Features (158)

Free Speech in the Trump Era: A Means or An End?

The fiery, cacophonous clown car of a Trump presidency cleared its first-month checkpoint this week, dominating news cycles, asserting broad executive power and blanketing America’s most vulnerable people in a fog of confusion, disruption, and fear. But listen closely and you can hear another sound, an odd yet persistent rumbling, of a bemused electorate grappling with the pulpy, fibrous concept of free speech. I’m being glib — how do you find humor in this nightmare…

10 Art and Resistance Resources Since the Election

If you think we’re writing a lot about anti-Trump resistance in these pages lately, you’re correct. That’s because anti-Trump resistance is driving the culture more than anything else right now, and political activism — the sustained, organized kind — is more deeply embedded in American daily life than any other time in generational memory. An estimated 5.2 million people participated in Women’s Marches on January 20 last month. A recent Washington Post poll reported that…

A Love Letter to Cuba: Or Why Americans Should Go

I met my wife Brenda one day after I moved to Costa Rica. I was running away from Finland. I wanted a fresh start and my recent trip to Cuba had sparked an interest in Latin culture. The year was 2001 and I was in my early twenties. Brenda was a frequent business traveler before meeting me, traveling thru mostly Central and South America. The next 15+ years we have lived and traveled to almost…

Mainers Abroad: Why Everyone Should Travel To India

Mark Twain once described India as the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, and a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.   The two guitarists from the local Americana band the Ghosts of Johnson City, Amos Libby and Douglas Porter, would agree. They recently returned to Portland after a trip to the exotic subcontinent and shared highlights from their spiritual (and musical) adventure…

Pop Idols, Language Barriers, and Smashing Stereotypes: Why this young Muslim's fascinated with South Korea

For most of her life, Mary Kadhim, a 16-year-old Iraqi-born student at Deering High School, held a deep fascination with South Korean culture.   It started when Kadhim first tuned into “Boys Over Flowers,” a short-lived but hugely successful dramedy television series that follows a spunky schoolgirl trying to balance romance and education at a South Korean academy.   “At first I thought it was weird,” said Kadhim. “But then I started really liking it,…

IT'S LEGAL: Maine's Guide To The New Marijuana Law

State lawmakers had to jump through numerous political hurdles to get to where we’re at today, a time where recreational marijuana is finally legal in Maine.   After clashing with House Republicans in staunch opposition to legalization, and enduring a recount effort (that was eventually ditched) and a marijuana smear campaign led by Governor Paul LePage, proponents of legal weed won a major, albeit slim, victory. But the battle’s far from over, as recent events…

The Winter Survival Guide: Top Places To Chase Away The Winter Blues (Or Any Blues)

Winter has got to be my least favorite season. Without the sparkle of the holidays, it’s a period filled with slush, freezing winds, and limited daylight. Sickness seems unavoidable, whether I’m at home or work. And the constant chill (which you longtime locals might be used to by now, but not me!), makes me want to stay inside, curled up under blankets, until buds begin blooming. But instead of letting the drab of the winter…

What Will Life Be Like Under Trump and LePage?

Here at The Phoenix, we’ve created this week’s slightly unsettling cover image of a face-swap of Governor Paul LePage and President Donald Trump to illustrate a commonly held perception: they’re basically the same person.   Sure, they come from different backgrounds — Trump from New York real estate, and Franco-American LePage from the Maine paper and lumber industries — but as political leaders, they share many similarities in terms of behavior, values, and proposed policies.…

He said what?! Picking quotes from Trump and LePage

When a leader is considered “quotable,” it’s typically a praise, but not if you’re President Donald Trump or Governor Paul LePage. Last year those in the media had a plethora of controversial soundbites to publish and initiate the next wave of controversy. But it must be asked, what good comes from publishing their nasty remarks or, often times, factually untrue generalizations?   I’ll admit, not much. But, there is some value in revisiting Trump and…

The Cultural Appropriation Debate (Because You're Already In It)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (this may include being an avid World of Warcraft player), you’re acquainted with the concept of cultural appropriation. In the past 18 months, writers from Slate, Salon, The Guardian, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and countless more have tackled the subject. It’s been accused of pop stars like Katy Perry (for dressing like a geisha at the American Music Awards), M.I.A. (for shooting a music video…
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