Unsafe at Any Speed

      All this talk of lost freedoms, yet no one mentions the most American freedom of all: speeding down a highway, windows down, hair blowing across your eyes but who cares because there are no other cars in sight, just the open road and a green blur of trees on either side. One […]

Babushkas of Chernobyl a Film of Iron Will

    The Babushkas of Chernobyl is a 2015 documentary produced and directed by Holly Morris and Anne Bogart, which emerged from Morris’ earlier journalism and TED Talk about elderly women living in the shadow of the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear plant. It is available on several streaming platforms. Chernobyl became a household word in 1986 […]

Gaming Your Life

      A day in 2022: Count your steps. Check your points, check your apps, check your site and your pages. ❤ your likes. Spin a wheel for an online discount. Cash in your frequent flyer miles. Dig out last year’s loyalty card for the ice cream shop. Hunt for a coupon code. Do […]

We Are Never the Same After—What?

      Often, the traumas we fear will scar us do not. Severe pain, major surgery, getting fired or broken up with, wrecking the car, losing one’s faith, embarrassing oneself…the angst fades, and while we can recount the details and even laugh about some of them, the sting is gone. The same is true […]

Becoming Cousteau a Documentary about Emotion Shaping Stories

    National Geographic’s Becoming Cousteau (2021), directed and produced by Liz Garbus, is an interesting and timely feature-length biography of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. (The Odyssey, a 2016 film, was a biopic on his life, based on a nonfiction book.) Becoming is not a deep dive, so to speak, but it does certain things very well. […]

Matrix, in the Middle Ages

      Lauren Groff was nervous about writing a novel set two thousand and ten years ago. This, I get. Even the prospect of writing a book set before smartphones feels daunting: so many details to reconstruct, an entire lifeworld that functioned in a radically different way. Lovely for the reader, though, to be […]

A Good Emergency Resource

    Think of how frantic you would be if you discovered your child had swallowed part of a mushroom they found at the playground. Or what if you caught your cat eating a new houseplant, or your dog ran through a bed of something in the woods and was pawing its eyes? One resource […]

Material Us, Living in a Digital World

    When my future husband and I had just started dating, we stumbled upon a treasure: three big boxes of vinyl, mainly classical LPs, collected by somebody with a deep knowledge of music and then abandoned next to my apartment complex’s Dumpster. It should have broken my heart, but we were too busy schlepping […]

Sweat Without Tears

      “Why don’t we delight in our ability to produce perspiration,” asks Sarah Everts, “the way we revel in the ability of a spider to produce silk?” It is a measure of my neurosis that the verb “delight” strikes me as ludicrous. I take no joy in the fact that I sweat like […]

Dave Chappelle and the Slaying of American Taboos

    James Baldwin once described American society as “much given to smashing taboos without thereby managing to be liberated from them,”¹ or more precisely, liberated from the need for them. It might be said about America today that we gleefully smash taboos while energetically creating new ones which, one supposes, are improvements over the […]