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 .
Why Don't Facts Matter? "Fake News" may have a long history, but social media and 21st Century politics have brought it front and center. One reason for its appeal and its power is the tendency of so many people to cling to their beliefs — even when confronted with contradictory evidence. Today, another look at the Emotional States of America.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Does 'hire American' mean fire a foreigner? US companies are allowed to hire employees from other countries with highly developed skills that can't be found here. President Trump says it's being abused as a way to find cheap foreign labor. We hear about the benefits—and the risks—of changing the H-1B program.