The Real Drunk History: Exploring the Rise of Craft Beer in Atlanta

Episode 2 of Doomed to Repeat Live from Young Augustine's, the great professor haunt in Atlanta's Grant Park, we delve into the history of beer and the revolution in American drinking habits in the last thirty years.  People have become beer snobs in just the way people have always been wine snobs, but the upside is that we all have a vastly greater range of tastes to sample, from double IPAs to goses to summer ales.  What prompted these changes in the beer market, and how have they changed American culture? We talk the long history of booze and politics in American life, such as the stigmatization of drinking with respect to immigrant and religious groups and rural … [Read more...]

The End of Craft Beer

The Brewers Association (the trade organization representing small, independent, and traditional breweries) recently announced that craft brewers made 24.6 million barrels of beer in 2016 and achieved a 12.3% share of the American beer production market. This is mindboggling, if one considers that in 2000, their market share was less than 3%.[1] Craft brewers have not just dominated all new markets for beer over the past decade—they have owned InBev and their global corporate peers. Beyond the metrics of the marketplace, craft beer has helped change how we live by establishing itself as a leading voice in the artisanal food and drink movement. The proliferation of restaurants, food trucks, … [Read more...]

From Infamous to Famous: (Re)Constructing Atlanta’s Public Housing Through Rap and Hip Hop

In a September 2010 review of the mixtape Bowen Homes Carlos for MTV’s Mixtape Daily, Shaheem Reid wrote: “Shawty Lo will continue to salute his projects until the day he goes to that upper room.” It is doubtful that Reid imagined that day would come almost exactly six years after writing those words. In the early morning hours of September 21, 2016, Carlos Walker, a.k.a. Shawty Lo or Bowen Homes Carlos, tragically died in a one-car accident on Atlanta’s I-285. Just as an image of Atlanta’s Bowen Homes public housing project lives on after its demolition in the cover art for Shawty Lo’s Bowen Homes Carlos and in the music video for “Dey Know,” the rapper will live on through his artistic … [Read more...]

The Five Worst Cities in America

Cities are “back,” as you might have heard, following a long period when urban America was viewed by fearful observers in the suburbs as dangerous, dysfunctional, and generally addicted to crack.  We welcome the renaissance of many American cities—who could not applaud declining murder rates (well, at least until this year and, you know, all the time in Chicago), and the rise of a younger generation less wedded to cars, sprawl and fossil fuels? Even if cities are officially back, though, there are a few cities we wish would go back to wherever they came from.  We love New York and San Diego and, uh, Albuquerque, but there are some places in America so pretentious, unfriendly, boring, racist … [Read more...]

Barbara Fields on Dysplacement and Democracy

Imagine you’re an aircraft pilot. You travel to multiple countries in different time zones, sometimes more than once in a day. Jet lag is your occupational hazard. Yet, like many before you, you conceive of a way to adapt: rather than attempting to adopt the time and rhythms of wherever it is you are on any given day, you keep to the schedule of the place you call home. You may be in Tokyo or Barcelona, but you wake, eat, work, rest, and sleep as if you’re home in, say, Milwaukee. Your body is thankful for the relief from jet lag, but you develop a different form of disorientation known to many in the profession as place lag. Where jet lag stems from a disorientation rooted in relation to … [Read more...]

Atlanta Loses Its Greatest Listener: Cliff Kuhn, 1952-2015

It is with deep regret that we mark the passing of Clifford M. Kuhn, associate professor of History at Georgia State University and executive director of the Oral History Association, who died on Sunday after a devastating and unexpected heart attack. Anyone who knew Cliff understood what it was for a human being to be passionate about history. Cliff was no career climber, no indulger of superficial gestures or academic fads. He didn’t care about money or fame; as the great poet and essayist Wendell Berry once put it, there are “boomers” and “stickers” in life—and Cliff was definitely a sticker. He cared deeply about learning, and he made his career at Georgia State beginning in 1994, … [Read more...]

South Asian American Femininity: Who Can Play?

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Desi Hoop Dreams: Pickup Basketball and the Making of Asian American Masculinity (New York University Press, 2015) from Stan Thangaraj, a City College professor of Anthropology and friend of Tropics of Meta.  This passage comes from Chapter 5, "Breaking the Cycle." which consists of a series of fascinating vignettes about contests over identity among Asian American basketball players in the South. Women are present at [desi basketball] tournaments. Their presence constitutes part of the pleasure men take in performing athletic masculinity. The men become the main targets of gaze for a wide audience. Additionally, many women play an … [Read more...]

The Light Rail Conundrum from Los Angeles to Atlanta: LRT in the 21st Century

In a recent study examining the efficacy of light rail (LRT) and modern bus rapid transit (BRT), University of Sydney transit experts David Hensher and Corinne Mulley concluded that the preference for light rail over BRT and other bus systems rested on an ideological preference more than actual service. “The main point is that the enthusiasm (almost blind commitment) for LRT has caused many to overlook the potential for more cost-effective bus-based systems and even simpler improvements to bus services that do not require dedicated right of way,” the two researchers noted. Hensher later told CityLab writer Eric Jaffe, apparently paraphrasing a former Mayor Los Angeles, to the public “buses … [Read more...]

A Loray Mill of the Mind

My family moved to North Carolina in the late 1980s, having left a stagnant and hopeless West Virginia in search of greater economic opportunities. My mom and grandparents and I first tried Indiana for a few years, but eventually left for the greener shores of the Sunbelt. We came to Gastonia, a modest-sized former textile town (it once boasted of having “more looms and spindles within its hundred-mile radius than... any other southern city”) in the greater Charlotte metropolitan area. An aunt and uncle had already paved the way for us, in a sort of internal chain-migration, leaving WV for NC several years before. I once asked my mom why Suzy and Jim had settled on Gastonia as a place to … [Read more...]

The Power of Public Shaming: Cartographies of Protest in Boston and PR Stunts for Public Housing in the ATL (Best of UHA 2014, Part 3)

In part three of ToM’s UHA coverage, the role of media in shaping advocacy and protest occupies center stage. Whether advocating for Atlanta public housing or protesting Massachusetts’s plans for new highway construction, politicians and activists cannily manipulated media to their own ends. Refreshingly, in each case, agency was rewarded with victory or, in the case of Katie Marages Schank’s talk on Maynard Jackson and the Bankhead Court Project, a temporary reprieve.   Karilyn Crockett, “Maps, Newspapers, Press Releases and the Anxiety of Movement Building: Struggles within the Boston Anti-Highway Movement, (1966-1987) “Pack up, I’m strayed, Enough/Oh, say, say, say say…. Wait, … [Read more...]