How the Toothbrush Mirrors Societal Progress: An Oral History

For all his shortcomings, Thomas Jefferson, writing in mid-1816, takes a long view of human self-governance: “[L]aws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.”  And he continues, “As [the human mind] becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, … Continue reading How the Toothbrush Mirrors Societal Progress: An Oral History

Medicine Alone Can’t Beat Diseases. We Need Stories Too.

In the summer of 2014, aid workers descended upon West Africa as the underdeveloped health systems of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone struggled to contain a rapidly spreading Ebola outbreak. A few months later, just out of graduate school, I would join the fight in Sierra Leone. I arrived in the country a few weeks after the peak of the outbreak. The impact of Ebola … Continue reading Medicine Alone Can’t Beat Diseases. We Need Stories Too.

Overcoming Childhood Trauma and Other Heroic Lessons from The Dark Knight

As by a carnival mirror, the greatest villains reflect our most enduring and compelling heroes. Our heroes often are brought face-to-face with that which they so easily could have been. If the rope of recovery had had one less thread, they themselves could have snapped and become a rogue in someone else’s gallery. This potential alternative existence can prove unnerving at first, but as our … Continue reading Overcoming Childhood Trauma and Other Heroic Lessons from The Dark Knight

Lost Communication in a Completely Connected World

My iPhone is ringing. There’s the briefest moment of distaste upon the realization that it is someone who could have easily texted instead, thereby avoiding my having to actually take the time to speak to the person. This is a far-cry from remembered days at sixteen years old wishing for the house phone to ring for me. What exactly has changed? Recently, I found myself … Continue reading Lost Communication in a Completely Connected World

Geek Culture is Mainstream, But Geek Girls Remain Left Behind

Media critic Jason Tocci explores the etymological evolution of the terms “geek” and “nerd” from adolescent insults to proud self-descriptors. He argues that with the growing dependency on technology and the staggering revenue generated from sci-fi movies and conventions, geeks are no longer the outsiders they were in decades past. When a population reclaims the terms once hurled at them in negativity as a positive … Continue reading Geek Culture is Mainstream, But Geek Girls Remain Left Behind

The 3 Faces of Political Incorrectness

One popular theory explaining the rise of Donald Trump is that runaway political correctness provoked a mass reaction that propelled the least politically correct presidential candidate in history to electoral victory. The (mostly white) masses, tired of hearing about transgender bathroom issues, exhausted by black/white rhetoric, and feeling threatened by the increasing regularity of “thought policing”, elected a man who rejected the identity politics of … Continue reading The 3 Faces of Political Incorrectness

Peter Pan, Existentialist Fairy Tale?

“To die would be an awfully big adventure” crows Peter Pan, the cocky paragon of eternal youthfulness and fairytale flights. Peter Pan has become one of the most recognizable fictional characters since he first appeared in a section of J.M. Barrie’s book The Little White Bird in 1902 and later took center stage in the December 1904 London premiere play of Peter Pan, or the … Continue reading Peter Pan, Existentialist Fairy Tale?

How Sports Bridge Our Cultural Divisions

At the beginning of February, more than 100 million people will tune into Super Bowl LI to watch the Falcons face the Patriots. Another 72,000 will be in attendance at the NRG Stadium in Houston. Nearly 1/3 of the U.S. population will watch the same game at the same time cheering on players they’ve never met. Some will glance up with passing interest. Others will … Continue reading How Sports Bridge Our Cultural Divisions

Reboots, Remakes, Revivals: Nostalgia in the Streaming Era

Netflix recently released the second season of Full House sequel Fuller House to the delight of many millennials and Gen Xers across the country who grew up with the original. Girl Meets World, the offspring of ABC’s popular ‘90s show Boy Meets World, is currently airing its third season on Disney Channel, introducing a new audience to the quirky but kind Matthews family. The X-Files … Continue reading Reboots, Remakes, Revivals: Nostalgia in the Streaming Era

What the Covered Bridge Reveals About Our Struggle Against Nature

When conjuring up a still-frame of “man vs. nature,” one may imagine a musher dog sledding across a frozen tundra or a pioneer trailing through desolate badlands or a voyager floating down the Congo River into Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness. Yet, no one pictures the Hillsgrove Township of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. In this small upstate township, the 186-foot-long Hillsgrove Covered Bridge spans the Loyalsock … Continue reading What the Covered Bridge Reveals About Our Struggle Against Nature