Today on the list: Pop as porn redux, what college freshmen don’t know, a CNN anchor argues on behalf of “Ground Zero mosque” bigots, and why President Obama’s speech on the matter was actually quite shrewd.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

Roll Over Madonna and Tell Elvis the News: Pop as Porn, Redux

Gen. Petraeus Goes to Media War It’s already history. In mid-August 2010, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan launched a huge media campaign to prevent any substantial withdrawal of military forces the next summer.

What Your Frosh Don’t Know One ritual of the start of the academic year is the release of Beloit College’s annual “mindset list,” which aims to help professors understand what their new freshmen experienced (and didn’t) growing up.

The Rankings, Rejiggered In the realm of college admissions, today is a day to rejoice—or rant. It all depends on your opinion of college rankings (or, perhaps, your college’s place on U.S. News & World Report’s annual list).

A CNN anchor expresses the crux of ‘mosque’ opposition CNN anchor Don Lemon hosted a “debate” this weekend over the Park 51 Community Center in Lower Manhattan (misleadingly described everywhere as the “Ground Zero mosque”) in which Lemon dropped his mask of journalistic objectivity completely and, in doing so, perfectly captured the crux of the ugly case against Park 51.

Obama Defense of ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Less Risky Than it Seems Essentially, public opinion on this issue is divided into thirds. About a third of the country thinks that not only do the developers have a right to build the mosque, but that it’s a perfectly appropriate thing to do. Another third think that while the development is in poor taste, the developers nevertheless have a right to build it. And the final third think that not only is the development inappropriate, but the developers have no right to build it — perhaps they think that the government should intervene to stop it in some fashion.

When the Motor City Was a Symbol of Strength Why not view Diego Rivera’s ‘Detroit Industry’ murals as a summons to renewed greatness?

Ansel Adams And the Art World Name Game This has been a summer of discovery. Every other week, it seems, someone has come forward with lost works of famous artists.

The Secrets of Songwriters Whether they’re poets or hired guns, modern lyricists are fighting to keep their words in tune with a wildly changing music business. How top writers, from country to hip-hop, nail the phrases they hope will last forever.

The surprising moral force of disgust “Two things fill my mind with ever renewed wonder and awe the more often and deeper I dwell on them,” wrote Immanuel Kant, “the starry skies above me, and the moral law within me.”

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