“Back to the Future” is now all back and no future | MZS | Roger Ebert

The passage of time makes the whole trilogy seem wise and humble, in ways it never could seem in the eighties or nineties or aughts, because the entire thing is really and truly a time capsule—not of any temporal-physical reality, but of a particular strain of American cultural posturing circa 1985-1990. All movies, particularly time-travel movies, have a touch of this. But the “Future” films are different because, unlike the vast majority of time travel stories, they are anchored very strongly in the “present.” The present is not merely a framing device or a launching pad for adventures, as is the case in most time travel films. All visits to the past or future are related to the present – and the stakes are not just personal (Marty’s existence, his parents’ happiness), they are cultural. Marty doesn’t just change his family, he changes the town, and by implication, American life.

“Back to the Future” is now all back and no future | MZS | Roger Ebert

Tarantino and Spielberg: Two Visions of America – Bright Lights Film Journal

Tarantino and Spielberg: Two Visions of America – Bright Lights Film Journal

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the history of the hillbilly in America. – Slate Magazine

The hillbilly figure allows middle-class white people to offload the venality and sin of the nation onto some other constituency, people who live somewhere—anywhere—else. The hillbilly’s backwardness highlights the progress more upstanding Americans in the cities or the suburbs have made. These fools haven’t crawled out of the muck, the story goes, because they don’t want to.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and the history of the hillbilly in America. – Slate Magazine

The Makeup of Stuck America – The Atlantic Cities

Richard Florida follows up on The Geography of Stuck that I tumbled a few days ago, talking about religion, poverty, human capital, diversity, health, and most interesting to me, the Big Five personality traits:

States with higher levels of agreeable, extroverted and neurotic personality types are much more likely to have a higher percentage of residents born in that state (with correlations of .46, .49 and .4 respectively). Conversely, the percentage of residents born in a state is negatively associated with openness-to-experience personality types (-.32).

I should add: considering all of the above, it seems statistically unlikely that I will remain in Atlanta.

The Makeup of Stuck America – The Atlantic Cities

What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you can know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking… All of this is really American.

American Drink: Purist Intentions

Not everyone agrees with my No Rules Rule. Siiiiiiigh. Naturally. After all, this is America, where the only art more popular than the art itself is the art of being a dick about the art. Same as baseball, jazz, porn, and every other invented-for-fun pastime, drinking is rife with fundamentalist nutjobs (see “purists”) who have one way of doing things–by the book. And not that book either. This book, with the leather binding and 6pt Century Gothic. The old one.

American Drink: Purist Intentions

Saying grace before the barbeque dinner at the New Mexico Fair. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943. Amazing how much better off we are, just 70 years later. (via)