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  • How Jimi Hendrix’s London Years Changed Music

    “It’s so lovely now,” Jimi Hendrix said in his muzzy mumble, his topplingly elegant, close-to-gibberish, discreetly space-traveling undertone, onstage one night in 1967 at the Bag O’Nails in London. “I kissed the fairest soul brother of England, Eric Clapton—kissed him right on the lips.” This…
  • The Books Briefing: How to Remake America

    The Constitution denied Danielle Allen’s enslaved ancestors the right to full citizenship—but she still believes in its ability to shape America for the better. Revisiting documents and moments from this country’s founding to parse how they can guide our future is the the central idea…
  • The Big Ten Just Followed the Money

    The coronavirus pandemic is still ravaging America, just as it was in August, when the college presidents and chancellors of the Big Ten Conference decided against playing football in the fall. The only thing that’s changed is that the same leaders now feel far more…
  • The Fall’s Best Movies Are About American Soul-Searching

    David Byrne has long been a master of perfectly designed worlds. The 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, with his band Talking Heads, captured how carefully he stages his shows, bringing in band members one by one to emphasize how each contributes to the harmonies…
  • The Slow-Fingered President

    President Donald Trump has warned his Twitter followers three times as often about the threat from mail-in ballots as he has urged them to protect themselves from the threat of COVID-19. Since March, when the stay-at-home orders started, he has written a little over a…
  • The American Government Gave Up on Reality

    Alexander Hamilton and his colleagues wrote 85 separate essays to make their case that Americans should take a risk and ratify the 1787 Constitution. Three sentences into the very first of those Federalist Papers, Hamilton made clear that he knew full well the stakes of…
  • There Won’t Be a Clear End to the Pandemic

    (Gueorgui Pinkhassov / Magnum) The pandemic has rendered many activities unsafe, but thankfully it can’t stop us from fantasizing about them. A common balm that people reach for is the sentence construction “When this is over, I’m going to ____.” It seems to help, if…
  • TikTok Fangirls Are Making Teens Instant Stars

    A girl sits alone on an ugly couch, stroking a plastic fish and mouthing the words to Jason Derulo’s “Ridin’ Solo.” Her eyes are bloodshot. She puts on sunglasses to cover them up, just as Derulo says he does in the song. This video, uploaded…
  • Even the Coronavirus Can’t Kill the SAT and ACT

    Over the summer, more than 400 colleges decided to stop requiring the SAT or the ACT for admissions, because the pandemic had made taking the tests (or even finding a location to take them) so difficult. Some institutions, such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, said…
  • Why Isn’t Trump Trying to Win?

    The fate of an incumbent president is exquisitely sensitive to economic conditions. Incumbents tend to lose elections when the economy is weak (e.g., George H. W. Bush’s defeat in 1992) and win when it’s strong (e.g., Bill Clinton’s romp four years later). The 2020 economy…
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