By Matt McCaw

Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

During the 2000 presidential election, one that stretched on through weeks of recounts and legal challenges, TV news outlets used blue and red to illustrate apportionment of electoral votes to the two candidates, a choice that has since entered the popular consciousness. In the years since, this crude graphic has been pressed onto everything from food taste to body type and has made its way into the collective map of our landscape. ‘Islands of blue’ and ‘seas of red’ appear again and again in descriptions of a nation that once was, and probably still is, infinitely more…

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Since #oscarssowhite began in 2015, the debate surrounding diversity has been at the front of discussions of entertainment. The question might be symbolic; no one has proven that casting a small number of wealthy actors has done a great deal to help the people struggling at the bottom of our society. Nonetheless, Hollywood has, in a measured way, responded to pressure to change the relentlessly white palate of skin color that has persisted long since white people have become a plurality in the United States. Few TV shows or movies made in the last few years have dared to use…

The ‘S’ Word: Old Habits Die Hard

By Matt McCaw

Photo by Matt Johnson from Omaha, Nebraska, United States via creative common images from Google

The oddest part of this year’s Democratic National Convention was the party’s welcoming of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to speak, albeit briefly. AOC used her 90 seconds at the podium to nominate Bernie Sanders, also a democratic socialist, as the Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate. Sanders is famously “not a Democrat, period”, and his long history of opposing the party, even from within his two campaigns for that party’s presidential nomination, is well-known. This absurd situation reached the truly Kafkaesque with the political theatre of AOC’s presidential nomination. It made as…

By Matt McCaw

I remember where I was the night of November 2nd, 2004. Sitting on the floor of my then-girlfriend’s apartment near Ohio State University, we waited for the presidential election returns to come in on, wait for it, kids, the television. I remember being drunk on the confidence that a small band of 20-somethings luckily placed in America’s most important swing state had indeed changed the world. I’d been both a volunteer and paid employee in John Kerry’s presidential campaign, and I remember, as we worked feverishly until the clock struck seven that night, naively concluding that you…

Fascism: Don’t call it a comeback!

Forecasts and warnings about nascent Fascism have become a regular feature of American public life, and the familiar chorus sang out again during the last couple weeks following a particularly distasteful celebration of Independence Day. Vague lists of symptoms circulate amongst educated classes, and comparisons to Hitler are so widespread that a presidential hopeful is probably doing something wrong if they haven’t been called The H Word at least once. In fact, if you were to listen to the shrillest of opposition movements, the United States is entering its twentieth year of Fascist leadership…

How do you solve a problem like Amerigo?

Amerigo Vespucci, in an engraving made some years after the cartographer got laid big-time on his trip to Brazil.

If Christopher Columbus ever got laid in the New World, he left no record of it. It’s likely that the closest the Admiral of the Ocean Sea ever got to a vacation fling in his newly-discovered lands was when he famously decided, while sailing into Venezuala’s Orinoco, that the globe was ‘pear shaped, round where it has a nipple’, the nipple being the spot where earth was closest to the heavens. In one of Columbus’ typical religious ecstasies, he had perceived that he was sailing in a heavenly arc and would reach the Garden of Eden in what is roughly…

Confederate Monuments: America’s Original Participation Awards

J.E.B. Stuart, honored by the Commonwealth of Virginia for trying his best, even though the war was really hard.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s name has been slapped on just about everything in the last two centuries. The little corporal has a cognac, a complex and a pastry. His name is affixed to towns as far afield as Bolivia, Ohio and Australia. Nonetheless, the colossus that bestrode the world is depicted in very few public monuments. The most prominent one, the Column of Vendome, only survives because the iconoclasts charged with pulling it down couldn’t budge the enormous column. For the most part, though, the world was spared a class of monuments depicting the Corsican as…

Matt McCaw

Avid reader, writer, retired ballroom dancer.

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