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Matt Jordan
Matt Jordan is an associate professor of media studies at Penn State University, where he teaches and writes about how people talk about film, music, politics and popular culture to make sense of their lives. Along with numerous articles, both scholarly and in the popular press, he is the author of Le Jazz: Jazz and French Cultural Identity (University of Illinois Press, 2010) and recently appeared Amir Bar-Lev's film Happy Valley.

Entries by Matt Jordan

Democratic Ideals Versus Realpolitik, a Populist Struggle for All Times

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2016 | 12:26 PM


A specter is haunting contemporary democracies, the specter of populism. Across the globe populist politicians are connecting with a populace that is increasingly convinced that the system is rigged and that the institutions the few control have little concern for the many. In...

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(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 6:08 PM


Unless you've been taking a media fast for the last two weeks, you have been awash with stories about college. College basketball is on screens everywhere and the media world is blowing up with debates, cross-promotions, vines and interactive websites related to the...

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Richard Sherman, the NFL and a Glimpse Behind the Curtain

(2) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 11:11 AM

Most of the time, we would rather avoid uncomfortable truths that are right in front of our eyes because they force us to reflect on the things we hold dear. Instead, we tend to shame those who would dare draw our attention to the truths hiding in plain sight. For...

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The Sound and Fury of the Right-Wing Echo Chamber (Ranting at an Empty Chair)

(8) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 12:25 PM

In many ways, the life of a college professor is small and personal. You teach individual students in face-to-face situations where you talk and they talk. Sometimes you feel like you're connecting; sometimes you feel like they're texting. Most of the time, it's somewhere in between. I teach a big...

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Filibuster Reform Goes to Washington

(5) Comments | Posted January 8, 2013 | 3:12 PM

As the Senate considers filibuster reform in the coming weeks, politicians and pundits alike will be paying lip service to Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Since Jefferson Smith (Jimmy Stewart) won over audiences around the world with his heroic filibuster to save American democracy from the tyranny...

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Separate and Unequal: Changing Campus Culture Beyond Penn State

(2) Comments | Posted July 25, 2012 | 12:33 PM

Since the publication of the Freeh report on July 12th, there has been a lively and healthy discussion of the role that sports should play in university culture. Penn State's willingness to open itself to independent investigation is a monumental act of self-reflexivity that should serve as model...

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Don't Crawl to Potter This Christmas

(3) Comments | Posted December 10, 2011 | 4:50 PM

Every year, American television audiences are treated with what has become an evergreen holiday ritual: watching Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. It has long topped the charts of favorite Christmas movies because each time we see it, the better angels of our nature get their wings. Instead of the...

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Jerry Sandusky, the Underprivileged and Relying on the Kindness of Strangers

(17) Comments | Posted November 18, 2011 | 2:14 PM

The public has reacted furiously to the indictment of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky for heinous sex crimes against children. That someone in a position of power took advantage of vulnerable kids has forced us as a culture to do some serious thinking about our leaders, our institutions and...

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