Category Archives: Cultural Omnivore

The Cultural Omnivore is a monthly column by Rachel Kraus about art, media, and the real world.

Why “Disaster Porn” Storm Reporting is So Tantalizing — And Destructive

By Rachel Kraus

When Hurricane Irma tussled the West coast of Florida instead of decimating the state entirely, those of us following closely, but from afar, unwittingly felt…disappointed. Nowhere was that anticlimax more evident than in the overblown and ubiquitous fixture of the fall: the live television special news storm report. Continue reading

Stopping Global Warming Doesn’t Have to Be “Inconvenient”

By Rachel Kraus

Sitting in the back of a Doubletree Hotel courtesy van, exhausted, I fielded questions about why in the world I was in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Tom, the driver, was relentless with his inquiries. I was there for the Bonnaroo Music Festival. No, not for fun, for work. Oh, I work for an entertainment company. What does that have to do with Bonnaroo? I’m showcasing a documentary…A documentary about spin doctors. Well, about how spin doctors create doubt about and therefore delay action on, um, climate change. 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

Was S-Town’s John B. McLemore a Poetic Genius?

By Rachel Kraus

In the last lines of the seemingly open-ended podcast S-Town, produced by the makers of This American Life and Serial, narrator Brian Reed actually puts forth a conclusive assertion. While Mary Grace McLemore was pregnant with her son, the podcast’s subject John B. McLemore, she rubbed her belly and wished for a genius. The listener understands that in her son John B., that wish came true. Continue reading