Featured, What It Means to Be American »

The Religious Roots of America’s Love for Camping

By | October 12, 2017

Summer 1868 passed as an unremarkable season at Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The weather was fine, the scenery delightful, and the usual array of 200 to 300 recreational hunters and anglers passed through the small settlement on their way into the wild lands beyond. The summers of 1869 and 1870, however, were an altogether different story. The weather was more or less …

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 …

Essay, Featured »

Can American Jews Be White Nationalists?

By | October 11, 2017

Stephen Miller and I have a few things in common.
Both Jewish, we were raised upper-middle class in comfortable, liberal suburbia (he, Santa Monica; me, outside Boston). We both rebelled against the stifling, progressive conformity of our respective communities by embracing a contrarian, at times combative, conservative politics. The September 11 attacks played a major role in shaping our political outlooks, as did attending liberal …

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, …

Connecting California, Featured »

My Doubts About Single-Payer Just Show I’m Sick in the Head

By | October 9, 2017

I really should be 100 percent supportive of the effort to establish a single-payer health system in California. Because all the best Californians are for it.
California’s next governor, Gavin Newsom, has made single-payer a central tenet of his campaign. America’s next president, California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, just sprinkled her stardust on it, declaring that single-payer was the “morally right” and “smart” choice.
So …

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 …

Featured, Poetry »

We heard the region was a rainshadow, where mountains/ caught each passing cloud #poem

By | October 6, 2017

 
Jordan Nakamura was born and raised in Hawaii and lives in Los Angeles. His work has been published in The Curator.

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 …

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