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Modern American elites have come to favour inconspicuous consumption

Keeping cool in LA The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class. By Elizabeth Currid-Halkett. Princeton University Press; 254 pages; $29.95 and £24.95. STATUS symbols are as old as humanity itself. It was only once ancient Rome became rich enough for plebeians to decorate their homes that …

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Sam Shepard’s terrifying, hilarious rage

HE WAS best known as the star of movies such as “The Right Stuff” and TV shows such as “Bloodline”, which is odd. To say that Sam Shepard was a fine actor is like saying that Salman Rushdie wrote snappy advertising slogans or that Adam Smith was a pretty good …

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A new film-rating system considers depictions of gender roles

FILM-RATING systems have long been hopelessly subjective. Simply consider “I know it when I see it”, the statement made in 1964 by Potter Stewart, a Supreme Court justice, when ruling on an obscenity case. The situation hasn’t improved in the decades since. Both the Motion Picture Association of America and …

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The vanity and eerie beauty of early photography

, a copious exhibition of more than 300 early photographs at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, captures a moment when this now-quotidian technology was exotic and strange; a…Continue reading Powered by WPeMatico

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Epitaphs from the Great War find new life on Twitter

EVERY DAY at 5.30pm, an epitaph from the grave of a Commonwealth soldier or nurse killed during the Great War is posted on Twitter. They vary from the emotive (“Brave, upright, sincere, kind, a loved son, a widowed mother’s pride”), to the patriotic (“Surrendered self to duty, to his old …

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A new film sheds light on New York’s Hasidic community

A GREAT film can also double as a work of history, philosophy, or sociology, but it is perhaps at its most vital when serving as anthropology. Because of its immersive capabilities, film can expose broad audiences to unknown worlds. Sometimes these worlds are hidden among us. “Menashe” is such a …

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Australia’s most successful indigenous musician has died

DR YUNUPINGU, an indigenous Australian musician who sold over half a million records worldwide, wrote very few songs in English. The rest were sung in different languages of the Yolngu Matha group, which includes more than 30 languages and dialects spoken by several thousand people in north-east Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern …

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A British dance impresario in search of ideas

A leg up for dance THE Wellcome Genome Campus, the Sanger Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute are unlikely places to find a choreographer at work. But such research hubs turn out to be a natural habitat for Wayne McGregor. For more than two decades, the British choreographer has been …

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Cooking in the American south

The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South. By Michael Twitty. Amistad; 464 pages; $28.99. The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South. By John Edge. Penguin Press; 384 pages; $28. SOUTHERN American food’s most famous ambassador is Harland Sanders, the white-coated, goateed …

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A memoir of the lowest caste

Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India. By Sujatha Gidla. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 320 pages; $28. ONE in six Indians is a Dalit, which means “oppressed” in Sanskrit. That is to say, 200m Indians belong to a community deemed so impure by the scriptures …

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