• The Takeaway

    The Supreme Court Gets Ready to Remake America, But How?

    Legal Scholars Foresee Corporations and Criminal Defendants Gaining Protections, While Reproductive Rights and Affirmative Action Wither

    By Joe Mathews

    The United States Supreme Court could use the power it has over American life to identify new protections for criminal defendants and for people whose privacy has ...

  • Glimpses

    In Louisiana’s Fishing Villages, Food and Faith Are Found in the Water

    Photographer J. T. Blatty Captures a Vanishing Way of Life in the Bayou

    For generations, water has provided everything to the people of southeastern Louisiana’s fishing communities. Their meals. Their livelihoods. Their recreation. Their birthright. Even their faith, as one photograph by J. T. Blatty—showing an archbishop conducting the ...

  • Essay

    Preaching Civility Won't Save American Democracy

    Only by Learning to Communicate as Citizens, Not Propagandists, Can We Avert Political Tragedy

    By Jennifer Mercieca

    It’s obvious that our political discourse is broken. People don’t just yell at one another on cable television, they also do it in restaurants, and on social media. Our ...

  • Essay

    The Greek-American R&B Legend Who Passed as Black

    Johnny Otis Felt He Had Been ‘Saved’ by the Political, Spiritual, and Moral Force of African-American Culture 

    By Kristen E. Broady

    If a role exists in black music that Johnny Otis couldn’t play, it would be hard to find. Known as the Godfather of Rhythm and Blues, Otis was a bandleader, talent scout, singer, ...

New at Zócalo


How Digital Technology Is Making Us Subservient, Anxious, and Uncertain

The Threat of Constant Surveillance Provokes Fears That We're Losing Our Liberty and Autonomy

By Randolph Lewis

    In the anxious years since 9/11, surveillance has become one of the essential infrastructures for 21st-century social life, commerce, and government. With an endless number of drones, sensors, scanners, archives, and algorithms constantly at work for governments and corporations alike, these technologies of monitoring, securing, and sorting are not always visible to the naked eye, but are always humming in the background in ways that we have barely begun to understand. As these systems inch towards a creepy kind of omniscience, we need to consider where they will stop, and how our lives will change if we don’t set limits on their expansion into every nook and cranny of our lives.
    It is no surprise that 90 percent of the world’s data has been generated in the last two years: Things that used to be anonymous, private, ...

The Takeaway

Yes, You Can Be Happy in Sad Times

Scholars Say Happiness—Along With Connectedness and Meaning—Can Make You More Resilient When the World Gets Rough

By Joe Mathews

    Happiness isn’t just possible when the world is in a very sad state. It’s vital in difficult times like today’s, because happier people are more resilient and recover more quickly from despair, setbacks, and bad news.
    This was one happy if serious conclusion from a Zócalo/UCLA Anderson School of Management event titled, “Can Individuals Be Happy in an Unhappy Time?” Before an overflow crowd at the National Center for the Preservation of Democracy in downtown L.A., three scholars who study different aspects of happiness touted a wide variety of research on happiness and offered tips for how to cultivate happiness in yourself.
    “When you feel happy, it’s not that you don’t experience those negative things in the world. It’s that those negative things are less intense,” said panelist Cassie Mogilner Holmes, an ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews


  • By Raquel Gutiérrez

    person who is not
    my person anymore.
    Who keeps you anchored in the neoliberal thinness
    an abscess in the year of ...