Featured, Nexus »

A “Grand Tour” Through the Pyrenees Connects Artists and Audiences on a Cultural Pilgrimage

By | June 22, 2017

It must not be imagined that a walking tour, as some would have us fancy, is merely a better or worse way of seeing the country. There are many ways of seeing landscape quite as good; and none more vivid, in spite of canting dilettantes, than from a railway train. But landscape on a walking tour is quite accessory. He who is indeed of the …

Featured, What It Means to Be American »

How Lafayette Became America’s “Favorite Fighting Frenchman”

By | June 22, 2017

If you live in the United States, you’ve probably come across a county, city, street, park, school, shop, or restaurant named for Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834), the most beloved French hero of the American Revolution. In New York City, my home town, I’ve spotted three different Lafayette Avenues, one Lafayette Street, a Lafayette playground, and four public sculptures of the Marquis. Although …

Headline, Inquiry »

The Arts Don’t Need New Audiences, They Need Communities.

By | June 22, 2017

 
This is a Zócalo Inquiry on arts engagement, produced with support from The James Irvine Foundation.

Headline, Nexus »

Why Marijuana Needs Middlemen to Reach the Mainstream Market

By | June 21, 2017

California’s marijuana industry will soon begin its transition from an illicit ecosystem fraught with guns, cash, and cartels into a regulated economic juggernaut.
The stakes of getting it right are high. Not only will the industry produce an expected $1 billion in annual tax dollars for youth drug prevention, restoration of the environment, and enforcement against the black market, but legal marijuana will influence the …

Headline, Nexus »

Why We’ll Always Have (the) Paris (Accord)

By | June 20, 2017

The United States is out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, and the Trump administration says we will burn coal and fossil fuels if we like, and no one will tell us otherwise.
The United States, we are told, will have a burst of economic growth, now that it is unshackled from an agreement that required (suggested is more accurate) our nation to do …

Connecting California, Headline, Joe Mathews »

Why San Diego and The Donald Are On a Collision Course

By | June 19, 2017

If you wish to inspect the frontlines of the conflict between Donald Trump and California, head for San Diego.
Yes, it’s true that the Golden State’s fight against the president has so far taken place in the courts and in cyberspace. And, sure, challenging The Donald’s legitimacy is not a mere local pastime but an all-consuming statewide prizefight. But as a matter of geography, culture and …

Featured, Nexus »

Historian Kevin Starr Was an Affectionate Connoisseur of California’s Contradictions

By | June 16, 2017

California has had many chroniclers — some critics, some boosters, some cheerleaders, some dour polemicists. It’s only natural that a vast state defined by its extremes—political, geological, economic, and otherwise—would rarely be portrayed from the center.
But one of the paradoxes of the Golden State is that the greatest historian of California, someone who absorbed the writing of previous scholars and scribes, found a way to …

Featured, Poetry »

for us the moment was perfect #poem

By | June 16, 2017

Although not for whatever lay dead in the adjacent meadow,
for us the moment was perfect—the sky, sky blue, the sun
burnishing the fresh-washed foliage, the dog, sticks retrieved,
content to lie within reach of a scratch, and the narrative permitting
us a bench and a view of what lay before us: the light green nap
of grass like a billiard table’s baize cloth, turkey vultures cruising
on the thermals in …

Headline, The Takeaway »

Yes, Classroom Tech Can Tackle Inequality—but Change Takes Politics and Patience

By | June 16, 2017

Even as digital technology has grown exponentially more sophisticated, accessible, and integral to our lives, social inequality has cast a deeper shadow across the United States in recent decades. Simultaneously, getting a quality education has become ever more essential for individual success and fulfillment.
The question of whether tech-enhanced education can help break down—or perhaps even erase—growing social divisions confronted a panel of educators brought together …

Headline, What It Means to Be American »

The North Carolina Trucker Who Brought the World to America in a Box

By | June 15, 2017

On April 26, 1956, a crane lifted 58 aluminum truck bodies onto the deck of an aging tanker ship moored in Newark, New Jersey. Five days later, the Ideal-X sailed into Houston, Texas, where waiting trucks collected the containers for delivery to local factories and warehouses. From that modest beginning, the shipping container would become such a familiar part of the landscape that Americans would …

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