Monthly Archives: March 2018

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The Politics of ‘Black Panther’ Are What Make It Great Marvel Pop culture critic Evan Narcisse was recently recruited to write the Rise of the Black Panther comic for Marvel. Narcisse wrote his story without any inside knowledge of the Black Panther movie, the details of which were kept tightly under wraps. When he finally saw the film, he was blown away.“I was surprised at how political the story was,” Narcisse says in Episode 302 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “How it embedded its meta-narrative of exploring one’s own blackness and black identity. That was basically the text of the movie.”Jesse J. Holland, author of the novel Who Is the Black Panther?, was also pleasantly surprised that the movie got so political. He notes that geopolitics is one thing that really sets Black Panther apart from other superheroes. “T’Challa isn’t worrying about the rent, he’s worrying about […]

Tech Companies Try to Retrain the Workers They’re Displacing   On January 16, a new course launched on the online learning platform Coursera with an unassuming name: The Google IT Support Professional Certificate. It promised to prepare beginners for entry-level jobs in IT in eight to 12 months. That day, it attracted the largest-ever group of first-time Coursera users, almost half of them people without college degrees. By February, it was Coursera’s second-most-popular offering. More than 18,000 people have enrolled in the $49-a-month program so far, 160 of whom have completed it. “Even as we were building it, even as it was about to launch, I never anticipated the success of it,” says Natalie Van Kleef Conley, Google’s product lead for the program. Two months later, the six courses required for the certificate continue to get about 1,000 registrants per day. A big reason for its popularity, beyond the certificate […]

How Atlanta, the Most Innovative Show on TV, Reinvented Itself Again For Atlanta‘s second season, Donald Glover is shrinking the expanse of his show and turning the camera on the audience. Atlanta is the smartest show on television. I’m unoriginal in that sentiment—for the entirety of its first season, which emerged in 2016 with the marvel and depth of an art-house indie film, it was regarded as such—but that doesn’t make it any less genuine, or true. Depending on how you color it, that view does present its creator-star Donald Glover with a high-stakes dilemma for the second season: How do you reinvent the most inventive show currently on TV? In the lead-up to last year’s Emmy Awards—where Glover won for Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series—I wrote about Atlanta‘s expanding narrative parameters. For the whole of its first 10 episodes, Glover introduced viewers to a […]