“Nothing More Familiar to the American Landscape Than Highways and Religion”

Review: Roadside Religion: In Search of the Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith, by Timothy Beal Perhaps you take to the road with the explicit aim of [...] discovering the world beyond your world. But what you end up discovering may be something more profoundly transformative and re-creative: yourself beyond yourself, in other... Continue Reading →

Conning Culture: Hype in the Social Media Age

Hype: How Scammers, Grifters, and Con Artists Are Taking Over the Internet―and Why We're Following The story of the Fyre Festival, which saw Instagram influencers tricked into promoting a music festival on a private Bahamian island with luxury accommodations, gourmet dining and a picturesque setting, only to turn out to be a few rain-soaked tents... Continue Reading →

Recent Release Minis: Nobody’s Normal, Made in China, You’ll Never Believe What happened to Lacey

Psychiatry, prison-camp manufactured Chinese goods, and racist tales from Nebraska. What a grab bag today. Let's dive in! Nobody's Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness, by Roy Richard Grinkerpublished January 26, 2021 by W.W. Norton Only recently did mental illnesses brand the whole person, not just his or her behavior, with what['s...]... Continue Reading →

Three On (In)Justice

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was picked up for a murder that he not only didn't commit, but that he ridiculously couldn't have committed: he'd been locked into a warehouse working an overnight shift miles away when the robbery and shooting occurred. No problem for the prosecution, though - they just alleged he scaled a... Continue Reading →

A Little of Why We Love Dolly

She Come By It Natural collects author Sarah Smarsh's four long-form essays about Dolly Parton and the beloved singer's connections to feminism through her roots in rural poverty in Tennessee (it's better than I'm setting it up, but that's the basic premise). These essays were the result of a Freshgrass Foundation journalism fellowship Smarsh won,... Continue Reading →

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