Before the Kardashians, There Were the Mitford Sisters

In the winter of 1949, Nancy Mitford wrote a letter to her friend, the novelist Evelyn Waugh, declaring: “I am having a lovely life—only sad that heavenly 1948 is over—except for Bobo’s death which I MINDED—one of the happiest years I ever had.” (Bobo was her nickname for her notorious Nazi-friendly sister Unity, who referred … Continued

Culture

A Millennial’s Memories of 9/11

I’m just old enough to remember September 11, 2001. I was an eight-year-old third-grader that day. During morning prayers at my Catholic grade school, my teacher simply told us to “pray for everybody in New York.” My classmates and I didn’t know what this meant. Unlike older students, who immediately learned the brutal reality of … Continued

Culture

The Weirdest White House Stories Ever Uncovered

If you think this election is shaping up to be one of the oddest in American history, well, you’re right, but that doesn’t mean the nation’s past is free from strange goings-on in the White House. Acculturated contributor Dave Taylor tracked down Gregg Stebben, author of a newly-updated edition of the book, White House Confidential: … Continued

Politics

Want to Write the Next ‘Hamilton’? Read a Difficult Book

Who’s going to write the next Hamilton? The musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genuine phenomenon, an inspired work that ingeniously fuses hip-hop and literature. So who can match it? Whoever tries should forget about themselves for a couple of years and just read books and study great art. Critics love to praise Hamilton for … Continued

Entertainment

Hamilton or “Hamilton”?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the award-winning hip-hop Broadway musical about the Founding Fathers, Hamilton.  Evidently a New York Democratic Congressional candidate, Oliver Rosenberg, has heard of it too. During a debate on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC this week, Rosenberg quoted Alexander Hamilton to the effect of: “This is … Continued

Entertainment

Why Books are the Best Furniture

My son walked in from school the other day, a new book from the library tucked under one arm. “What’s the book about?” I asked. “A book on the Alamo,” he replied. “The librarian said it was beyond my level.” “What did you say?” I asked. “Ahhhh . . . I just took it out … Continued

Books


How should we remember the Fifth of November?

On November 5, 1605, “one of the last honest men to enter Parliament” went inside to blow it up. But the barrels of gunpowder Guy Fawkes’ conspirators had assigned him to light smoldered, he suffered torture and death at the hands of the state, and the Gunpowder Plot dissipated. England has since celebrated the occasion … Continued

Culture

‘Suffragette’: A Lesson in Contemporary Smugness

At this time of year, nearly every week brings to the cinemas an Oscar hopeful that intends to use history to teach us a lesson about ourselves. Unfortunately, most of these movies fall into the same trap: They aren’t very curious about history. They are more like acts of self-congratulation. The new film Suffragette, starring … Continued

Entertainment, Movies

We’ve Finally Made it Back to the Future

The future is now, literally. Today, October 21, 2015, is precisely the date on which Doc Brown and Marty McFly arrived in Hill Valley after travelling 30 years into the future to carry out an ill-fated, time-altering mission in Back to the Future Part II. It’s one of those films that most sentient beings have … Continued

Culture, Entertainment, Movies, Tech