Foreign-Language Entertainment Is Having Its Soft-Power Moment

Dec 18, 2020

Since the first Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, non-English films from all over the world used to compete for a nomination in one single category, best foreign film, as all the other Oscars traditionally went to American and, sometimes, British productions. But in 2019, Netflix’s...

Has Johnny Depp Lost His Mind?
Nov 03, 2020

Has Johnny Depp Lost His Mind?

Star Trek vs. the Radical Right: Visions of a Better World
Oct 22, 2020

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

Racism Is in Bollywood’s DNA
Sep 16, 2020

Racism Is in Bollywood's DNA

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

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

Sep 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

Aug 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

Jul 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

Jul 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

Jun 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”

Apr 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

Mar 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...

Did You Say High Culture Was Dead?

Did You Say High Culture Was Dead?

Dec 12, 2019

When I was a was a young teen attending a German high school in southern Bavarian in the late 1960s, we were made to know how to distinguish between high and popular culture. High culture was Kafka and Thomas Mann, Beethoven and Mozart, Goethe and Berthold Brecht, Fritz Lang and Josef von...

Why Disney Is Betting Big on Streaming

Why Disney Is Betting Big on Streaming

Nov 23, 2019

When Bob Iger was 23, his first boss at ABC told him he was “unpromotable.” “I wish he were alive just to see that he was wrong,” Iger, now chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, told Wharton management Professor Adam Grant during a recent appearance as part of the Authors@Wharton...

Why Kangana Ranaut Is No Longer the “Empowered” Woman India Needs

Why Kangana Ranaut Is No Longer the “Empowered” Woman India Needs

Sep 18, 2019

Beware of who you follow, my mother always said, because not everyone has your best interests in mind. I must have forgotten this advice those couple of years when I considered Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut to be a female empowerment idol in India. Anyone who follows Bollywood is aware of the...

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