A quick way to get information is to go straight to the source: primary documents! I know that doesn’t sound super exciting, but when studying culture wars, a reference guide like this one is a great place to start. The articles in Culture Wars in America: A Documentary and Reference Guide come from court cases, academic papers, magazines and newspapers. They cover a wide variety of American topics (gun control, gay rights, welfare, immigration), all of which are conveniently grouped together by subject. But reader beware; these articles are not of the fair and unbiased variety. Tons of them have very obvious political agendas, and a few of the authors can be rather…intense (ALL liberals want to destroy marriage and turn America into Satan’s Woodstock! ALL conservatives want to turn America into a theocracy where all language comes directly from Bible quotes! NO EXCEPTIONS!!). At the conclusion of every article, however, the editors examine each author’s portrayal of the issue at hand. I like this a lot, as it helps to keep everything in perspective. The culture wars seem to be about a lack of compromise, and several of these articles present good examples of extreme opinions on both sides of controversial issues. Plus, this text includes its own reference list! I love it when writers are nice like that.
Want some more basic information about what is going on here? Check out this encyclopedia about everything affecting the culture wars, including various political figures, social activities, news sources, and laws. Unlike the last book, the articles in Culture Wars: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices present only the facts without taking sides. And honestly, I think that’s important. These days, it’s hard to find information on politics where the writer does not showcase some sort of personal opinion. And chances are that opinion is going to affect you, especially if you didn’t know much about the issue in the first place. While it’s very hard to write about an issue without letting your opinion get in the way, this encyclopedia does an admirable job of trying. It’s a good place to turn for background info if you want to join the battlefields of the culture wars, or just write that English 201 paper.
I swear, it really shouldn’t be hard. I mean, look at this blog! I got through a whole political blog without comparing anyone at all to Hitler! And that’s something we should all be proud of.