FROM Geoff Boucher
How do our Superheroes define us? Kids and delayed adolescents aren’t the only Americans drawn to Superheroes in comic books and multiplex theaters. Serious scholars are studying the mythological archetypes that get contemporary audiences to spend so much money. Out of all the available archetypes, which ones are going out of style—and who’s most likely to make a comeback? Students of cultural archetypes say that superheroes rise and fall in popularity according to the needs of their times. Batman’s been very big since September 11th—the angry avenger who’s willing to bend the rules in order to get things done. Is it time for a change? Options include the empowered underdog, like Spiderman. Or the Trickster represented by Iron Man. Is Superman just two squeaky clean for a comeback? What mythology will most appeal to American audiences in an era of economic uncertainty and political polarization?
Dixie Chicks Find Vindication, Take Home Five Grammys Two weeks before the Iraq invasion, the Dixie Chicks' lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience, "We're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas." The group was banned on country radio. But that was then and this is now. Last night the Dixie Chicks won all five of the Grammy Awards for which they were nominated. Their big hit, " Not Ready to Make Nice ," is an unapologetic response to Maines' comment about President Bush. We hear more about the politics of pop music from Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times .
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?