Features

Glamorizing the Nightmare Trade

Netflix’s megapopular Narcos series romanticizes Pablo Escobar’s Colombian cartel by effectively distancing the international drug trade in time and place. Bu like the narcoticizing effect of the drug Escobar traded in, gripping television should not lure us from the drug problems of our here and now.

Colin Kaepernick, Kneeling, and the Meaning of Gratitude

In some ways, the current wave of African-American football players kneeling during the National Anthem replicates the Bebop revolution that changed the public persona of the black male jazz musician. Now it is black players demanding that audiences recognize that their attitude is not the same as their white peers.

Fugitives From Sheol

In every decade since the Sheol, the films that resulted reveal wider, prevailing attitudes toward Jewishness, history, memory, and psychological trauma.

Bernard Malamud’s The Natural

In his early work Bernard Malamud used Yiddish constructions and words reminiscent of the Jewish folk tradition of Eastern Europe. But with his first novel, The Natural, he embraced a Midwestern hero, the American pastoral, and a pastime he loved: baseball.

The Other Face of Racism

Identifying racism is an important step in stemming its tide, but we (and I speak specifically to white people) must be willing and able to consider that racism might look and sound like ourselves.

A Rose By Any Other Name?

Diacritical marks might seem like a tiny blip in the larger picture of tumultuous politics and proposed policies that actively harm our minority populations, yet they serve as a reminder of our important presence and contribution to this nation.

Remembering the War to End All Wars

Commentators have debated for almost a century the reasons why America entered the First World War. In the wake of the centennial observance, a raft of new books on the subject has appeared. Together they contribute information and interpretations that challenge readers to rethink their ideas about the subject and its significance for understanding present predicaments.