“An Enthusiastic Corporate Citizen”: David Cronenberg and the Dawn of Neoliberalism

By Michael Grasso

The cinematic corpus of David Cronenberg is probably best known for its expertly uncanny use of body horror, but looming almost as large in the writer-director’s various universes is the presence of faceless, all-powerful organizations. Like his rough contemporary Thomas Pynchon and the conspiracies that litter Pynchon’s early works—V. (1963), The Crying of Lot 49 (1966), and Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)—Cronenberg’s shadowy organizations offer fodder for paranoid conspiracy…

“A Never-Ending Wheel”: The Heroic Quest in Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’

By Michael Grasso

Ronnie James Dio broke out in a big way in the spring of 1983 with the release of his solo debut LP, Holy Diver. Formerly the lead singer for heavy rock/metal pioneers Elf, Rainbow (Ritchie Blackmore’s followup project to Deep Purple), and Black Sabbath (joining the band after it parted ways with Ozzy Osbourne), Dio brought to his new eponymous project over a decade of experience as a foundational heavy metal vocalist and lyricist…

Recollections: Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’

Thirty-seven years ago this month, the 13-part television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, hosted by Cornell University planetary scientist Carl Sagan, began airing weekly on PBS. While I was likely a little too young to have watched that premiere broadcast, I definitely remember watching the entire uncut series during one of its many rebroadcasts in the early 1980s…

“People Can Stop It”: Three Ecology PSAs, 1971 – 1977

With the first Earth Day in 1970, ecology and environmental protection entered the public consciousness in a way not seen since the 1962 release of biologist Rachel Carson’s investigation into the effects of DDT, Silent Spring. Earth Day tapped the nascent environmental movement among scientists and conservationists and gave it a public face…