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Image: Elvis Presley’s success was undoubtedly driven by the material he appropriated from black musicians. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

Recently, the New York Times published an essay defending cultural appropriation as necessary engagement. What would have happened, it argues, had Elvis Presley not been able to swipe the sounds of black musicians?

Author and critic K. Tempest Bradford says that’s a simplistic, misguided way of looking at appropriation – and it can cause real harm. Consider how it relates to literature: “Writing inclusive fiction might involve appropriation if it’s done badly,” she says, “but that’s not a given.” 

Cultural Appropriation Is, In Fact, Indefensible

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Esher, England. Beatle George Harrison, 22, and model Patti Boyd, 21, cut the wedding cake during the reception at his home here following their marriage January 21. The couple who first met during the filming of the Beatle’s first movie A Hard Day’s Night, were wed in a seven-minute ceremony at the Epsom Registry Office near here. George’s marriage leaves one Beatle, Paul McCartney, unwed, but he has a steady girlfriend.

(Photos by Bentley Archive/Popperfoto/Bettmann/SSPL/Getty Images)

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There’s no denying it: The architecture on the National Mall commands a kind of weighty reverence. From the neoclassical columns of the Capitol dome to the immense, white marble of the Lincoln Memorial, charm does not seem to have been the design goal for the nation’s front lawn. Save for one standout: the Smithsonian’s Arts and Industries Building, which, until this summer, had been chained shut for years.

With its colorful facade, arched windows, spires and rotunda, the A and I (as it’s often called) is a festive relief. Even the building’s next-door neighbor, the brownish-red Smithsonian Castle, feels somber by comparison.

But despite the perky building’s popularity, its reopening was hardly grand. Why so little fanfare? Lack of funding seems to be one explanation.

Belle Of The Mall: Saving Smithsonian’s Jewel-Like Arts And Industries Building

Photos: Ariel Zambelich/NPR, Detroit Publishing Co./Library of Congress, Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian artist and scientist who lived between 1452-1519. Leonardo was the original Renaissance man, whose roles included inventor, engineer, architect, mathematician, geologist, and astronomer.

While he is best known as a painter, Leonardo primarily worked for the military, producing designs of tanks, airplanes, and submarines, hundreds of years before such war machines were created. He is also famous for his sketches of the muscles and bones in the human body.

Picture for The Bettmann Archive