Hussein Rashid The Muppets are back on TV, and now seems to be a good moment to talk about how they represent what America is, not what it was. Their recent family news and music videos display the multi-cultural United States that is our new normal. First, of course, is the shocking news that Kermit and Miss Piggy have broken up, and that Kermit has a new girlfriend. It is a sad day, but also speaks to the fact that the US has a high divorce rate.
Tag Archives: visual culture
Kelly J. Baker I want to go to a Hell House, the evangelical Christian alternative to the ubiquitous haunted houses that pop up every October. I say this almost every year, but I’ve yet to attend one. I’ve only had near misses. When I was in high school in the 1990s, local churches took their youth groups to a Judgement House, the kissing cousin of the Hell House, in Dothan, Alabama. The ride was about 90 minutes round trip, but Judgement House’s message about dangers of the modern world were apparently worth cramming boisterous teens into buses and church vans.
Luís León At a time when the bombastic politics of Donald Trump are dehumanizing and vilifying Mexican immigrants, Luis Alfaro’s new play gives audiences a much-needed human perspective on migrants in Los Angeles. Alfaro brings into sharp relief the tragedies undocumented workers face, and the sacrifices they make in order to work in the United States.
Jolyon Baraka Thomas My wife and I stepped into a home furnishings store in Arcata, California, this past May. We weren’t necessarily looking to buy much, but with an upcoming move to Philadelphia we were checking out furniture styles and seeking decoration ideas for our new home. We were on vacation and needed a bit of a break between brunch and a hike, so a little idle consumerism seemed like an appropriate midday activity.
Briallen Hopper It’s back-to-school season. Pumpkin lattes are here, school supplies are on sale, and thousands of students are showing up at college and trying to figure out what religion means in their lives. For some students, figuring out faith in college will be a relatively straightforward process that might involve taking a cool-looking religion class, joining a religious student group, or blithely deciding to prioritize sleep over worship services.
Louis A. Ruprecht Jr. There is more than one way to look at religion, and more than one place in which to find sacred energies alive and well today. These are neither surprising nor controversial contentions for readers of Sacred Matters. The central idea here is that the traditional notion of modern “secularization” does not capture the realities of the ever-shifting religious landscape in the contemporary United States (and in much of the modern world, for that matter).
Kelly J. Baker I decided to begin a project on zombie apocalypses, in part because of The Walking Dead’s popularity but also because of burgeoning amount of zombie media, the books, films, products, television shows, memes, and apps that center on zombies. My decision also hinged on the uncritical embrace of zombies by fans, critics, friends, relatives, and my students.
Derek H. Alderman, Hannah Gunderman and Donna G’Segner Alderman
In describing Elvis Presley in Wilson and Ferris’ 1989 Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Stephen Tucker wrote: “Presley is probably the most famous Southerner of the 20th century.” Elvis occupies third place on John Sheldon Reed’s list of the twenty most influential Southerners of the past century, eclipsed by only Martin Luther King, Jr. and William Faulkner.
David Feltmate August 6 is coming. Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. We now know the hour and the day of the reckoning and I do not envy Trevor Noah. He has taken on the most thankless job in American mass media, replacing the much beloved Stewart and trying to endear himself to an audience that has built itself around a charismatic comedic character.
Jonathan Orbell When my wife suggested we go out and see Pixar’s newly released Inside Out, I agreed, albeit reluctantly. “I’ll be asleep within 20 minutes,” I thought. Suffice it to say, I’m not really a “kids movie” kind of guy; more of an “old soul.” I was in for one hell of a surprise. Inside Out consists of two parallel storylines. The first, occurring in the “real” world, tells the story of Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), an 11-year-old Minnesotan girl whose family moves out to San Francisco.