On this episode of Now & Then, “Projecting America at the Olympics,” Heather and Joanne frame the current Tokyo Olympics alongside historical examples of American cultural diplomacy. They trace efforts to appeal to France in the Revolutionary Period, the rise of World’s Fairs, and the controversies that accompanied Jesse Owens’ 1936 Olympics dominance in Berlin and the 1968 Black Power salute by medalists Tommie Smith and John Carlos. What do these earlier negotiations say about American self-definition, particularly given the contemporary Olympics controversy over Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from portions of the gymnastics competition?
On this episode of Now & Then, “Culture Wars,” Heather and Joanne discuss moments of dramatic cultural change in American history: pre-Civil War abolitionism, early 20th-century individualism, to our current reckoning over police brutality and history education. How do our pop cultural artifacts, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin, to P.T. Barnum’s problematic attractions, to Gone with the Wind, show the ways American self-identity and priorities have evolved over time? This episode was recorded before a live audience on Facebook on July 15, 2021.
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Vox's Sean Illing talks with author Michael Pollan about his new book This Is Your Mind on Plants, why some societies condemn drugs that other societies condone, what will happen as the war on drugs draws to a close, and whether or not taking psychedelic drugs can improve huamnkind.