popular culture

  • The History Behind "The Northman"

    by David M. Perry and Matthew Gabriele

    The new epic has been billed as the most historically accurate Viking epic to play on screen, but it's accuracy comes from its effort to capture the subjective nature of Norse spirituality and supernatural belief and the narrative forms recognized by medieval audiences.

  • The Roots of the Story of "The Northman"

    Neil Price describes the work of being a historical consultant on the new Icelandic epic, including the story's common roots with "Hamlet" and the realities of Viking combat. 

  • Previewing Tulsa's New Bob Dylan Center

    by Douglas Brinkley

    "The center—a high-tech vessel holding the man’s oeuvre and an overview of the man—will be the spiritual home of Dylan, a relentless performer who is forever on the road."

  • How "4:20" Became Enshrined in Pot Culture

    Bored teens plus a coincidental after-school meeting time plus a statue of Louis Pasteur plus a gig as a Grateful Dead roadie turned out to equal a viral piece of pot culture that is known worldwide today.

  • How American Culture Ate the World

    by Dexter Fergie

    Sam Lebovic's book "A Righteous Smokescreen" seeks to explain how the cultural globalization of the 20th century was a one-way exchange of American culture that left Americans dominant but isolated from and ignorant of the rest of the world. 

  • Sampling the Epic in Kendrick Lamar's "Mortal Man"

    by Justine McConnell

    Remembering the essential orality of classical epics can help to understand them as works that have been sampled and remixed, and to place contemporary popular culture in dialogue with that tradition. 

  • Dave Grohl's Incurable Optimism

    Historian Daniel Bessner says that Dave Grohl's memoir is heavy on affable storytelling but doesn't offer Grohl's views on the huge shakeups in the music industry that he's witnessed over his career. 

  • Spielberg was the Director Lincoln Deserved

    The director, with writer Tony Kushner and star Daniel Day-Lewis, nailed the idea of Lincoln as an imperfect leader nevertheless "fitted to the times we were born into," in a film that holds up after ten years.

  • Betty Davis, Pioneering Queen of Funk, Dies at 77

    Her brief marriage to jazz great Miles Davis and ultimate withdrawal from the music business have overshadowed Betty Davis's legacy as a songwriter and performer with lasting influence beyond her album sales.