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Essays by

Elena Comay del Junco

 

Killing the Joke

Humor relies on the unexpected or at the very least incongruous, and once you’ve seen or heard something for the tenth time it’s usually no longer surprising.

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Peculiarly American

Grant Wood wanted to make art American. As with so many attempts to make things American, what this meant was distilling a particular region into the essence of the United States.

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Nuclear Carnival

The Manhattan Project got its start—and its name—on the East Coast, in an office building on the lower stretches of Broadway, before moving on to the southwestern deserts and finally to Hiroshima and Nagasaki on the other side of the Pacific.

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Out There and In Here

The stark distance between Black Chicago and the University suggested by Wright’s “out there” is not unidirectional: “out there”—with all the connotations of fear, phobia, and wilderness that it may bear—also captures the university’s stance toward its black neighbors, irrespective of its racially progressive agenda on campus.

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