Pixelborn as an Evil Robin Hood

      My friend Larry called to warn me about the “evil Robin Hood” he had discovered furthering “the degeneration of societal norms.” Larry owns an art gallery and is tuned in to all manner of associated subjects, from Braque’s congruence with Picasso, to prison art, to intellectual property issues. The thing he saw […]

Breakthrough Research Connects Genes, Personality, and Health

    Once upon a time, our parents’ social standing fixed us in place. Then our genetic inheritance. Then our environment. Nature, nurture, nature, nurture—back and forth the pendulum swung, which should have been a clue that the right choice was both. Even after we figured that out, though, we still thought in terms of […]

Five Years Since Scott Walker’s Gone

      The march of great voices through time and fashion is arguably as revealing about our culture as what we consider great art and architecture. But while art and architecture are so often shared communally in museums and public places, an abiding passion for certain voices has the unique quality of being both […]

Marriage is an Institution for the Rich

  When people talk about large-scale social crisis in the United States the topic eventually gravitates straight toward marriage. Or more precisely, the current lack of it. If children are in crisis it is because marriage is in crisis. If loneliness is epidemic it is because marriage is in decline. And if people are poor […]

Take a Hike

    I showed up in sneakers and sweats, car keys in a jacket pocket. My friend Linda Payne, who has hiked canyons and mountain trails out West, had on hiking boots and water-repellent pants. In her backpack were granola bars, Kleenex, bug spray, an empty plastic bag for her phone in case of rain, […]

St. Louis’s Native Past Comes Alive

    The St. Louis Anthology opens with a quote: “St. Louis is on indigenous land. This land is the traditional, unceded homelands of the Illini Confederacy: the Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Michigamea, Moingwena, Peoria, and Tamaroa tribes; and also the Osage and Miami. Through this land also passed the Cherokee, Delaware, Kickapoo, Sac and Fox, and […]

Drowning in Dopamine

      Earlier this summer, for no reason known to me, my occasional insomnia ratcheted up. Terrified of getting addicted to sleeping pills or pot or low-dose Xanax or melatonin or even Benadryl, I began to rotate them, never using the same sleep aid twice in a row…. Soon I could only sleep without […]

Of Pilgrimage

    Sometimes with a little concentration it seems almost possible to hear the groan of the planet beating into the solar wind, iron-melt churning around its core, seas sloshing in its holds, or to imagine 20 billion distant galaxies fulfilling their own complicated orbits like fate. And here I am, I think, sitting on […]

What Should We Delegate?

    Halfway through my usual tizzy about AI, I stop myself and try to think logically. Is being human—the fact of it, not the ideal—so great? Machines might be more peaceable, especially if they break free from our control. So why is it so hard for me to allow various forms of being, various […]