Combat, an essay by Chris Hedges of Truthdig. Responses within. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 9, 2013 - 57 comments

Capturing America

In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

...never believing the people who think they have you figured out.

"It's his charm. It's his gift. It's his political liability, and it's part of an American conundrum. We beg for authenticity, and then when we get it, oh man, it's hilarious. [Vice President Joe] Biden can be fantastic when he's on his game. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, his speech got higher Nielsen ratings than either Bill Clinton's or Obama's. He killed the debate against Ryan, pumped air back into a campaign deflated after Obama's miserable first performance against Romney. Watching those performances, it's almost impossible to see him as a person once crippled by speech."
posted by zarq on Jul 18, 2013 - 75 comments

Racial Slur or Honorific?

The Other Redskins. 62 US high schools in 22 states currently use the name "Redskins" for one of their sports teams. 28 high schools in 18 states have dropped the mascot over the last 25 years. As public pressure continues to intensify on the Washington Redskins football team to change their name -- one many consider a racial slur that disparages Native Americans -- similar debates are being waged in towns across the country about their local high school teams.
posted by zarq on Jul 2, 2013 - 183 comments

"Never, ever let anybody use your gender as an excuse."

"Women get flustered under fire. They're too fragile, too emotional. They lack the ferocity required to take a life. They can't handle pain. They're a distraction, a threat to cohesion, a provocative tease to close-quartered men. These are the sort of myths you hear from people who oppose the U.S. military's evolving new rules about women in combat. But for women who have already been in combat, who have earned medals fighting alongside men, the war stories they tell don't sound a thing like myths" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 25, 2013 - 49 comments

Trans 100

The Trans 100 is a list curated by We Happy Trans based on nominations of 100 key trans people breaking ground in American culture, arts, social justice, and politics. [more inside]
posted by divabat on Apr 12, 2013 - 36 comments

The Atlantic - Benj Edwards

The Copyright Rule We Need to Repeal If We Want to Preserve Our Cultural Heritage
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Mar 15, 2013 - 34 comments

Now all they need is a replica of "The Wire"

"Almost a decade since the end of the hit American TV series Friends, the show — and, in particular, the fictitious Central Perk cafe, where much of the action took place — is enjoying an afterlife in China's capital, Beijing. Here, the show that chronicled the exploits of New York City pals Rachel, Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe and Joey is almost seen as a lifestyle guide."
posted by vidur on Jan 23, 2013 - 37 comments

"If you account for my access to academic journal subscriptions, my salary is really like half a million dollars."

This past Thursday, Forbes Magazine published a pair of articles: The Most Stressful Jobs of 2013 and The Least Stressful Jobs of 2013, the latter of which began with the sentence: "University professors have a lot less stress than most of us." 300+ outraged comments (and thousands of sarcastic #RealForbesProfessor tweets,) later they've added a retraction, and linked to a blog post that takes A Real Look at Being a Professor in the US. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 5, 2013 - 68 comments

It's the end of the world and they know it

The most-watched show in the history of the National Geographic Channel isn't Wild, Taboo or even the longest-running documentary series on cable tv: Explorer. It's Doomsday Preppers, a show that documents the "lives of otherwise ordinary Americans" as they prepare for the end of the world. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Dec 21, 2012 - 115 comments

THR & The Blacklist

After 65 Years The Hollywood Reporter addresses its role in the hollywood blacklist, including an apology from W.R. Wilkerson III, son of THR founder Billy Wilkerson whose "A Vote For Joe Stalin" editorial named writers such as Dalton Trumbo, Lester Cole, Howard Koch and John Howard Lawson as communist sympathisers.
posted by Artw on Nov 21, 2012 - 8 comments

"When the lights go out for good, my people will still be here. We have our ancient ways. We will remain."

In the Shadow of Wounded Knee. Along the southwestern border of South Dakota is one of the most poverty-stricken places in the United States—the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota people. After 150 years of broken promises, they are still nurturing their tribal customs, language and beliefs. Via [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 25, 2012 - 32 comments

Ephemeral New York

Ephemeral New York 'chronicles an ever-changing, constantly reinvented city through photos, newspaper archives, and other scraps and artifacts that have been edged into New York’s collective remainder bin.' [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 11, 2012 - 5 comments

Makers

In February, PBS and AOL launched Makers, a video archive containing personal stories and anecdotes told in the first person by women, many of whom have sparked groundbreaking changes in American culture. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 4, 2012 - 3 comments

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”

A quarter-century of responses to the Pew Research Center's American Values survey statements show some surprising trends when graphed over time. A sampling: Data is also broken down by religious and political affiliation, gender, age, race, education and income.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul on Jul 4, 2012 - 86 comments

“We shall have a man in the White House who will feel as responsible for American civilization as he does for American power and prosperity.”

"It was no accident that arts funding was once again brought to national attention with the exhibit Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Since the 80s, the enemies of the NEA have not been those with differences of opinion about what art should be supported or how. Instead they oppose any support at all for art of any kind." Hide/Seek, Culture Wars and the History of the NEA (NSFW, art)
posted by The Whelk on Nov 1, 2011 - 115 comments

The people of India love you deeply!

"Certainly, Uncle Sam, disowned by Pakistanis, has found innumerable devoted nephews in India. Indian and Pakistani perceptions of America now wildly diverge: A 2005 Pew poll conducted in 16 countries found the United States in the highest regard among Indians (71 percent having a favorable opinion) and nearly the lowest among Pakistanis (23 percent)." Why do India and Pakistan see America in such opposite ways?
posted by vidur on Aug 17, 2011 - 45 comments

America's Next Great Civil Rights Struggle

The New Republic examines what they're calling "America's Next Great Civil Rights Struggle" and asks, "What will it take for America to accept transgender people for who they really are?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 29, 2011 - 173 comments

A More Perfect Union

In his project A More Perfect Union, artist R. Luke Dubois aggregated language used in the profiles of 19 million single Americans on 21 dating sites. He then organized the data to create "dozens of insanely detailed city and state maps which tell a wonderfully rich story about who we are, or at least, who we claim to be." A Video about the project. (R. Luke Dubois, previously on MeFi.)
posted by zarq on Mar 31, 2011 - 15 comments

We used to get 김치 on the corner....

In the 1960's, 70's and 80's, urban decay and high crime rates caused retail chain supermarkets to flee New York City. (google books link) Korean immigrants filled the gap with corner grocery stores. For nearly two decades they were ubiquitous -- symbols of the group's ongoing quest to achieve the American Dream. But 30 years later, Where Did The Korean Greengrocers Go? [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 18, 2011 - 19 comments

A BBC Correspondant Reflects on Three Years in the USA

A Foreigner's Guide to American Culture After De Tocqueville, just about every European sent to the United States has treated the posting as an invitation to help diagnose the country's faults and suggest ways in which they might be fixed.
posted by modernnomad on Dec 20, 2010 - 162 comments

Nah, we straight.

Code-switching is using different languages or language varieties in different contexts. Ta-Nehisi Coates does it. Jay-Z does it. The President does it. But, for African Americans, is code-switching necessary to escape poverty, an element of race as performed or neither?
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Oct 22, 2010 - 63 comments

What Is It About 20-Somethings?

Twenty-somethings today don't quite fit the definition of adolescence or adulthood. This has thrown the human development gurus for a loop. [more inside]
posted by reenum on Aug 18, 2010 - 136 comments

How Social Science Treats Inner-City Poverty

Anyone who wishes to understand American society must be aware that explanations focusing on the cultural traits of inner-city residents are likely to draw far more attention from policy makers and the general public than structural explanations will. It is an unavoidable fact that Americans tend to de-emphasize the structural origins and social significance of poverty and welfare ... If, in America, you can grow up to be anything you want to be, then any destiny—even poverty—can be viewed through the lens of personal achievement or failure. William Julius Wilson on the political and academic failure to recognize structural causes of inner-city poverty. Wilson interviewed in conjunction with the article. [more inside]
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Aug 5, 2010 - 12 comments

World Government Data

Governments around the globe are opening up their data vaults allowing us to check out the numbers for ourselves. This is the Guardian’s gateway to that information. Search for government data here from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand — and look out for new countries and places as they are added. Read more about this on the Datablog. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jan 25, 2010 - 13 comments

Advertising in the public interest

"What if America wasn't America?" That was the question posed by a series of ads broadcast in the wake of the September 11th attacks, ads which depicted a dystopian America bereft of liberty: Library - Diner - Church. Together with more positive ads like Remember Freedom and I Am an American, they encouraged frightened viewers to cherish their freedoms and defend against division and prejudice in the face of terrorism (seven years previously). The campaign was the work of the Ad Council, a non-profit agency that employs the creative muscle of volunteer advertisers to raise awareness for social issues of national importance. Founded during WWII as the War Advertising Council, the organization has been behind some of the most memorable public service campaigns in American history, including Rosie the Riveter, Smokey the Bear, McGruff the Crime Dog, and the Crash Test Dummies. And the Council is still at it today, producing striking, funny, and above all effective PSAs on everything from student invention to global warming to arts education to community service.

Additional resources: A-to-Z index of Ad Council campaigns - Campaigns organized by category - Award-winning campaigns - PSA Central: A free download directory of TV, radio, and print PSAs (registration req'd) - An exhaustive history of the Ad Council [46-page PDF] - YouTube channel - Vimeo channel - Twitter feed
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 11, 2009 - 69 comments

flacid

"There is powerful literature in all big cultures, but you can't get away from the fact that Europe still is the centre of the literary world... not the United States," he said. "The US is too isolated, too insular. They don't translate enough and don't really participate in the big dialogue of literature... That ignorance is restraining."

Nobel literature prize judge Horace Engdahl comes down hard against Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, and other crazy American shit that just can't cross the waters.
posted by plexi on Oct 6, 2008 - 124 comments

Mandatum novum do vobis: ut diligatis invicem

White Americans No Longer A Majority By 2042. The nation will be more racially and ethnically diverse, as well as much older, by midcentury, according to projections released today by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Minorities, now roughly one-third of the U.S. population, are expected to become the majority in 2042, with the nation projected to be 54 percent minority in 2050. By 2023, minorities will comprise more than half of all children.
posted by plexi on Aug 14, 2008 - 91 comments

a beautiful life

"A friend confessed to me that she didn't need to build credit. If the need for a loan ever arises, she told me, she can go to her parents or—as she secretly hopes—a husband who will take care of it."
A generation of twenty-somethings ponder when, or if, they will begin their financial independence from their parents.
posted by plexi on Jul 25, 2008 - 86 comments

Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot

Knob Creek Gun Range, a former military-munitions test range situated near Fort Knox is home to the "World's Largest Machine Gun Shoot and Military Gun Show". Run by private citizens excercising their second amendment rights (Kentucky has no state-level gun laws) the focus is on Class III firearms - things like assault weapons and anti-tank rifles, but also the occasional high-caliber sniper rifle and cannon. Hold my bourbon and watch this! (more)
posted by phrontist on Jul 26, 2007 - 78 comments

fact checkers out there in the factosphere

"Tired of the LIBERAL BIAS every time you search on Google and a Wikipedia page appears?" At Conservapedia, a "conservative encyclopedia you can trust," you can learn that "faith" is a concept "exclusive to Christianity," and about how Wikipedia is biased in matters such as its description of the Bell Trade Act of 1946, its gossipy treatment of the private life of NPR reporter Nina Totenberg, and its seeming acceptance of evolution. The Wikipedia bias entry also complains of a "rant" against the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a group for which Conservapedia founder (and son of conservative gadfly Phyllis Schafly) Andrew Schlafly has worked. Signups are here; its take on evolution is criticized here.
posted by ibmcginty on Feb 23, 2007 - 153 comments

The Salton Sea

Jonson takes pictures of The Salton Sea, which is a strange place, like some kind of huge, perpetual, Burning Man, but by a huge, salty, polluted, manmade lake with distant shores, dying fish, has-been resort towns, Salvation Mountain, fundie dinos, fountains of youth, and nice churches. [via mefi projects] [previously] [howdy]
posted by brownpau on Jan 30, 2007 - 36 comments

Jerry Lewis at 80

Jerry Lewis at 80 (more inside)
posted by matteo on Mar 13, 2006 - 46 comments

CommonCensus Map Project

The CommonCensus Map Project is redrawing the map of the United States based on your voting, to show how the country is organized culturally, as opposed to traditional political boundaries. It shows how the country is divided into 'spheres of influence' between different cities at the national, regional, and local levels.
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Oct 17, 2005 - 11 comments

Chautauquas & Nascar

Chautauquas, and (as early as the 1830's) Lyceums, were perhaps America's first experiments in a truly Mass Culture. Everyone from this guy to this guy took the stage.
These days? Budweiser and Home Depot continue this fine American tradition.
Hey, at least its not a Medicine Show.
posted by gilgamix on May 22, 2005 - 9 comments

SAMMY: "That's democracy?"

"I am an American, so that is why I make films about America. America is sitting on our world, I am making films that have to do with America (because) 60% of my life is America. So I am in fact an American, but I can't go there to vote, I can't change anything. We are a nation under influence and under a very bad influence… because Mr. Bush is an asshole and doing very idiotic things."
Lars Von Trier introduces his new film at the Cannes Film Festival: «Manderlay» picks up where «Dogville» left off, with the character originated by Nicole Kidman -- now played by Bryce Dallas Howard -- stumbling onto a plantation that time forgot, where slavery still operates in the 1930s. The film (5 MB .pdf file, official pressbook) ends, as Dogville did, with David Bowie’s Young Americans played over a photomontage of images that range from a Ku Klux Klan meeting to the Rodney King beating, George Bush at prayer and Martin Luther King at his final rest, American soldiers in Vietnam and the Gulf, the Twin Towers. More inside.
posted by matteo on May 16, 2005 - 69 comments

The Grace Of Wrath

"The people of Dogville are proud, hypocritical and never more dangerous than when they are convinced of the righteousness of their actions" (NYT link) "The movie is, of course, an attack on America—its innocence, its conformity, its savagery—though von Trier is interested not in the life of this country (he’s never been here) but in the ways he can exploit European disdain for it." (The New Yorker). Lars Von Trier's new movie, Dogville, is under attack from critics who consider it anti-American. Von Trier, of course, has never been to the US but he counters that he knows more about U.S. culture through modern media than, say, the makers of "Casablanca' knew about Morocco. Kafka hadn't been to Amerika either. Should non US-ian artists leave America alone if they've never been there? Von Trier says that "in my own country, I'm considered anti-Danish - again, that's more about politics than issues of nationality." (more inside)
posted by matteo on Mar 22, 2004 - 42 comments

Disney Vs. Plato: Is There Really A Contest?

Just How Influential Is America? Mark Rice-Oxley, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, argues that, 2000 years from now, Disney will probably be more remembered than Plato. Really? [More inside. Via Arts & Letters Daily.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Jan 16, 2004 - 33 comments

America's psychosis

America's psychosis
From The Daily Times of Pakistan:
It is hard to explain to the rest of the world what is happening in the American mind right now because the people in the US are being ruled by their mental health system. Their consciences do not operate according to moral standards, or religious beliefs. They do things because of the diagnoses they have received from their psychiatrists.

Americans think that they already know everything there is to know, and the rest of the world wants to destroy them with their own knowledge. So they hide in their houses, in front of the TV sets, taking pills at scheduled times. Their psychiatrists say that they are doing the right thing, and life is so serious, they’d better not ask any questions.
posted by putzface_dickman on May 13, 2003 - 66 comments

Celebrate Pinkster, June 8

June 8: The forgotten holiday of Pinkster. At first celebrated among the Dutch communities of New York and New Jersey, by the 19th century the holiday of Pinkster was heavily African-American, and cross-culturally infused. In Albany, the week-long observance began the seventh Sunday after Easter at Pentecost, corresponding with the Episcopal Whitsunday, by raising a large camp of temporary shelters at "Pinkster Hill." Crowds of blacks and whites would mass, waiting for the appearance of King Charles, "the chief character in a ceremony on a Dutch Holiday in America[...,] an African-born black wearing a British brigadier's jacket of scarlet, a tricornered cocked hat, and yellow buckskins." Successive nights included food, drink, sports and Toto, the Guinea dance, which included the "most lewd and indecent gesticulation, at the crisis of which the parties meet and embrace in a kind of amorous Indian hug, terminating in a sort of masquerade capture, which must cover even a harlot with blushes to describe."
posted by Mo Nickels on Apr 20, 2003 - 4 comments

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