Remembering Adam West: Batman and 1960s America 

By Ryan Donovan Purcell

As we remember the late Adam West, who passed on June 9, many will consider the meaning of his signature role in the 1960s television series Batman, as well as in the broad context of American popular culture. Adam West was not merely a camp actor. His performance as Batman articulated a particular set of American values that shaped a generation of young viewers. Adam West himself, in a 1966 interview, understood his role as an American “folk hero,” a “legend,” which represented distinct cultural values in 1960s America. The series, which ran from 1966 to 1968, outlined a strong moral compass and emphasized social values such as individualism and self-reliance. Batman ran parallel to the law and order rhetoric of contemporary politicians, including Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon, who comprised the emergent strain of conservatism in American political thought. As we remember the life of Adam West, we might consider the historical context in which Batman, his signature role, was produced. Continue reading

My Time Between Drivel and Inspiration: A Letter to Elie Wiesel from a Former Student

By Tom Stern

Dr. Elie Wiesel
New York, NY
July 23, 2016 

Dear Dr. Wiesel,

I don’t know how to do this. And I’m embarrassed to admit that. Because I am a writer. This we shared. And in ways that I suspect very few people do. Like a constant fever. And a compass. Somehow both at once. Even so, I simply don’t know how to articulate what it was that you taught me. Continue reading

Searching for Batya

By Donna Myrow

On a late afternoon I heard a knock on the office door. It’s usually a teenager scheduled for a meeting to work on a story with one of my editors, but I didn’t recognize the person who walked in. Her name was Batya Brummer, a pretty girl with brown hair and startling blue eyes. She asked for Amanda, the editor assigned to our foster youth writing project. Continue reading

Orphan Black Season Five, “Let the Children and Childbearers Toil”: Monsters All

By Everett Hamner

This is the fourth in a series of episode-by-episode reflections on Orphan Black season five (preview article; episode 1 ; episode 2; episode 3). These pieces do not provide thorough plot summaries but do include spoilers; they assume readers have already been viewers. Responses via Twitter continue to be very welcome! Continue reading

The Explorer’s History of Korean Fiction in Translation: Not a Soul Without Blame

By Charles Montgomery

The LARB Korea Blog is currently featuring selections from The Explorer’s History of Korean Fiction in Translation, Charles Montgomery’s book-in-progress that attempts to provide a concise history, and understanding, of Korean literature as represented in translation. You can find links to previous selections at the end of the post. Continue reading

How Music Reveals the Pitfalls — and Possibilities — of Patriotism

By Rachel Kraus

With 4th of July around the corner, I have found myself wondering how we sustain pride in our country during a most complicated time for America. “The Star Spangled Banner” still makes me feeling something, but no amount of O say can you sees and fireworks can erase a morose outlook on our political reality and future. Continue reading

July Horoscopes

By The Voluptuous Witch

July opens with great intensity and heightened awareness of power dynamics (meaning, try not tell your boss off this week), and we’ll have to get used to this level of charge, as the summer’s astrology contains quite a bit of surprise. Change will be the constant! As always, willingness to shift and grow will ease our experience. This month, emotional, protective Cancer moves into glamorous, look-at-me Leo, so the month gains vibrancy as it goes on. The Capricorn Full Moon on July 9 is conjunct Pluto, so extremely honest revelations will be the norm, while late month’s New Moon in Leo on July 23 grants our playful side an innocent new beginning. Continue reading

Legacy of Racism: The Tree and Land as Symbols of Love and Hate

By Vanessa Fabien

At the Association for the Study of African American Life and History Conference a few years ago, I spoke with Michelle Duster, Ida B. Wells-Barnett’s great-granddaughter.

“What were Ida B. Wells’s thoughts on the environment?”

Duster replied: “She was too busy protecting people from getting lynched to think about the environment.” Continue reading

A Remembrance of Osamu Mihashi (1936-2015)

By Steve Light

The Japanese sociologist and left-wing political activist Osamu Mihashi passed away on December 29, 2015 at the age of 79. He was a dear friend and teacher and I will miss him in every way, profoundly. What a wonderful person he was and what a wonderful sense of humor he had! Every time we spoke we would laugh and laugh. In his presence or even during a phone conversation across oceans you felt the twinkle, the sparkle, the beautiful effervescence which were constituent elements of his personality. Yes, he was such a delightful person! You felt happy, glad, enthused in his presence, at the sound of his voice and its cadences, because of his smile and once again and always his absolutely endearing sense of humor which meant that joy was ever available in his presence. And above all he was a good person in the very best sense of the word, of this most important of all human aspects. My, how I miss him! Continue reading