KUDVA DRISKELL | Marvel’s Blatant Militarism

Pentagon funding aside, let’s consider the basic plot of the vast majority of Marvel movies: an attractive superhero travels to another country or world to fight a horde of faceless CGI monsters. Because, you know, apparently we should think that enemies overseas aren’t people.

PONTIN | All Hallow’s Eve

More profoundly, though, Halloween prompts us to tap into something that lies much deeper in our consciousness, something tied to an inherent desire to be flexible in our definitions of who we are. Halloween is, at its core, a celebration of malleability and a testament to the joy of recharacterization, imagination and exploration. 

PONTIN | When Cartoons Aren’t Funny

Political cartoons were perhaps the most openly accessible form of sociopolitical commentary in their time, largely abandoning the requirements for highbrow education — or even mere literacy — that newspaper columns and longer form publications demanded of their readers.

PONTIN | The Wilderness Experience

In reality, however, folk music is distinct from the genres we are quick to fasten together with it. Folk music’s melodious musketeers are made dear to us by the nuances that slowly reveal themselves to us unacquainted listeners as we let ourselves become submerged in their sounds: The deep acoustic and percussive tones of Americana, the often frustrated sense of fire in country and the confluence of higher-pitched string instrumentals like the fiddle and the banjo in bluegrass. 

LU | Exhaustion, 4 Exhibitions and Pleasure Reading

Spring semesters have always had a rapid cadence but this year, March slipped straight to May and April was an immaterial haze. Perhaps my April was also marked by the exhaustion of four nearly back-to-back exhibitions in the Johnson Museum.

PONTIN | Can’t Repeat the Past?

I would suggest that our predilection to concentrate on the explosion of arts and culture in the 1920s is not a means of purposefully concealing the decade’s true identity, but rather the result of a phenomenon in historiography. While the period was not entirely admirable, its likability is escalated by comparison.

YANG | The Romance of Substack and the Illusion of Meritocracy

Against this backdrop of the illusion of meritocracy, contrary to what Best said in the interview, I argue that Substack does not free journalists from the need to game the social media algorithms. Instead, Substack primarily serves those who have already successfully “gamed” the algorithms — those that have already been rewarded with attention, fame and popularity on existing social media platforms, particularly Twitter.