Arts + Culture – Articles, Analysis, Opinion

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What happens when an entire society succumbs to childlike behavior and discourse? Elantseva Marina

The infantilization of Western culture

Our social institutions and politics suffer from a collective arrested development – and our relationship to technology has only exacerbated this trend.
For many non-Muslims, the fast food carts that line the streets of New York City and San Francisco are their primary point of contact with halal foods. Guian Bolisay

For many Muslim grocery shoppers, a shifting definition of ‘halal' 

The halal food sector largely relies on industrially produced meats and produce. But more and more Muslims are using the Quran to interpret halal to mean food that's wholesome and humanely raised.
An agave plant cutter, or ‘jimador,’ cuts the tips off from agave branches at a Jose Cuervo blue agave field. AP Photo/Guillermo Arias

3 questions about tequila, answered

Is a shot of tequila actually good for you? And what's the deal with the worm? To celebrate National Tequila Day, a food historian explores some little-known aspects of the popular Mexican spirit.
The 1947 and 1956 editions of the ‘Green Book,’ which was published to advise black motorists where they should – and shouldn’t – frequent during their travels. Image on the left: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. Image on right: Courtesy of the South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

‘Traveling while black’ guidebooks may be out of print, but still resonate today

From the 1930s to the 1960s, 'The Negro Motorist's Green Book' and 'Travelguide: Vacation and Recreation Without Humiliation' offered African-American roadtrippers lists of black-friendly businesses.
We’ll say someone’s brainwashed only when we disagree with their beliefs or actions. lolloj/Shutterstock.com

The brainwashing myth

Forty years ago, Rebecca Moore's two sisters helped plan the Jonestown massacre. But she refuses to say they were brainwashed, arguing that it prevents us from truly understanding their behavior.
H.F. ‘Gerry’ Lenfest, left, donated tens of millions of dollars to sustain Philadelphia’s newspapers. AP Photo/Rich Schultz

The pace of nonprofit media growth is picking up

Without credible news and information, a healthy democracy is not possible.
When asked, only nine percent of Americans say it’s a bad thing. But could more biases lurk beneath the survey data? Robert Mapplethorpe, 'Ken Moody and Robert Sherman' (1984). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Gift, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, 1993.

How do Americans really feel about interracial couples?

More interracial couples are appearing on TV and in advertising. But is media exposure enough to change attitudes?
Many homeless shelters are designed to house as many people as possible — not to empower them while they’re there. Reuters/Brian Snyder

Shelter design can help people recover from homelessness

Studies show that people's environments influence their mood. The same is true of homeless shelters, which can either help or hurt residents' psychological well-being — and, possibly, their futures.
An aerial view of Seligman, Arizona, looking west, dated March 12, 1971. Route 66 bisects the town. James R. Powell Route 66 Collection/Newberry Library

Could new legislation lead to a Route 66 economic revival?

'The Mother Road' is one step closer to becoming a National Historic Trail, which would allocate funds for struggling towns along the original Route 66.
Say cheese … or not. A woman works a stand at a cheese festival in Moscow, Russia. AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin

Why are Russians so stingy with their smiles?

In the US, smiling is a reflexive gesture of goodwill, but Russians view it as a sign of stupidity. Social psychology research could help explain this cultural contrast.
As Mark Twain once said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.’ Jake Simonds-Malamud

It’s time for a new approach to travel

Globalism has made it easier than ever to visit faraway places – and easier to never really leave home while you're there.
Former President Bill Clinton promotes ‘The President is Missing,’ the new novel he wrote with James Patterson, in New York. AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

In retirement, most ex-presidents can’t resist the urge to stay relevant

What happens to motivated, determined and egotistical men when they are forced to abandon the White House? As John Quincy Adams once said, 'There is nothing more pathetic in life than a former president.'
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev watch the action during the match between Russia and Saudi Arabia that opened the 2018 World Cup. Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

One likely winner of the World Cup? Putin

The Russian leader seems to understand the ability of sport to foment feelings of national pride and enhance his popularity at home.
In Season 3 of ‘Parts Unknown,’ Anthony Bourdain took viewers to Tanzania. CNN

Anthony Bourdain’s window into Africa

When covering Africa, Bourdain rejected the monolithic way media outlets have historically depicted the continent's diverse cultures and populations.