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When the Idea of Home Was Key to American Identity

By | September 11, 2017

Like viewers using an old-fashioned stereoscope, historians look at the past from two slightly different angles—then and now. The past is its own country, different from today. But we can only see that past world from our own present. And, as in a stereoscope, the two views merge.
I have been living in America’s second Gilded Age—our current era that began in the 1980s and took …

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Is Batgirl the Next Great Feminist Superhero?

By | September 8, 2017

Last year, DC Comics’ bestselling graphic novel was Batman: The Killing Joke. Originally published in 1988, it’s one of the most famous, and infamous, superhero stories of all time. The book began with the Joker attacking Barbara Gordon and leaving her paralyzed, spurring Batman on a campaign of vengeance. Now, decades later, this assault could define the direction of a blockbuster cinematic franchise. Barbara Gordon …

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How Prince Introduced Us to the “Minneapolis Sound”

By | September 7, 2017

The pop music genius Prince Rogers Nelson, better known to most of us as Prince, made his national television debut on American Bandstand in 1980. Performing “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” his first big hit in the United States, he gave the country its first taste of the Minneapolis Sound, an infectious blend of rock, R&B, funk, and New Wave that would become a significant …

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How the South Uses Its ‘Anti-Union Arsenal’ to Keep Workers From Organizing

By | September 6, 2017

The crushing rejection on August 5 of a United Auto Workers bid to organize a 6,500-worker Nissan assembly plant near Canton, Mississippi seemed to present the proverbial déjà vu all over again for organized labor’s ancient and oft-thwarted crusade to gain a serious foothold among Southern workers.
This time, however, we are not talking about textile and apparel plants in the 1920s or ‘30s, …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

In California, Pro Football Is for Losers

By | September 5, 2017

No one can know for sure whether any of California’s four National Football League teams—the 49ers, Raiders, Rams, and Chargers—will emerge as big winners in the new season.
But we already know who the losers will be: California cities foolish enough to host NFL teams.
In the rest of America, major cities try to attract the NFL by building costly new stadiums, because they see football franchises …

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Lucifer often leads/ in the first verse #poem

By | September 1, 2017

It’s not as thin as one might think, though
there is only one version, and each copy
features only the words—no music.
In a brief moment of inspiration, Lucifer
himself penned “God is Dead” watching
Golgotha from afar. It was popular
for a few days. Notable titles include “Backslidin’
Away,” “Every Sin’s a Deadly Sin,” “Babylon
on my Mind,” and “You Don’t Need Our Help.”
At command, the shedim and mazzikim
gather, …

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How Colleges Migrated Into Cities And Democratized Higher Education

By | August 31, 2017

Since the end of World War II, most American college students have attended schools in cities and metropolitan areas. Mirroring the rapid urbanization of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this trend reflects the democratization of college access and the enormous growth in the numbers of commuter students who live at home while attending college.
Going to college in the …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Connect the World? The Bay Area Can’t Even Connect Its Trains

By | August 28, 2017

The northern terminus of SMART, the new light rail system officially opening this weekend in the North Bay, is the Sonoma County Airport Station in Santa Rosa. But after my 8-year-old son and I disembarked from an Alaska Airlines flight, we learned that the airport is more than a mile away from the train.
We didn’t know how to bridge this transportation gap. My son wasn’t …

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In heaven, the clouds slip #poem

By | August 25, 2017

Shayla Lawson is the author of the forthcoming I Think I’m Ready to See Frank Ocean (Saturnalia Books, 2018). She is a 2017 MacDowell Colony Fellow and a member of The Affrilachian Poets.

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Capturing the Architecture of American Agriculture—and a Passing Way of Life

By | August 24, 2017

“Why would anyone want to take pictures of a place like this?”
That’s the question I often get when I enter the office of a feed mill or grain elevator, asking permission to make photographs on the property or inside the buildings.
Showing other photos that I’ve taken usually satisfies the operator that I’m not working for the local tax assessor or real estate agent, …