How do you quantify the effects of things that don't happen to you? "The whole point of living in a culture is that much of the labor of perception and judgment is done for you, spread through media, and absorbed through an imperceptible process that has no single author." (previously; via)
Empire tells of the legacy of the Dutch East India Company, and its cultural legacy, through online experience blending image, text, video, and audio.
How Mountain Dew Came to Perpetuate a Deep-Seated Appalachian Stereotype As Mountain Dew taps into tropes of corn-syrup-free authenticity and nostalgia for "backwoods" "renegades" and "rebels" with its throwback drink Dewshine, a daughter of Appalachia considers how the beverage reflects cultural stereotypes. [more inside]
Déjà Lu republishes locally-selected scholarly articles from journals connected to regional anthropological associations around the world. The result is a PDF-heavy but fascinating collection of long reads on obscure topics. Via. [more inside]
A viral video series uses role reversal to humorously highlight casual insensitivities & stereotyping: If Asians Said The Stuff White People Say - If Black People Said The Stuff White People Say - If Latinos Said The Stuff White People Say (YouTube; each video ~2 min.) [more inside]
On July 8, the Daily Mississippian published Sierra Mannie's Op-Ed, "Dear white gays", which was then picked up by Time Magazine, and has spurred discussion on whether white gay men are stealing the culture of black women.
The loaded meaning behind 'What do you do?': [Deb] Fallows says the questions are meant to tease out socioeconomic status, political viewpoints, and cultural background. “You know that somebody’s kind of digging for information to put you into their world – how do you fit into my world?” [more inside]
In 2011, the upscale White Flint Shopping mall was closed and planned for demolition, but not before someone went in and photographed the interior and food court in all its pastel-neon-plastic 80s glory.
Greg Marinovich is well known as a member of the Bang Bang Club, winning the Pulitzer Prize for photography for his work during the death throes of apartheid in South Africa. Less known are the unique (and often difficult to obtain) images documenting the often secret rituals amongst the diverse peoples of his homeland. As he writes in a recent column remembering Mandela, making the right choice can often be a difficult one.
Mandela's release in 1990 was a pretty surreal series of events for me. As a fledgling photographer I was thrilled when a British agency asked me to cover it. It was a great chance to make a break into the business, but I was conflicted. I had also managed to gain access to an otherwise secretive ceremony in the far north of the country, scheduled for the same day. The distance between Pollsmoor Prison, where the news crews of the world were camped out, and the mysterious stockade of the Modjadji was some two thousand kilometres. I had to choose between two competing once-in-a-lifetime shoots.Here is a showcase of the works he has made publicly available as prints as well as collections from his close colleague, Joao Silva*. [more inside]
Ramblin' Jack Elliott at Old City Hall, Redding California, 1988
This is Ramblin' Jack in his prime. [more inside]
This is Ramblin' Jack in his prime. [more inside]
Charles Murray, author of the controversial 1994 work The Bell Curve, has a new book coming out, entitled Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010. He's included a twenty-five question, weighted quiz to get a feel for how in touch you are with mainstream, blue-collar American culture. It's not automated, so you'll need pen and paper. [more inside]
Let's Get Critical is "a new Longform.org partner site dedicated to surfacing the best cultural criticism on the web."
Anti-Cultural Relativism Wednesday: Ayaan Hirsi Ali is on tour these days. With this article in the LA Times and this legal problem in Malaysia, the tolerant of the tolerant, the problem of the Islamic East in peaceful coexistence with Secular West appears increasing less solvable. Examining the other side of the argument only seems to confirm this.
Is "Apocalypto" pornography? "I am not a compulsively politically correct type who sees the Maya as the epitome of goodness and light... But in "Apocalypto," no mention is made of the achievements in science and art, the profound spirituality and connection to agricultural cycles, or the engineering feats of Maya cities." Traci Arden
Becoming Mary Poppins - A look at the original author P. L. Travers, Walt Disney, and the differences therein. Via the New Yorker.
Early reports on cultural institutions in Katrina's path. From The American Association of Museums.
Mullah Wildmon issues FATWA against long gone internet magazine. Donald Wildmon, leader of victorious conservative cultural elitist group AFA, speaks out against the dangers of using the word "suck" in current advertising by the Dish Network to describe their competitor, cable TV. After you've used their complaint mill, please be sure to stop by the store on your way out.