From the author of the highly acclaimed heavy metal memoir, Fargo Rock City, comes another hilarious and discerning take on massively popular culture--set in Chuck Klosterman's den and your own--covering everything from the effect of John Cusack flicks to the crucial role of breakfast cereal to the awesome power of the Dixie Chicks. Countless writers and artists have spoken for a generation, but no one has done it quite like Chuck Klosterman. With an exhaustive knowledge of popular culture and an almost effortless ability to spin brilliant prose out of unlikely subject matter, Klosterman attacks the entire spectrum of postmodern America: reality TV, Internet porn, Pamela Anderson, literary Jesus freaks, and the real difference between apples and oranges (of which there is none). And don't even get him started on his love life and the whole Harry-Met-Sally situation. Whether deconstructing Saved by the Bell episodes or the artistic legacy of Billy Joel, the symbolic importance of The Empire Strikes Back or the Celtics/Lakers rivalry, Chuck will make you think, he'll make you laugh, and he'll drive you insane--usually all at once. Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs is ostensibly about art, entertainment, infotainment, sports, politics, and kittens, but--really--it's about us. All of us. As Klosterman realizes late at night, in the moment before he falls asleep, "In and of itself, nothing really matters. What matters is that nothing is ever 'in and of itself.'" Read to believe.
Hedges, a veteran correspondent, has reported on the front lines in the Balkans, the Middle East and Central America. Here, he discusses how friends, enemies, colleagues and strangers can become intoxicated and even addicted to the heady brew of war.
After reflecting on his support of a losing Democrat for president, George Soros steps back to revisit his views on why George Bush's policies around the world fall short in the arenas most important to Soros: democracy, human rights and open society. As a survivor of the Holocaust and a life-long proponent of free expression, Soros understands the meaning of freedom. And yet his differences with George Bush, another proponent of freedom, are profound.
In this powerful essay Soros spells out his views and how they differ from the president's. He reflects on why the Democrats may have lost the high ground on these values issues and how they might reclaim it. As he has in his recent books, On Globalization and The Bubble of American Supremacy, Soros uses facts, anecdotes, personal experience and philosophy to illuminate a major topic in a way that both enlightens and inspires.
In the pre-Internet, pre-VCR--oh, go ahead, call them prehistoric--days of baby boomers' grade school, the high art of audiovisual classroom programming was the filmstrip. If you're old enough, you remember the darkened room, the hum of the projector, and the beeep that signaled the teacher to turn to the next frame.
If you weren't busy shooting spitballs, filmstrips might even have taught you something about science, hygiene, the great bounty of American farms and factories. With simple illustrations and quaint photographs that evoke a more innocent era, Change Your Underwear Twice a Week is the first book to collect dozens of these filmstrip treasures together, creating a panorama of four decades of overlooked graphic design, popular culture, and inadvertent humor.
Readers from the Internet generation will get a good chuckle over what appears to be electronic cave art. But you'll also discover one of the great subtexts of postwar American life. From the mid-1940s until the late 1960s, filmstrips were the coming attractions of capitalism and the American way, teaching youngsters how society wanted them to view the world.
Filmstrips celebrated our foundering railroads ("Tommy Takes a Train Trip"), the space program ("The Moon, Our Nearest Neighbor"), and our trusted friend the butcher, the milkman, the mailman, and the cop. They taught us not to sit too close to our new TV sets and why we should change our underwear twice a week (presumably, Commies did this only once a week).
A chronicle of America's filmstrip experience, Change Your Underwear Twice a Week is also a glimpse into the companies and eccentric pioneers who created these graphic gems and how they influenced several generations of American youth.
One of Argentina's 30,000 disappeared, Alicia Partnoy was abducted from her home by secret police and taken to a concentration camp where she was tortured, and where most of the other prisoners were killed. Smuggled out and published anonymously, The Little School is Partnoy's memoir of her disappearance and imprisonment.
An unprecedented account of life in Baghdad s Green Zone, a walled-off enclave of towering plants, posh villas, and sparkling swimming pools that was the headquarters for the American occupation of Iraq.
"The Washington Post" s former Baghdad bureau chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran takes us with him into the Zone: into a bubble, cut off from wartime realities, where the task of reconstructing a devastated nation competed with the distractions of a Little America a half-dozen bars stocked with cold beer, a disco where women showed up in hot pants, a movie theater that screened shoot- em-up films, an all-you-could-eat buffet piled high with pork, a shopping mall that sold pornographic movies, a parking lot filled with shiny new SUVs, and a snappy dry-cleaning service much of it run by Halliburton. Most Iraqis were barred from entering the Emerald City for fear they would blow it up.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews and internal documents, Chandrasekaran tells the story of the people and ideas that inhabited the Green Zone during the occupation, from the imperial viceroy L. Paul Bremer III to the fleet of twentysomethings hired to implement the idea that Americans could build a Jeffersonian democracy in an embattled Middle Eastern country.
In the vacuum of postwar planning, Bremer ignores what Iraqis tell him they want or need and instead pursues irrelevant neoconservative solutions a flat tax, a sell-off of Iraqi government assets, and an end to food rationing. His underlings spend their days drawing up pie-in-the-sky policies, among them a new traffic code and a law protecting microchip designs, instead of rebuilding looted buildings and restoring electricity production. His almost comic initiatives anger the locals and help fuel the insurgency.
Chandrasekaran details Bernard Kerik s ludicrous attempt to train the Iraqi police and brings to light lesser known but typical travesties: the case of the twenty-four-year-old who had never worked in finance put in charge of reestablishing Baghdad s stock exchange; a contractor with no previous experience paid millions to guard a closed airport; a State Department employee forced to bribe Americans to enlist their help in preventing Iraqi weapons scientists from defecting to Iran; Americans willing to serve in Iraq screened by White House officials for their views on "Roe v. Wade; "people" "with prior expertise in the Middle East excluded in favor of lesser-qualified Republican Party loyalists. Finally, he describes Bremer s ignominious departure in 2004, fleeing secretly in a helicopter two days ahead of schedule.
This is a startling portrait of an Oz-like place where a vital aspect of our government s folly in Iraq played out. It is a book certain to be talked about for years to come."
A study of the evolution of American women's clothing, When the Girls Came Out to Play traces the history of modern sportswear as a universal style that broke down traditional gender roles. Patricia Warner shows how this profound cultural shift, which did not reach fruition until World War II, originated during the previous century with the gradual expansion of socially acceptable physical activity for women. Behind this development was a growing interest in sports and exercise that was further nurtured by the establishment of schools of higher education for women.The participation of women in athletic pursuits previously reserved for men began with the relatively genteel sports of croquet and tennis. With the founding of women's colleges, these "ladylike" games were supplemented by more vigorous activities and competitive team sports, from gymnastics to swimming to basketball. At first, Warner points out, women literally had nothing to wear for these activities. Whereas such fashionable attire as corsets, petticoats, hats, and gloves could be worn while playing outdoor lawn games, more strenuous athletic endeavors required less physically restrictive clothing. Even so, change came only gradually, as women's colleges, shielded from public scrutiny and prying male eyes, permitted the adoption of looser, more comfortable apparel for physical education. Many of these new outfits featured trousers, garments considered taboo for women, though they often remained hidden beneath voluminous skirts. Over time, however, the practicality and versatility of such clothing led to social acceptance, laying the foundation for the emergence of the now ubiquitous yet distinctly American style known as sportswear. Although we take it for granted, Warner observes, this is the first time in the history of the world that such universality has existed in clothing, and it has lasted now for well over half a century--in itself a marvel, considering the speed of fashion change in an era of instant messages and images.
"A manual for fixing our culture...In writing that is elegant and penetratingly simple, hooks] gives voice to some things we may know in our hearts but need an interpreter like her to process."--Black Issues Book Review
Bestselling author, acclaimed visionary and cultural critic bell hooks continues her exploration of the meaning of love in contemporary American society, offering groundbreaking, critical insight about Black people and love.
Written from both historical and cultural perspectives, Salvation takes an incisive look at the transformative power of love in the lives of African Americans. Whether talking about the legacy of slavery, relationships and marriage in Black life, the prose and poetry of Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin, and Maya Angelou, the liberation movements of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, or hip hop and gangsta rap culture, hooks lets us know what love's got to do with it.
Combining the passionate politics of W.E.B. DuBois with fresh, contemporary insights, hooks brilliantly offers new visions that will heal our nation's wounds from a culture of lovelessness. Her writings on love and its impact on race, class, family, history, and popular culture raise all the relevant issues. This is work that helps us heal. Salvation shows us how to create beloved American communities.
A wickedly funny collection of personal essays from popular NPR personality Sarah Vowell.Hailed by Newsweek as a cranky stylist with talent to burn, Vowell has an irresistible voice -- caustic and sympathetic, insightful and double-edged -- that has attracted a loyal following for her magazine writing and radio monologues on This American Life. While tackling subjects such as identity, politics, religion, art, and history, these autobiographical tales are written with a biting humor, placing Vowell solidly in the tradition of Mark Twain and Dorothy Parker. Vowell searches the streets of Hoboken for traces of the town's favorite son, Frank Sinatra. She goes under cover of heavy makeup in an investigation of goth culture, blasts cannonballs into a hillside on a father-daughter outing, and maps her family's haunted history on a road trip down the Trail of Tears. Take the Cannoli is an eclectic tour of the New World, a collection of alternately hilarious and heartbreaking essays and autobiographical yarns.