What if Today’s Elite Were Forced into Exile?

    When fantasizing about courage, some of you gallop into battle astride a horse; some dive into churning waters to rescue a drowning child; some disable a crazed man who’s firing an AR-15 into a crowd. I join the French Resistance. After soaking up every episode of Transatlantic and envisioning my job with the […]

Get Ready for Roadkill

      Most of us remember well our first sight of a dead human body. Most often it is surrounded by the aura of silent respect, but also more than a little horror, as if catching sight of a ghost while singing a hymn in church. Roadkill, on the other hand, usually offers no […]

Abracadabra! The Magic of Words

    Bunnies from a black silk tophat! Doves looping through swirls of chiffon! Abracadabra is our word for magic. But there is an even lovelier etymology floating through the cultural landscape: abracadabra as a softening of ebra kedabra, meaning to speak something into existence. Which is quite a trick. Words have always made things […]

Poor People Go to Hell

        Much has been said and done in the past decade (also, to be fair, the past millennium) that turned Christianity upside down. But now it is doing backflips. When I read that the Most Rev. Paul Ssemogerere, archbishop of Kampala’s Catholics, had declared that God did not love the poor, I […]

Repair of the World

      The waiter has a toilet plunger over his shoulder. “He locked his keys in his car,” the bartender explains. “He’s trying to get the window down.” I feel ancient: my first thought was a coat hanger. “In my day,” I say—oh my God did I actually just start a sentence that way? […]

Intro to the Socialism 2023 Conference

    The Socialism 2023 conference was held in Chicago, September 1-4, at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel, near the lakefront. It was a beautiful Labor Day weekend in the city. The timing of Labor Day was no coincidence, of course, though the venue might be said to have had a whiff of the […]

Plants Warn, Defend, Scream, Remember, and Plan Ahead

        Before social media, Charles Darwin relied on a global network of colleagues who corresponded with him. Before AI, he used photos to study facial expressions around the world. Before Buzzfeed, he created quizzes about what emotion was pictured. Before Fitbit, he walked daily and counted his steps by dragging a flint […]

A Friend Runs for Congress

    Chris Bruneau, Republican candidate for US Congress, lives in Bel Air, Maryland, 30 miles northeast of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This is Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, the state’s largest district and only deep-red one. The upright of its L-shape comprises eight of the state’s top-10 counties with the most farmland, on the Eastern Shore […]

Monk on the Run

    Who could resist a book called Monk on the Run? With chapters titled “Monk on the Lam” and “Monk in the Slam”? The Buddhists were not best pleased to learn that the eager student who had kept their discipline for five years came to hide from the feds. As character witnesses in his […]

Calamity on Fields of Green: Gettysburg

    Leaving the Flight 93 National Memorial in central Pennsylvania for Gettysburg, a drive of just two-and-a-half hours along Route 30, the old Lincoln Highway, it was tempting to compare the two sites. Both involved large-scale but very different technological violence; both occurred on otherwise bucolic fields; both were about national determination to different […]