The Wide World of Tropics of Meta

Wide World of ToM

ToM’s audience has steadily grown for years, ever since it was invented in a humble Palo Alto garage back in 2010.  But we’ve certainly had a distinct surge in readership during 2017.  Perhaps it is just the mind-blowingly awful state of the world that drives readers to escape into the history of thrash metal and hardcore, the genealogy of the hipster, the racial politics of Gremlins.

But certainly a handful of pieces have brought a lot of new people to the site. Notably, R. Mike Burr’s critique of Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance appears to have struck a real nerve with readers, many of whom share his skepticism for the portrayal of Appalachian culture by the canny and ambitious Vance. Anthropologist (and bad-ass baller) Stan Thangaraj also captured attention with his piece explaining “Hindu American whiteness and support for Trump,” which was republished by outlets around the world.  Finally, H. Robert Baker’s rundown of the complex legal and political history of so-called “sanctuary cities” continues to stir a response, often from partisans who blanch at the mere thought of nuance when it comes to the dreaded “illegals.”

Faces of ToM

We never know what will resonate with readers, but we feel like do know good work when we see it.  And we truly believe in maintaining an open space for writing on a broad range of work, from the political to the scholarly, the mainstream to the obscure, the pithy to the TL/DR.  (Even, occasionally, things that might be a little undercooked, but are interesting nonetheless. The beauty of blogging.)

Readers who want to check out more of our work can find it broken down by topics such as race, gender, and sexuality, as well as themes such as fiction, foreign policy, and our all-time favorite, conservatism.

There’s also our long-running project with the South El Monte Arts Posse, with dozens of unique essays on El Monte and South El Monte, CA, and our recently launched podcast Doomed to Repeat.

The yearly Dog Days Classics series, where contributors revisit and rethink beloved works.

Our 2016 roundtable discussion that asked, “Is Trump Sui Generis?”–a not terribly prescient, perhaps, but still insightful series of pieces.  Our 2013 series of hot takes on Dan Rodgers’s Age of Fracture.

And much more.  We hope you can waste many hours at work roaming around the site, being as unproductive as possible.

Author: Alex Sayf Cummings

Alex Sayf Cummings is an associate professor of history at Georgia State University, whose work deals with technology, law, public policy, and the political culture of the modern United States. Alex's writing has appeared in Salon, the Brooklyn Rail, the Journal of American History, the Journal of Urban History, Al Jazeera, and Southern Cultures, among other publications, and the book Democracy of Sound was published by Oxford University Press in 2013 (paperback, 2017). Alex can be followed on Twitter at @akbarjenkins.

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