Popular Culture


And without Francis Ford Coppola, there would be no Sofia Coppola, one of the most interesting new directors of the twenty-first century.

And, just for good measure …

11 Malcolm X

Forget, for a moment, the political and religious aspects of Malcolm’s life, and consider just his cultural impact. Without Malcolm, Cassius Clay would never become Muhammad Ali. Richard Pryor would probably not become the greatest standup comic who ever lived. Alex Haley would not cowrite Malcolm’s autobiography and be inspired to ponder his own roots. Spike Lee, perhaps, would never become a filmmaker. In the pungent phrasing of the jazz critic Gene Seymour, “For better and for worse, the whole culture of grievance with attitude, of shock and all rhetoric in public discourse does not exist without Malcolm X, whether in hip hop nation or even in talk radio.”