Pompeii and the Deep Unease of Absence

The St. Louis Science Center has an exhibit now called “Pompeii: The Exhibition,” with 150 artifacts on loan from the Naples National Archaeology Museum. “A volcano awakens, a city vanishes,” signs say. Visitors must look first at artifacts of everyday life in Pompeii, then stand through a short CGI movie of Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 […]

Gentleman Jack Is All That

Some have argued that channel surfing is dead, much like doorbells since many of us simply text “here” once we arrive. While the latter development is yet another casualty of technology marching on and our collective avoidance of unexpected visitors, television has become a serious art form–one that captivates and absorbs our imaginations, conversations, and […]

A Simpsons Table Read, but Homer Not Happy

“Tim” went to a table read last week for a new episode of the Simpsons, on the Fox Studios lot in Los Angeles. The series is in its historic 30th season, and the episode would not air for a year. He got tickets because a visiting friend knew someone who took a class with the […]

A Lack of Sociological Imagination

Regardless of whether you cared, perhaps still care, about the end of HBO’s adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s book series, A Song of Fire and Ice, there is a wonderful send-off about why the last season was disappointing to many of us who did regularly tune into Game of Thrones. Sociological storytelling can help […]

The Male Dreams of His Repose

Maybe you remember the Sean Connery ad. Not the one for Jim Beam or Suntory whiskey, or Smirnoff vodka, or Japanese yogurt, or Apple computers, or Rolex watches, or vaguely nautical clothing. I mean the 2008 campaign for Louis Vuitton bags, shot by Annie Leibowitz, with the tagline, “There are journeys that turn into legends.” […]

Considering How My Light is Spent

The spider came out of the molding in the bathroom, saw me, and scurried back into the jamb. It meant me no harm, and if given voice might even admit I am of some use in it making a living. We serve other creatures in many ways, some of them surprising. The latest research from […]

“Take This Job and Shove It”

Workers everywhere might be singing the refrain from Johnny Paycheck’s 1977 country-western ballad since the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) decided to include workplace “burnout” in the World Health Organization’s standard clinical diagnostic tool, effective January 2022. The new definition of work-related “burnout” is classified as a “syndrome” and stems from “workplace stress that has […]

Yossarian Lives, But Not at Hulu

The first season (six episodes) of the new series Catch-22, co-directed and executive-produced by George Clooney, is available now on Hulu. I was cautiously optimistic, going by the trailer that loads up the novel-like bits, and by the enthusiasm of author Joseph Heller’s daughter on social media. A movie was made from the novel in […]

The Merciful Scale of Life

For some butterflies, all of life is a few summer days of nectar and copulation, a few sweet nights of frogs singing from the ditch. Scale matters. A very brief life does not see much, and if lucky, sees only good. A flea can live like a burgher on a dog for its 90 days. […]

The Peace of the Land

“The peace of the land, the last islands of this peace, made me feel small. I welcomed the feeling. It was a pleasure to feel insignificant, to let my desires quiet, to feel, in the moment, the human body as an instrument attuned to peace.” ― Alison Hawthorne Deming I am sitting on my back […]