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A figure holds their finger in the air. Their head is a lightbulb with the recycling symbol inside. Flowers and a bird surround the figure. Cristina Spanò for Vox

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Everything old is new again

Is it possible to be truly original anymore — in your own life, in commerce, in art?

We’re in a cultural moment where it feels like so much is being rehashed, repackaged, and resold to a captive audience. This is certainly the case in entertainment, where the Hollywood reboot machine is the driving force behind what makes it to our screens; even “original” programming is frequently built from familiar storytelling tropes and formats. The same kind of recycling — sorry, remixing — holds true in pop music.

This carries over into matters of business and politics with just as much resonance. And when it comes to lifestyle topics like dieting, parenting, and even sex, we wind up circling the drain and repackaging old trends and ideas as hot new fads, too.

What makes newness, or novelty, or originality, so important in the first place, particularly in a society that heavily prioritizes individual comfort and choices? Are we in a uniquely not-new moment, or has it actually always felt this way?

A cluster of mermaids drawn in various styles to show different iterations throughout history. Cristina Spanò for Vox

The fallacy of new ideas, and why we want them anyway

Could we ever really tell a new story about a very old mermaid?

By Alissa Wilkinson

A cartoon drawing of two figures riding in battle tanks, facing each other, yelling at one another through bullhorns. A laptop sits in the background between them. The laptop screen reads “XXX.” Cristina Spanò for Vox

The return of the porn wars

How today’s fight over pornography is rooted in a 40-year-old feminist schism.

By Constance Grady

Row of parents holding babies with speech bubbles above their heads. They are all offering the same advice to new parents. Cristina Spanò for Vox

From banning hugs to gentle parenting, how are you supposed to raise kids, anyway?

The endless cycling — and recycling — of parenting advice.

By Anna North

A cartoon drawing of a large figure sitting proudly on top of several people, who are struggling to hold the weight. The scene looks like a king on a throne with two bitcoins in place of arm rests. Cristina Spanò for Vox

Crypto: New. Fraud: Old.

When you democratize finance, you get the good and the bad.

By Emily Stewart

A figure stands on a stage, which looks like a $100 bill, surrounded by showy rays of light. Audience members below reach their hands toward the stage to show their fandom. Cristina Spanò for Vox

The billionaire’s guide to self-help

Self-improvement is old. What’s new is the bootstrapping mythos and toxic positivity of the very rich.

By Whizy Kim


Editors: Meredith Haggerty, Alanna Okun, Lavanya Ramanathan, Julia Rubin
Copy editors/fact-checkers: Elizabeth Crane, Kim Eggleston, Tanya Pai, Caitlin PenzeyMoog
Additional fact-checking: Anouck Dussaud, Matt Giles
Art direction: Dion Lee, Paige Vickers
Audience: Gabriela Fernandez, Shira Tarlo, Agnes Mazur
Production/project editors: Lauren Katz, Nathan Hall


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