past+present+history+podcast+nicole+hemmer+natalia+petrzela+neil+young+historians
Multi MediaPodcast

Fyre Festival, the 1992 LA Uprisings, and North Korea

Past and Present: Episode 82

In this week’s episode, Niki, Natalia, and Neil discuss the causes of the Fyre Festival fiasco, the anniversary of the LA uprisings, and the history of US-North Korea relations.

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Category Anxiety: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize
FeaturePoetryReviews

Category Anxiety: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize

It’s been a weird year (the weirdest I can remember at least), and Thursday morning’s announcement that Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature made it weirder still. But, overall, it is weird in a welcome way.

Pre-announcement speculation centered on the possibility that the prize might be awarded to an American. Given that Toni …

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Bowie is Watching You © Sarah Stierch | Flickr
FeatureLetters

I Can’t Give Everything Away: on David Bowie’s Final Song

I had heard snippets of “Lazarus”, the third song on David Bowie’s new release “Blackstar”, on the radio last week. The announcer described it as part of Bowie’s newest “jazz album”, although the strongest connection I could detect with jazz was the omnipresence of the saxophone as a lead instrument. Whether the album was “jazz” or not did not concern me all that much. I thought the song was excellent …

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Chuck D performing in Malmo, Sweden,1991 © Jonn Leffmann | Wikimedia Commons
Arts & DesignEssaysMedia & Publics

Rap as News or Art?

“Rap music is the CNN of the ghetto.” – Chuck D

Rap began — Chuck D nailed it — as news from the streets. Rap riffed ghetto life, syncopated in hard rhymes and dense metaphor the raw reality of the ghetto. In Ronald Reagan’s America, blacks in the ghettos from Harlem to Bed Stuy to South Central formed what George Bataille called the heterogeneous element of society — or the unassimable byproduct of a culture, born of that culture, upon which the culture rests. In plain English, rap was the art of the dispossessed, and as the art of the dispossessed, it tells us the truth of the trickle-down economic era from the mouths of those who were held far beneath the place where the trickle dried up. …

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