September 20, 2009 |
The documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has a story he clearly loves to tell. He was walking in New York City a few years ago -- on a date -- when he heard a man he'd just passed yell violently back at him: "What about Mingus?!" Preceding the name of the protean jazz bassist was a pungent (and unprintable) expletive. Burns turned to his date and reassured her. "It's just about 'Jazz,' " he said, referring to his 10-part history shown on PBS in 2001, which drew big audiences and critics' complaints that he overlooked key figures.
March 2, 2004 |
By the end of his career, the Pulitzer Prize-wining historian Daniel Boorstin, who died last weekend at 89, had come to be derided in some quarters as a conservative. In an age that viewed national myths with skepticism, Boorstin celebrated American exceptionalism and touted Western achievements.
September 17, 2013
Re "The end of U.S. exceptionalism," Opinion, Sept. 12 Apparently vexed by the "oddness" of President Obama's speech on Syria last week, Timothy Garton Ash's commentary is an odd piece itself. The term "exceptionalism" was used in the title but never again appeared or explained thereafter, hence leaving the reader guessing. "Exceptionalism" in this article could mean "isolationist" at times and "interventionist" at others, or both, depending on the zeitgeist. Parenthetically, for your "average" American reader, "exceptionalism" has often been thought of as American material and cultural superiority.
December 2, 2011 |
If you want a gauge of an America on the downward slope, you could look at the recent poll commissioned by the newspaper the Hill, in which a startling 69% of respondents said they considered the country to be in decline. Or you could just consider the soaring language of this season's presidential candidates. Mitt Romney, in a recent Republican debate on foreign policy, was typical, insisting that "this century must be an American century" in which "America leads the free world and the free world leads the entire world.
October 24, 2010 |
So the options are these: You laugh with Kenny Powers, you laugh at Kenny Powers, you laugh at yourself for not laughing at Kenny Powers, you laugh at everyone else who does laugh at Kenny Powers. How about just not laughing? Now in the middle of its second season on HBO, "Eastbound & Down" remains one of the most perverse, confounding shows on television, a miasma of upturned middle fingers, offhand racism, casual drug use and profanity, all buoyed by a potent sense of American exceptionalism.
June 29, 2012 |
Music and athletics are sometimes not a natural fit. Yes, basketball stars hang with hip-hop stars, and X-Games riders hang out with punk rockers, but the worlds of jocks and musicians don't exactly intersect. When they do, it usually results in extremes. In one corner, there's complete camp -- "The Super Bowl Shuffle" -- and in the other, there's complete schmaltz --R. Kelly's "Space Jam"-affiliated "I Believe I Can Fly. " Muse had perhaps one of the more thankless tasks in crafting a song for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 2, 2003 |
Activists gathered in Redondo Beach on Saturday for an Amnesty International conference concluded that they don't have to venture overseas to find human rights abuses. Instead, they said, there are plenty here at home. The group's annual western regional conference, which began Friday and ends today at the Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach hotel, discussed different faces of discrimination around the globe -- everything from violence against women and gays to the ravages of AIDS in Africa to U.S.
February 19, 2010 |
Both rising stars and faces from the past borrowed from the movement of the moment Friday at an annual meeting of conservatives, where the language and energy of the "tea party" movement took center stage. "Patriots in this room and patriots across this country are rising up. And we have a message for liberals: We're planting the flag on common ground, and if you try to take our freedoms, we will fight back!" Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the activists gathered for the Conservative Political Action Conference.
April 20, 2011
The winning electoral coalition assembled by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s has been compared to a three-legged stool, the legs being social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and national security conservatives. As the 2012 Republican race takes shape, another leg has been added to the stool — the "tea party" movement. Last week, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced that he was setting up an exploratory committee (though it's hardly a secret what he'll discover), as did former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
April 29, 2011 |
Former Pennsylvania U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum delivered a harsh assessment of President Obama's foreign policy Thursday, criticizing Obama for being too lenient with foreign enemies and for not believing in America's role of promoting freedom around the world. In an hour-long afternoon speech at the National Press Club, Santorum, who aspires to take over for Obama in 2012, held nothing back, calling Obama's handling of the 2009 upheaval in Iran a "failure" and the recent unrest in Libya a "morass.