William F. Buckley Jr. at a press conference.

An Implausible Mr. Buckley

A new PBS documentary whitewashes the conservative founder of National Review.
George Caleb Bingham, Stump Speaking (1853–54).

How the American Jeremiad Can Restore the American Soul

One of the country’s greatest rhetorical traditions still has the power to remind us of our founding principles.
Still from the 2023 indie film "Late Night with the Devil"

The Role of Talk Shows in Sensationalizing the Satanic Panic of the 1980s

"Late Night with the Devil," a “found footage” horror film, perfectly captures the mood and style that surrounded media depictions of the occult in the 1970s.
Cover of "The Freaks Came Out to Write"

The City in Its Grip: On Tricia Romano’s “The Freaks Came Out to Write”

Romano’s book is a vital, comprehensive piece of media scholarship about one of the most influential outlets of the last century. It’s also fun as hell to read.
Book cover of: 'Through a Grid, Darkly: On Anna Shechtman’s “The Riddles of the Sphinx,”' in red lettering

Through a Grid, Darkly

The feminist history of the crossword puzzle: some of the form's early champions were women working for little to no pay.
Fingerspelling alphabet.

Deafness Is Not a Silence

On the suppression of sign language.
Oscar Wilde

“A Nation of Lunatics.” What Oscar Wilde Thought About America

On the Irish writer’s grand tour of the Gilded Age United States.
The front page of a copy the Los Angeles Municipal Times.

Once Upon a Time, Los Angeles Voters Created Their Own Newspaper

The story of the Los Angeles Municipal News, and the hope — and limitations — of publicly owned newsrooms.
Edward R. Murrow on the telephone.

Edward R. Murrow Wasn’t the First Journalist to Question Joseph McCarthy’s Communist Witch Hunts

As the fear of communist subversion spread throughout America, McCarthy launched hearings that were based on scant evidence and overblown charges.
At the New York Public Library, 15 December 2004.

The Birth of Our System for Describing Web Content

Over a weekend in 1995, a small group gathered in Ohio to unleash the power of the internet by making it navigable.
Kara Swisher wearing headphones and writing in a notebook near a computer.

Over Three Decades, Tech Obliterated Media

A front-row seat to a slow-moving catastrophe. How tech both helps and hurts our world.
A hand-drawn, slightly abstract image of a pink typewriter, using a QWERTY keyboard.

Page Against the Machine

Dan Sinykin’s history of corporate fiction.
Nellie Bly.

How Nellie Bly and Other Trailblazing Women Wrote Creative Nonfiction Before It Was a Thing

On the early origins of a very American kind of writing.
Illustration of hands signing the fingerspelling alphabet

Unlocking Reason: How the Deaf Created Their Own System of Communication

Exploring Deaf history, language and education as the hearing child of a Deaf adult.
Parental advisory sticker warning of explicit content.
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Who Gets to Regulate #*%&? Free Speech in Popular Culture

When speech offends, who decides where boundaries should be drawn?
A pink, fluffy cloud raining colorful cubes, reminiscent of pieces of data.

What Do We Owe? Generosity, Attribution, and the Perilous Invisibility of Research Infrastructure

Attribution can make visible the vast infrastructure of research and display how much hard-won knowledge, including creative endeavor, it has faciliated.
A crowd at an American Nazi Party rally raising their hands for the Nazi salute.

What Is the History of Fascism in the United States?

Bruce Kuklick traces the meaning of the term “fascist” from its origins to the present day and how it has, over the years, gradually lost its coherence.
The subjects of Grant Wood's American Gothic channel speaking styles popular in California and New York.

A Brief History of the United States' Accents and Dialects

Migration patterns, cultural ties, geographic regions and class differences all shape speaking patterns
John Montgomery Ward and Helen Dauvray.

Before Taylor and Travis, There Was Helen and John

She was an actress. He was a shortstop. What we can learn from the press parade around this 19th-century power couple.
Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh

Radio and the Rise of Conservatism

Right-wing radio stations are tied to an increase in conservatism among listeners.
A computer-drawn image of George Moses Horton.

Stand Up and Spout

Cecil Brown wants to digitally revive the enslaved antebellum poet George Moses Horton. Can digital technology help reconnect us to the tradition he embodied?
The New York Times headquarters in Manhattan.

The ‘Times’ Is A-Changing

A new history of the ‘New York Times.’
Tom Wolfe in profile against the New York City skyline.

The Electric Kool-Aid Conservative

Tom Wolfe was no radical.
The Confederate States Almanac
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On Harvests and Histories

Almanacs from the Civil War era reveal how two sides of an embattled nation used data from the natural world to legitimize their claims to statehood.
Barbed wire, and participants on the 2014 community pilgrimage to Tule Lake.

Why the Language We Use to Describe Japanese American Incarceration During World War II Matters

A descendant of concentration camp survivors argues that using the right vocabulary can help clarify the stakes when confronting wartime trauma
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The Eternal Inflation of the Spotless Grade

For more than 50 years, we've been worrying about "grade inflation" at elite American universities. It's time to move on.
Ivy League presidents testify before Congress about campus antisemitism.
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What Today’s University Presidents Can Learn From the 1st Modern Expulsion Over Campus Hate Speech

A 1990 case from Brown University was the first time a modern university expelled a student for a violation of a "hate speech code.”
Two protestors holding a Palestinian flag with "stop genocide" written on it, surrounded by red handprints.

The War in Gaza Has Exposed the Limits of the Word “Genocide”

The term is 80 years old. Everyone is still fighting over its meaning.
Illustration of an atomic bombing.

Blood on Our Hands

What did Truman and Oppenheimer actually say in that room?
Henry Kissinger in the table in the White House situation room.

Kissinger, Me, and the Lies of the Master

‘Off off the record’ with the man who secretly taped our telephone calls.