'60s American culture altered communication
By Nathan Bierma, Special to the Tribune | March 11, 2004
When did the term "rhetoric" become an insult? When did the word cease to mean artfully crafted speech and start to convey scorn, as it does when we hear a campaign speech and mutter, "That's just rhetoric"? The answer is 1965, says John McWhorter in his recent book, "Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care" (Gotham Books, 279 pages, $26). That happened to be the year McWhorter was born and the year color television began to...
French, American cultures collide in romantic comedy '5 to 7'
Reuters | April 21, 2014
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George Marsden, Bancroft Prize-winning author of "Jonathan Edwards: A Life" (2003), surveys postwar liberalism and its discontents in order "to reflect upon the problem of how American public life might better accommodate religious pluralism. " Marsden, a self-professed "Augustinian Christian," is interested in discovering "the understandings and insights" that Americans "can hold in common" despite their many differences. This piece...
By June Sawyers | September 29, 1991
One of comedian Nora Dunn's characters-fashion model Pat Stevens-once said that her favorite book was Vogue. Well, Pat might now wish to pivot gracefully toward a new book titled "Nobody's Rib," Dunn's look at American culture. For more on the comedic storyteller and her evolving cast of characters, see the Cover Story inside. "My brothers and sisters, like all brothers and sisters, are bound by a common, exclusive language, I suppose. Whenever we get together we still tell all of our experiences in the form of...
Essay: Collins' coming out could accelerate gay acceptance
By Shannon Ryan, Tribune reporter | May 4, 2013
There was a time, in 1947 and before, when the mere presence of an African-American on a Major League Baseball team was enough to shake the game and the nation alike. Six years after Jackie Robinson smashed the sport's color barrier that year, still fewer than 10 African-Americans played in the big leagues. Even as white America slowly broadened its thinking and Brown v. Board of Education legally ended separate but equal laws in 1954, the Red Sox obstinately clung to...
American culture has always warmed to what's cool
By Alan G. Artner, Tribune art critic | March 12, 2006
Thinking about contemporary American culture brings me back to grammar school. Mine was on the Northwest Side of Chicago, and well before the day of metal detectors and drug pushers in the halls, it had its own menaces -- lethargic and dumb as a stone but transcendently popular. Occasionally I wonder what happened to those kids -- nobody at the time suspected they could grow up to be president -- but then it hits me that the attitude for which they were admired has been with...
Review: 'The Third Coast' by Thomas Dyja
By Bill Savage | April 21, 2013
The title of the first chapter of Thomas Dyja's "The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream," evokes a smile: "The Brick Is Another Teacher. " Dyja's book is roughly brick-size and brick-heft, and I wondered what it might have to teach. â€¢ His subtitle suggests that Dyja aims to join the long and semi-honorable tradition of Chicago boosterism, books that claim Chicago is "world-class" in something, or that Chicago's influence on this, that or the other aspect of American...
Reparations Part Ii: The Movement's Next Step
By Salim Muwakkil. Salim Muwakkil is senior editor at In These Times | February 12, 2001
The subject of reparations has provoked the most spirited...