CULTURE

Rising Seas and Falling Stars

There’s a jarring sense that we are living in apocalyptic times, and we hope and pray that all the turmoil—social, political, economic, and ecological—will somehow lead to a last minute save or revelation.

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A Monument that Works for All

When Daniel Burnham, Cass Gilbert, Daniel Chester French, and their fellow commissioners chose Henry Bacon’s Greek temple design for the Lincoln Memorial in 1913, the Chicago chapter of the American Institute of Architects, led by an associate a Frank Lloyd Wright, threw a fit.

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Controversy Over New Deal Art

Who gets to say what parts of the American narrative are acceptable and what parts are to be excised or erased? This is the heart of a heated conversation about the role of public art today.

The spotlight has been on New Deal muralists known for their radical views of history.

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How to Be a Good Ancestor

“Are we being good ancestors?” This question resonated with Krznaric and his wife, the Oxford economist Kate Raworth, who are raising twins. These two academic superstars have been drawing on 40 years of systems modeling and risk research to create a better world for future generations.

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Up Against the Wall

In her new book, Wall Disease, Jessica Wapner considers how living up against a border creates stress, fear, mistrust and a host of serious health conditions, including trauma and early childhood development issues, and even a subtle reshaping of the brain—in particular, the area that contains our compass for survival.

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Roger Williams’s America

The conflict over control within the first colonies—who could vote, who dictated one’s beliefs, who held authority over whom—was hard-fought, a prelude to the relentless skirmishes we endure today.

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Voices of Civil Rights

For a passionate and prolific response to racism in America we turn to two extraordinary artists from the 1960s: Nina Simone and James Baldwin. Simone sang about Mississippi lynchings and Baldwin wrote about the profound abuse that Blacks suffered in the South. The two friends supported each other in the fight for Civil Rights.

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Black Fatigue

“I want to give the Black community permission to say I am not okay. I am tired. I am tired. I have not watched the video of Ahmaud Arbery. It is too much. I have not watched the video of George Floyd. It is too much.”

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What Myth Now?

Americans of all stripes have been in a state of great distress, wondering what the future will hold—yearning for a vision, new or old, that will help resolve what I term “cultural complexes” that divide us on issues of immigration, race, gender, abortion, health care, the relationship between rural and urban populations, between the individual and the broader community, and our views on the role of government today.

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