“Make Everything Skateable”: Natas Kaupas in ‘Wheels of Fire’, 1987

In 1985, right around the time one Marty McFly made a “board with wheels” out of a 1955 scooter to escape Biff and his goons, the skateboarding industry exploded. Up to then, the unruly and ruleless sport had been dominated by vert skating (pools, half-pipes) and, to a lesser extent, freestyle, where skaters did lots of technical, stationary tricks across a relatively small surface area…

The Horror of Knowing: Catastrophe and Meaning in HBO’s ‘Chernobyl’

By Louis Bayman

The five-part miniseries Chernobyl has become the popular television phenomenon of the year, and one of the most critically successful ever. Over thirty years since the explosion at the core of a nuclear reactor in 1986, the production has been praised for its fidelity both to the events around the disaster and to the look and feel of the Soviet 1980s. This has in turn prompted a backlash…