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That Time When I Failed to Stand for Our National Anthem

September 25, 2017, 7:44 pm

I remember it like it was yesterday. By the time I was 16, I rarely babysat, but gears shifted on the day I got my driver’s license. Like me, my neighbor’s kid loved roller-coasters; unlike me, my neighbor had no desire to drive all the way from Berkeley to Santa Clara. One nice summer day in the late 1980s, me and her 10-year-old kid and the kid’s friend woke up early, jumped in my neighbor’s mini-van, and drove an hour
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Emmys 2017: More Milestones Than You May Realize

September 19, 2017, 8:42 am

Now that Stephen Colbert, host of CBS’s The Late Show, has hosted the Emmys on CBS in the same calendar year that Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC’s The Tonight Show, hosted the Golden Globes on NBC and Jimmy Kimmel, host of ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, hosted the Oscars on ABC, it’s official: for the first time ever in a year, the late-night M.C. of each of America’s three broadcast networks hosted its major screen-content awards-show. At this point, this milestone registers
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The Terror-Totalitarianism Tango

September 11, 2017, 9:51 pm

  Today is the first September 11 under President Trump. Perhaps fittingly, it’s also the first time that the amount of years since that fateful day can be expressed as a discreet square of a square – because the number 16 is a square of 4, which is a square of 2. Why would that be fitting? Because a square of a square invokes a box in a box, and 9/11 is both a Pandora’s box that continues to expand
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A Century of Cinema About Labor, With One Film For Each Decade

September 4, 2017, 7:33 pm

“You used to write an awful lot about the workingman…He’s turning into something called organized labor. You’re not going to like that one little bit when you find out it means that your workingman expects something is his right, not as your gift! Charlie, when your precious underprivileged really get together, oh boy! That’s going to add up to something bigger than your privileges!” – Leland to Kane in Citizen Kane (1941) Perhaps 100 years since the Bolshevik Revolution makes
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Donald Trump is the new Jack Nicholson

August 29, 2017, 7:40 am

If you’re like me, you’ve read way too many comparisons of our 45th President to our 37th; as evidenced by the ubiquity of the meme picture that crosses over their faces. And sure, it’s true that there are parallels, some of which have been known to cheer up Democrats, considering Richard Nixon’s eventual fate. Perhaps the clearest similarity regards the zeitgeist, or “spirit of the times.” When policemen were shot and killed at a Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas in
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Did We All Fiddle With Our Phones While the Republic Burned?

August 15, 2017, 8:16 am

You and I have both read a lot of post-mortems about the 2016 presidential election, a lot of thinkpieces about the unthinking and unthinkable Donald Trump. But here’s a question I haven’t seen anyone take seriously: did we Americans assume that digital culture would gradually lead to a more enlightened population, only to wake up on November 9th and realize that it has only enhanced our more regressive elements? Did we look up for a minute from our smartphones, see
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Trump and Evangelicals: What About Culture? What About Forgiveness?

August 7, 2017, 1:36 pm

Everyone has a theory about why overwhelming numbers of evangelicals and other long-time right-wing Christians supported, and continue to support, the presidency of Donald J. Trump. Trump received 80% of their vote in November, a higher share than George W. Bush – who is, unlike Trump, an avowed evangelical. And they have stuck with him in similar numbers for the first 200 days of his presidency. Everyone has an explanation that accounts for this — but no one has my
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In 2100, an American History Book Explains the First Fifth of the 21st Century in Five Paragraphs

August 1, 2017, 8:06 am

Today’s babies are likely to live until the 22nd century. When they do, how will they think of the first fifth of the 21st century? I don’t mean the history buffs; I mean the average, non-historically-thinking citizens, assuming that there are average citizens in the year 2100. What will they think of the first 20 years of the century that just finished? I believe the TL;DR version can be summarized with two slashified numbers and three “I”s: 9/11, internet, inequality,
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Bye Bye Bipartisanship

June 26, 2017, 5:37 pm

Political parties aren’t written into the Constitution. They came about almost organically as members of President Washington’s Cabinet jockeyed for power. After the first election in which parties truly threatened to bifurcate the Republic, the new President said, “We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists.” Ever since Thomas Jefferson spoke those words in his inaugural address, the following 41 Presidents have duly followed his example, for their own selfish reasons as much as any other. Men gestured toward working
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1 in 1000

June 19, 2017, 1:18 am

Let’s talk about 1000 people. Everyone is their own snowflake, sure, but there are things 1 will do that the other 999 never will. There are things that the 999 will do that a certain kind of 1 never will. Indulge me on this for a minute. You know 1000 people. For example, your facebook friends + people you know who aren’t on facebook. There are at least another 1000 people that you’ve heard of, but don’t know personally. Let’s
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