Headline, The Takeaway »

Can Colleges Teach America What Consensual Sex Looks Like?

By | October 12, 2017

American college campuses, after considerable struggle, are succeeding in drawing a clearer line between consensual and non-consensual sex. But it’s far from clear when the rest of society will follow suit and adopt a similar standard.
That was the message of a Zócalo lecture entitled, “Are College Campuses Rewriting the Rules of Sex in America?” by journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis, contributing editor at The New York Times …

Headline, The Takeaway »

It’s Hard to Be an American Traitor, Even If You Try

By | October 11, 2017

Why is it so hard to commit treason in the United States?
The short answer—offered at the debut of a Zócalo/KCRW event series, “Critical Thinking with Warren Olney”—amounted to this: America was founded by traitors.
“The American Revolution was a massive act of treason against the British government,” said UC Davis legal scholar Carlton F.W. Larson, who is working on a book about treason. And even before the …

Essay, Headline »

What Leaf Peeping in New England Taught Me About the Meaning of Autumn

By | October 10, 2017

The migration north happens every fall. Just as the V-formations of Canada geese head south, flocks, groves, and busloads of “leaf peepers” head to northern New England from all over the globe. They come to watch the Green Mountains of Vermont and the White Mountains of New Hampshire “blush,” and soon discover that they are chasing a moving target.
Our wild palette of reds, purples, …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

Every October, on Martha’s Vineyard, We Celebrate Cranberry Day

By | October 9, 2017

Many know the place I live, an island off the southern coast of Massachusetts, as Martha’s Vineyard, a vacation spot for celebrities including Presidents Clinton and Obama. But those of us in the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe know it as Noepe, our home for at least 13,000 years. Though the whole island used to be our traditional homelands, today, our homelands form the westernmost part of …

Essay, Headline »

How Societies Are Defined by the Segmentation of Time

By | October 6, 2017

Why does an hour last 60 minutes? Why does a minute last 60 seconds? What are “minutes” and “seconds,” really? A minute is just the duration you arrive at if you divide an hour into 60 equal segments. Seconds are merely what you get if you divide hours by 60 a second time.
We use these units because some of the first people to make …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

Why Sheep Started So Many Wars in the American West

By | October 5, 2017

In early October, when the leaves turn golden and the shadows of the Sawtooth Mountains lengthen, the annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival moves through south central Idaho. The festival, complete with a sheep parade, sheepdog trials, and a wool fest, celebrates the long relationship between sheep and their human companions. 
Sun Valley, Idaho, is synonymous with New West wealth, but it sits in the Wood River …

Essay, Headline »

Longing for the Softer Side of Hurricanes

By | October 4, 2017

After school, whenever I walked into my family’s home in Davie, Florida, I was always reminded of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, which decimated nearly 64,000 homes some 60 miles away in the city of Homestead. Andrew—all Floridians are on a first name basis with their hurricanes—still lived on via the duct tape my uncle had applied to our jalousie windows. Even after the tape was removed, …

Essay, Headline »

To Black Athletes, Donald Trump Is Playing the Dozens

By | October 3, 2017

President Donald Trump did not say, “Yo’ mama!” in front of a partisan Huntsville, Alabama audience. But he might as well have because that is what athletes heard directed at them.
Perhaps without even realizing it, the president had engaged in an age-old tradition of playing the dozens, the term for an African American game involving the exchange of insults before an audience. Or did …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

Our Revelatory Culinary Road Trip Through the New South

It was New Year’s Day in Charlotte, North Carolina, and seemingly half of Mecklenburg County had come to the K&W Cafeteria for black-eyed peas, greens, and hog jowls—foods to bring good luck for the year ahead. The Formica tables were packed with local ladies in their fancy hats, college kids, tired families, and business folks in suits, all snaking slowly through a winding line to …

Headline, Nexus »

Mexico’s ’85 Earthquake Didn’t Start a Revolution

By | September 29, 2017

Can the shaking of earthquakes upend political power?
This question often has been answered by referencing Mexico. Political scientists often link Mexico City’s devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake on September 19, 1985, to the end of the PRI’s seven-decades-long rule of the country 15 years later. Their argument is not that the party was responsible for the loss of some 10,000 lives, but rather that the disaster …