A hamlet in Appalachia, photo by Michael Williamson

How very American of America to swipe an ancient phrase referring to the outcome of war — from the Latin status quo ante bellum, things as they were before a war — and then shrink and redefine it to make it American, referring exclusively to life in our South before…

Americans have made a defining specialty of mistrusting excessive and unjust economic and political power. It’s a sentiment that periodically becomes acute and erupts. It erupted and became the war for independence in 1776, erupted and became the war between the states in 1861, erupted around 1900 into overlapping political…

I’m all for complexity and nuance and shades of gray. One reason I’m not much of a sports fan is the fierce binary tribalism it always seemed to require; I never really cared whether or not the Warriors or Cornhuskers or Crimson beat their opponents. …

I’ve always liked maps. As a little kid I loved gas-station state maps and giant atlases, then United States Geological Survey topographical maps and Michelin maps of Europe (and Tolkien’s map of Middle-earth) when I discovered those. As an adult I always look at maps in antique shops and flea…

Kushner in 2008, photo in Vanity Fair by Michael Sofronski

Jared Kushner, a Reuters story recently reported, “is stepping away from politics for the foreseeable future” and “re-entering the private sector.”

Which made me think: re-enter the private sector?

What does that even mean for a real estate heir married to a real estate heiress with a combined inherited fortune…

Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider (1969)

We’ve understood for a while now that the right to buy and tote as many guns of any kind as you like, unregistered guns that hold as many rounds as you like and fire as rapidly as you like, is the sine qua non of American freedom. …

The New York Times remains America’s and maybe the world’s single most influential cultural gatekeeper. It’s a last bastion in many ways. As I’m reminded whenever I come across its contortions to avoid…vulgarities.

For instance, after the Supreme Court’s recent ruling that a high school cheerleader was free to Snapchat…

Photo: Getty Images / The Washington Post

Back in 2016, as I finished writing Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire: A 500-Year History, my book about our founding national weakness for mixing fiction and reality in problematic ways, I wondered if I’d attributed too much significance to postmodern professional wrestling. I wrote about how boundaries between entertainment and…

Kurt Andersen

Award-winning, bestselling author (Evil Geniuses, Fantasyland, True Believers, Heyday, Turn of the Century) and creator of media (Studio 360, Inside, SPY).

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