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We Need Smith = We Need Anglos?

Any new political organization ought to be leading us away from the prejudices that have dominated American politics in the past, rather than exploiting them for its own political purposes. We Need Smith fails this test. [...]

How to be a Girl, How to be a Boy: Tips from the Vending Machine

Lessons from a vending machine:

How to be a Girl How to be a Boy Fly Glitter brightly Be a butterfly Dream Be mystical Wear sparkly jewelry Expose your cleavage and midriff Get nautical, but in a loving way Be sweet and fruitful Smell sweet like a rose Admire flowers Be two inches tall [...]

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Other

Guns, wedding gowns, cold beer. I think one of these things at Hussey’s General Store in Windsor, Maine does not belong with the other two, but I can’t decide which it is.

This is the opposite of what happens in the big cities, where specialty shops like Filipino groceries or antique travel book shops [...]

The Holy Grail Gives Alpha its Omega

When our society’s seekers of knowledge, conquest or material objects talk about their ultimate goals, they often appeal to crusading and questing metaphors that can take on religious overtones. Some place themselves in the role of old Sir Galahad, speaking of their object as “the Holy Grail of” something or other, even when that object [...]

The Evolution of a Quote: Misconceived, Misattributed, Misconstrued

Yesterday a professional contact of mine shared the following message on Facebook:

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an [...]

Kill Your Car

Cars are doing us more harm than good.

Cars pollute the air and water. They clutter up the land with roadways and parking lots.

Cars encourage not just the burning of fossil fuels, but drilling, too, resulting in significant ecological degradation.

Cars fill our neighborhoods with noise. They slam into pedestrians and bicyclists, making it [...]

In “Slut” Debacle, Rush Limbaugh Reflects Us

It would be nice to be able to say that Rush Limbaugh is an outlier for shouting “slut!” at a woman who dared to testify regarding contraceptive coverage policy on Capitol Hill. But I don’t think I can honestly say that. I just finished a review of the 1,577 Twitter posts yesterday that contained the [...]

Where the Hoaxes Live: the overlapping Geography of Obama Urban Legends

Google Correlate is a new research tool used to find out where in the United States the entry of certain search terms is concentrated, and which search terms’ levels of popularity are correlated with one another across the 50 states. The first idea is pretty straightforward: where are people more or less likely to be [...]

Cultural Blending at the Ross County Fair

I love the cultural blends that shape America.

I can also report that a deep-fried Twinkie tastes just about as awful as you’d expect.

Where Is Trend Leadership in Religion-Free USA?

Those same illegal immigrants that right wingers love to complain about seem to be slowing down the erosion of religion in California. I wonder if the Religious Right will adjust its rhetoric, and shift toward support of liberalized immigration. [...]

Irreligion Substantial In Unexpected Places

The survey indicates that about 28 percent of people in Wyoming identify themselves as having no religion. That’s only 6 percent fewer than the percentage of nonreligious people in Vermont. [...]