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The oil rig explosion in Deepwater Horizon (2016), a film about the worst oil spill in US history. © Lionsgate

Friday essay: the Rise and Fall of oil in popular culture

The search for oil was once depicted in movies and books as a boys' own adventure. But as films such as Deepwater Horizon show, in an age of anxieties over fossil fuels, oil's story is now a darker one.
Rose and Groote Eylandters Nertichunga, Machana and Nabia, Groote Eylandt, 1941. Courtesy of SLNSW, Frederick Rose papers, Box 5

The red professor and the white anting that continues to this day

The book Red Professor: the Cold War Life of Fred Rose tells of a progressive anthropologist who was stymied by non-Indigenous people in powerful positions. Sadly, it's a narrative that still resonates today.
Sam Sianis, owner of the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago, on the field prior to a 1984 National League playoff game. AP Photo

The World Series of the Apocalypse?

No team in sports has inspired better literature than the hapless Chicago Cubs. The oeuvre includes a little-known tale by W.P. Kinsella: 'The Last Pennant Before Armageddon.'
A portrait of Indian poet and musician Rabindranath Tagore. Cherishsantosh/Wikimedia Commons

No, Bob Dylan isn’t the first lyricist to win the Nobel

In 1913, an Indian literary giant named Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-white person to win the literature prize. He wrote over 2,000 songs and, like Dylan's, they still resonate today.

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