The New Who: Births and Rebirths

Doctor Who, “The Tsuranga Conundrum” Series 11, Episode 5 Written by Chris Chibnall Directed by Jennifer Perrott Starring Jodie Whittaker, Tosin Cole, Mandip Gill, and Bradley Walsh Guest Starring Lois Chimimba, Brett Goldstein, Suzanne Packer, and Jack Shalloo Original Broadcast 4 November 2018 (50 minutes)     For anyone who thought that Doctor Who Series […]

Heroism When Needed, Then as Now

Karl was from Springsteenland. Sammy had left the island of Puerto Rico for the first time. Moses came from the part of New York that is nearly Canada. I was from Midwest coal country. We met at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, cold-war warriors not turned 20. We were Americans in a time when America needed a […]

Alternative Travel

The consolation we had planned for the future loss of our beloved dog was a long-awaited trip to—wait for it—Trieste. But we lost Louie abruptly, just as coronavirus hit Italy hard. So what did we do? Adopted another dog, thus complicating any future travel, because who wants to sit out a pandemic without a puppy? […]

Food Security and COVID-19

As we have seen, hoarding causes things to disappear from supermarket shelves. We also know it is illogical, since there is neither increased need for some of those items, nor a production shortage of them. (The first and most obvious example was toilet paper.) I shop only every 10 days or so and am surprised […]

How Pandemic Will Shape the Next Generation

“We are in the midst of forming a COVID-19 generation,” says anthropologist Jim Wertsch, who studies collective memory. “I’m in the Vietnam generation, and that provided the lens through which I saw the world. My parents were in the Depression generation, when people lost their trust in banks and became more conservative.” Wertsch, who holds […]

Quarantine Chat

“This has essay written all over it,” a friend texted, attaching a link to Quarantine Chat. Oh, my gosh, of course it did. What stranger would they match me with? What would we discover about each other? Would we have that chemical reaction Jung talked about, inevitable in the meeting of any two personalities? What […]

What Does ‘Using Your Time Well’ Mean Now?

An old friend, poet Les Kay, said on Facebook today what many of us have been thinking: “Couldn’t get to sleep last night for some reason. Woke up with cough and sweating. No big deal in normal times. Easily explained as allergies and a bad dream in normal times. That’s precisely what it was, I’m […]

The Brain-Tingling Whisperers of ASMR

Stock brokerage commercials, seduction scenes, confessions, conspiracies… We have long known the power of a whisper. Still, when John Goodman made an ASMR commercial whispering about McDonald’s quarter-pounder and Ikea made an ASMR video of a woman lightly tapping on back-to-school products and the number of YouTube videos of people whispering or making toast sailed […]

Essential Workers’ Next Move

Factory workers, grocery workers, delivery drivers, first responders and medical-facility personnel, garbage workers, gas-station employees, pharmacy staffs, mail carriers, public-utility employees, daycare and nursing-home attendants are essential to keeping necessary services running, now more than ever. But many have been viewed historically as expendable instead and have not seen adequate pay and benefits for that […]

E Pluribus, Pluribus

I have always found communities that withdraw from mainstream culture interesting and quaint—Amish, maybe, or Mennonite, or rainbow hippies. They all seemed similar: gentle folk who lived in ways I could admire without acceding to them. But now there are all sorts of these communities—fundamentalist Mormons; pan-Africanists in Philadelphia; Hasidic Jews and, at the other […]