Articles on American culture

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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…
Ferguson citizens protest after the jury’s verdict. EPA/Larry W. Smith

Ferguson has reinforced racial fear and lethal stereotypes

The decision not to charge police officer Darren Wilson with the unlawful shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown has reignited protests across the US. The judgment was met by violent outrage on the streets…
CrossFitters can be found flipping tires or hitting them with a sledgehammer, climbing ropes, and tossing medicine balls. Shutterstock

CrossFit: elite fitness or pointless pain?

It’s a known fact that exercise is addictive. But CrossFitters – those who take part in CrossFit’s brutal workouts and stringent diet – are infamous for their fanatical devotion to their fitness philosophy…
Where to for Don Draper and the kind of man he is in Mad Men’s final season? Courtesy of FOXTEL

Inside the Mad Men: Don Draper and American masculinity

This weekend, AMC’s Mad Men returns to TV screens for its final season, due to be shown in two halves, this year and next. In its six seasons to date the period drama has won plaudits for its writing and…

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