Wikipedia Articles

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Once in a while I discover something I want to know has been under-researched. The information is out there, stuffed deep in the stacks of libraries or floating on the strands of the World Wide Web, but without much dedicated aggregation.

Making a Wikipedia article is one way to put all that data into a handy place, to connect loose threads, and to invite a community of detail-obsessed editors to add what they might know.

Here's a sampling of entries I started and regularly maintain:

Social Thriller

With the release of Get Out in 2017, director Jordan Peele propelled the genre of social thriller into notoriety—at least in the United States. Meanwhile India's biggest film star touted the genre a year before Peele as a way to finally make political films palatable to Bollywood fans. On both sides of the globe scant film makers and a slew of film critics were bandying the term about for decades hence to describe the work of Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy,  Claude Chabrol, Aleksandr Faintsimmer and many others. So what is a social thriller anyway? 

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Ronald Reagan in Music

Although the presence of Ronald Reagan in music often draws associations to the punk rock counter-culture of the 1980s, it dates back much earlier. During the 1960s, folk, rock and satirical musicians jabbed at him for his red-baiting, attacks on free speech, and violent backlash against political dissent. He first appeared on album covers in the 1950s during his time as a Hollywood actor, well before his political career. Post-presidency (and post-Reagan altogether) he remains an icon and pariah for artists in many genres.

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Oprical Sound

The optical sound technology for synching dialogue with a motion picture is about as old as talking pictures themselves. Few may be aware that It's the same technology used by naval ships to transmit secret codes, by Walt Disney to record his greatest film, and by proto-punk art-band Devo to produce weird sounds on their early recordings.

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Tofu Curtain

A mountain range in Massachusetts, a commercial corridor in Melbourne, and a cultural divide between East Asia and the rest of the world have all been nicknamed "the Tofu Curtain." But if one looks a little closer at what's happening in these regions, one might notice these soy-based drapes are thinner than they seem.

 

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Mecki Mark Men

The first Swedish rock band to tour the U.S. often found themselves hedging Hendrix and Zappa, floundering between success and disaster, and bridging protest culture and high art. Ultimately the longest lasting contribution of Stockholm's Mecki Mark Men may have been scoring the Swedish language version of the musical Hair lest we forget the legacy of a racist dope-smoking hedgehog.

 

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