Skip to main content

Dispatches From the Culture Wars – May 21, 2024

Fear on campus

Police face off with UCLA students protesting the war in Gaza, after dismantling part of their encampment. Credit, Etienne LAURENT/AFP
  1. What Made Biden Budge
  2. The Perpetual Twilight of Our Times
  3. Public Power in New York State
  4. Anti-Feminist Women's Group
  5. Fear on Campus
  6. Macklemore’s “Hind’s Hall”
  7. MAGA Court Takeover
  8. The Texas Abortion Bounty Law
  9. Amythyst Kiah and the Black Roots of Country Music
  10. Harrison Butker: The Man From Gilead


What Made Biden Budge

By Jeet Heer
The Nation

Popular protests have forced the hand of a president who touts his unwavering Zionism and “love” of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Even as Biden slowly and grudgingly moves towards the position of the protesters, he is loath to admit that they were the ones who forced the change. 

The Perpetual Twilight of Our Times

By Mary L. Trump

If you like this article, please sign up for Snapshot, Portside's daily summary.

(One summary e-mail a day, you can change anytime, and Portside is always free.)

Trauma can never be outrun, but it is a human impulse to try. If we want to avoid a future in which we continue to put ourselves at the mercy of anti-majoritarian authoritarians, then we need to stop and take stock of how we got here. 

Public Power in New York State

By Colin Kinniburgh
New York Focus

State lawmakers are set to introduce a sweeping proposal for a public takeover of Central Hudson, the region’s scandal-plagued gas and electric utility. Democratic structure would support the bill’s two other core aims: increasing affordability and going green.

Anti-Feminist Women’s Group

By Ansev Demirhan

The anti-feminist Independent Women’s Voice/Forum has officially launched its 2024 election agenda. One way it is putting that agenda into action is by continuing to try and blunt the horrific repercussions of the Supreme Court overturning Roe, while deploying their veneer of independence to sway centrist and independent voters. 

Fear on Campus

Macklemore’s “Hind’s Hall”

By Aja Romano

One of the things that made Macklemore’s Gaza protest rap “Hind’s Hall” so electrifying when it dropped on May 6 is how unexpected it was. The post-Trump era has been a fallow period for protest music. But if “Hind’s Hall” hints at a return, there are other complicating factors at play when we think about what protest music even means in contemporary America.

MAGA Court Takeover

By Alyssa Bowen and Evan Vorpahl

Some of the key national actors who helped hand-pick and back the nominations of the right-wing majority on the U.S. Supreme Court — who are likewise tied to groups litigating court cases to turn back our rights — have also sought to capture state courts to further advance their regressive agenda.

The Texas Abortion Bounty Law

By Jill Filipovic

Should the very state of being pregnant place women in a subclass of citizen, vulnerable to criminal prosecution or civil penalties for behavior that would be perfectly legal from a nonpregnant person? Judging by their proposed legislation and various legal antics, the anti-abortion movement says: Yes. Pregnant women simply should not have the same rights as any other U.S. citizen.

Amythyst Kiah and the Black Roots of Country Music

By Nardos Haile

Amythyst Kiah is a powerhouse folk singer. But alongside her growing command of the music that she has loved all her life, she is proudly a Black Appalachian native. While living in the birthplace of early roots music, Kiah found her love of country and bluegrass. 

Harrison Butker: The Man From Gilead

By Miriam Jayaratna

Guess which quotes are from the Kansas City Chiefs’ kicker’s commencement speech at Benedictine College, and which are from Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.