Bollywood’s Soft Power Is Not Enough for the Oscars

April 20, 2021

In 2019, India produced over 1,800 movies, making it the world’s largest film industry in terms of numbers; this dwarfs the 792 produced in both the US and Canada combined. Bollywood, as Mumbai’s movie industry is known, distributes its films around the world and is particularly popular in...

The Legacy of Elizabeth Taylor
March 19, 2021

The Legacy of Elizabeth Taylor

Can Chinawood Win Soft Power for Beijing?
February 19, 2021

Can Chinawood Win Soft Power for Beijing?

Foreign-Language Entertainment Is Having Its Soft-Power Moment
December 18, 2020

Foreign-Language Entertainment Is Having Its Soft-Power Moment

Has Johnny Depp Lost His Mind?

Has Johnny Depp Lost His Mind?

November 03, 2020

Is Johnny Depp mad? Why on earth did he start legal action that could end in the destruction of his professional life? Unless the appeal his legal team promises succeeds, this may be the last we see of Depp. He’ll be an abusive pariah, and Hollywood studios will never offer him another part....

Star Trek vs. the Radical Right: Visions of a Better World

Star Trek vs. the Radical Right: Visions of a Better World

October 22, 2020

Science fiction has a long history of progressive politics. Probably the best-known example is the Star Trek franchise that started in the 1960s with an Asian helmsman, a navigator from Russia and a black woman as a communications officer and features non-binary and transgender characters in...

Racism Is in Bollywood’s DNA

Racism Is in Bollywood's DNA

September 16, 2020

We are all influenced by our experiences. Growing up, a number of women have made remarks that have irked or upset me. One colleague once remarked, “The managers like me more because I am fair and I look like a foreigner.” Another lady gave me life advice that still remains an indelible...

America’s Parallel Realities: Are We All in the Wrong Movie?

America's Parallel Realities: Are We All in the Wrong Movie?

September 10, 2020

In the early 1960s, one of the most popular series on American television was “The Twilight Zone.” This was a time when television, even in the United States, was still in black and white. Most of the show’s episodes were riveting, poignant and, in a number of cases, scary as hell —...

What “Indian Matchmaking” Tells Us About Love

What “Indian Matchmaking” Tells Us About Love

August 05, 2020

When the show “Indian Matchmaking” dropped on Netflix, my initial reaction was one of revulsion. Matchmaker Sima Taparia and her clients represented everything I loathed about the culture I was born into. Of course, I was not blind to my personal triggers and biases, having grown up in a...

Young Men, Alienation and Violence in the Digital Age

Young Men, Alienation and Violence in the Digital Age

July 28, 2020

As the world was forced into lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alex Lee Moyer’s documentary “TFW No GF” was released online. The film focuses on an internet subculture of predominately young, white men who already experienced much of life from the comfort of their own homes,...

Welcome to the Curiosity Economy

Welcome to the Curiosity Economy

July 27, 2020

In 1954, when television sets were just becoming widespread in American homes, Alfred Hitchcock made “Rear Window.” The film portrays L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries, a magazine photographer played by James Stewart, stuck at home in a wheelchair with a broken leg, whose only entertainment is gazing...

Gone With the Wind: On the Pitfalls of Symbolic Politics

Gone With the Wind: On the Pitfalls of Symbolic Politics

June 19, 2020

A few days ago, Quaker Oats announced it would retire its 130-year-old brand of pancake syrup and breakfast foods, Aunt Jemima. The company acknowledged that the Aunt Jemima character was based on a racial stereotype. In the aftermath of the decision, other companies, among them Mars Food,...

The Truth Behind “The Plot Against America”

The Truth Behind “The Plot Against America”

April 30, 2020

Phillip Roth’s 2004 novel, “The Plot Against America,” has been made into a six-part TV series and shown recently on HBO in the United States and Great Britain. David Simon wrote the script for the television version and directed the production. Simon’s earlier credits include “The...

McCoy Tyner’s Improvisations of Hope

McCoy Tyner’s Improvisations of Hope

March 10, 2020

Jazz is a musical art form that cultivates complex and highly disciplined improvisational skills. In its brief history — hardly more than a century — jazz has always floated between being perceived as a style of popular, crowd-pleasing music or as a sophisticated art form produced by...

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