Runners cross the Verrazano Bridge during the New York Marathon (2005).

Rat Race

Why are young professionals crazy for marathons?
Jean-Léon Gérôme's painting,

‘Orientalism,’ Then and Now

Edward Said's Orientalism is still with us forty years after his influential book’s publication, but it is not the same as it was.
First lady Michelle Obama, flanked by President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump, greets Melania Trump at the White House on January 20, 2017.

What Cheer, Though?

Joyce Chaplin on the malevolence of American goodwill.
Betty Ford on her CB radio (1976).

When Betty Ford Had Her Ears On

A strong woman using a new tool to talk to people who were otherwise overlooked played as a joke for some. But was it effective?
A Walkman cassette player.

This Gen X Mess

The tech, music, style, books, trends, rules, films and pills that made Gen X so... so-so.
Frankie Lymon on the Ed Sullivan Show on May 25, 1958.

Teen Idol Frankie Lymon's Tragic Rise and Fall Tells the Truth About 1950s America

The mirage of the singer's soaring success echoes the mirage of post-war tranquility at home.
Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky meeting President Bill Clinton at a White House function submitted as evidence in documents by the Starr investigation and released by the House Judiciary Committee on September 21, 1998.

The Amplified Age

Jenny Hendrix on the 'Naughty Nineties,' the decade in which America rediscovered sex.
Richard Nixon appears on the comedy series 'Laugh-In' (1968).

In 1968, When Nixon Said "Sock It To Me" on 'Laugh-In,' TV Was Never Quite the Same Again

The show's rollicking one-liners and bawdy routines paved the way for cutting-edge television satire.
'American Farm Hand' by Sandor Klein (1937).

How Portraiture Gave Rise to the Glamour of Guns

American portraiture with its visual allure and pictorial storytelling made gun ownership desirable.
Program book from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers' 1985 tour.

Tom Petty: A Cool, Gray Neo-Confederate?

Michael Washburn explains what we can glean from the failure of Tom Petty's 1985 concept album "Southern Accents."

We Hold These Ideas to Be Self-Evident

Michael Kimmage considers "The Ideas That Made America: A Brief History" by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen.
Postage stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Pony Express (1960).

You've Got Mail

The rise and fall of the Post Office from Tocqueville to Fred Rogers.