Arts + Culture – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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A pot of flowers adorned with a cross hangs from the picket fence where University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was tied, beaten and left for dead in October 1998. Gary Caskey/Reuters

Out of Matthew Shepard’s tragic murder, a commitment to punishing hate crimes emerged

Twenty years ago, Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered for being gay. A lawyer who helped implement hate crime legislation in Shepard's name reflects on its strengths and limitations.
Those mesmerized by NASA’s accomplishments and ambitions wanted so much more out of the reticent Armstrong. AP Photo

Neil Armstrong and the America that could have been

After the first moon landing, the feelings that propelled a unified national mission quickly dissipated. Could Armstrong have played a bigger role in galvanizing the public for future projects?
A bridge in Palu, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, was destroyed in the recent earthquake and tsunami. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

An Indonesian city’s destruction reverberates across Sulawesi

The devastation of the recent earthquake and tsunami might be most visible in Palu, the capital city of Central Sulawesi. But the province’s rural areas could ultimately suffer the most.
The statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus Circle, New York City. Zoltan Tarlacz/Shutterstock.com

Columbus believed he would find ‘blemmyes’ and ‘sciapods’ – not people – in the New World

Christopher Columbus' 1492 voyage was really a journey into the unknown. Centuries of conventional wisdom had conditioned him to believe that bizarre beasts and 'monstrous men' would be awaiting him.
Scenes from ‘Grease 2’ that may have garnered laughs in the 1980s are cringe-worthy by today’s standards. Paramount Pictures

Brett Kavanaugh goes to the movies

'Grease 2' – which, according to Kavanaugh's calendar, he saw on June 16, 1982 – is an example of the brand of entitled masculinity that appeared in the era's teen flicks.
Some believe the color pink can calm unruly inmates. Others say it’s a form of humiliation. Mohd KhairilX/Shutterstock.com

Can pink really pacify?

Famously feminized by the Nazis – and later used in prison cells to limit aggression in inmates – the color pink toes a shaky line between social psychology and gender stereotyping.
Do we have any reason to believe that each new generation of white people will be more open-minded and tolerant than previous ones? Elvira Koneva

Are today’s white kids less racist than their grandparents?

Over the course of two years, a sociologist studied a group of affluent, white kids to see how they made sense of sensitive racial issues like privilege, unequal opportunity and police violence.
Nervous about how southern television viewers would react, NBC executives closely monitored the filming of the kiss between Nichelle Nichols and William Shatner. U.S. Air Force

TV’s first interracial kiss launched a lifelong career in activism

The career arc of Nichelle Nichols – the first black woman to have a continuing co-starring role on TV – shows how diverse casting can have as much of an impact off the screen as it does on it.
Self-knowledge rarely comes packaged in a single coherent narrative. Yet this is the expectation we have of the children in our lives. Billion Photos

For the parents of gender-nonconforming kids, a new approach to care

The signs might be there. But parents and clinicians will still wonder if there's some foolproof way to determine whether their children are actually trans. There isn't one – and that's okay.