Articles on American culture

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Yggdrasil, the tree that supports the world in Norse myth, can be found in America in Neil Gaiman’s mash-up of world religion. Starz

Guide to the classics: Neil Gaiman’s American Gods

American Gods imagines a US where ancient gods exist at "right angles to reality", asking why we have mythologies and why we need them.
Gurneys to remove bodies from the Heaven’s Gate cult house in San Diego, California, March 27, 1997. AP Photo

What the Heaven’s Gate suicides say about American culture

Twenty years ago, the paranoia that consumed cults like Heaven's Gate existed on the margins of American society. Now it's moved toward the center of the nation's political life.
Once you start, you can’t stop. 'Injection' via www.shutterstock.com

Why are young women without wrinkles using Botox?

By getting young women hooked before they've even formed wrinkles, Botox peddlers have realized they can enlist them in a lifetime of treatment.
The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, is one of the few remnants of America’s mid-20th century motel boom. Library of Congress

The twilight of the mom and pop motel

What does the shuttering of traditional roadside motels say about America's relationship with travel and freedom?
Nationwide, barbershops are on the decline. 'Barber' via www.shutterstock.com

Goodbye to the barbershop?

Is the decline of the corner barbershop another indicator that male friendships and community ties are eroding? Or could it simply mean that concepts of masculinity are shifting?
The US and Cuban flags with Havana’s National Capitol Building in the background. EPA/Michael Reynolds

Lessons from Cuba about reclaiming symbols of a painful past

Cuba's National Capitol Building has been reclaimed as the seat of the National Assembly 54 years after it was abandoned by the new revolutionary government. There are lessons in this for others.
Superman’s over the hill. 'Superhero' via www.shutterstock.com

The twilight of the superhero?

The flop of the Fantastic Four seems to suggest that viewers are more eager to embrace characters who reflect our inherently flawed humanity.
Through his music, Lead Belly rejected the stereotype that country music was the domain of white artists, while blues music was reserved for blacks. Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Lead Belly’s music defied racial categorization

Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection depicts the fully-formed artist – a blues musician, yes, but also a performer of string-band, country and pop songs.
Many former NFL players face the future with despair: the years after retirement can include an array of physical and financial woes. USA Today Sports/Reuters

Is there life after football for NFL pros?

The cascade of woes that have befallen former NFL players has stunned fans and casual observers. Former NFL stars Junior Seau and Dave Duerson committed suicide. All-pro Warren Sapp went bankrupt after…
Selma director and co-writer Ava DuVernay has crafted a new and important vision of an oft-examined era in our nation’s history. Stanley Wolfson/Library of Congress

Selma blurs line between past and present

Hollywood films that depict American history deeply influence our sense of national identity. Films that portray Civil Rights and Black Freedom history are particularly important. Beyond entertaining moviegoers…

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