Features

How Plastic Liberated and Entombed Us

The First Nations taught us the fun of chomping on sweetened tree resin. So what did we do? We replaced it with a synthetic gum made of butyl rubber, paraffin, petroleum wax, polyethylene, polyisobutylene, and polyvinyl acetate. Now, in the first ten years of this millennium, we have manufactured more plastic than we made in the entire twentieth century.

What Gloria Naylor and Toni Morrison Have Taught Me about Black Love

I appreciate that marriage does not have to be an empty receptacle for property exchange and reproduction. I also appreciate that Gloria Naylor and Toni Morrison believed in love. I have seen marriages in their literature that I recognize: troubled marriages, shallow marriages, commitments based more on double incomes than courtship, relationships aging into dry and empty nests. Marriage is not salvation, or a goal.

John Milton Argues for Divorce

In the most elevated terms, Milton urges an understanding of marriage altogether spiritual and intellectual, a union nearly without bodies, for in the divorce tracts he repeatedly figures marriage as the joining of rational souls, as the mind’s solace and satisfaction, its source of “comfort and peace,” an apt and cheerful conversation that hedges a man against the solitary life.

Hindu Marriage: Divine, Dharmic, or Daring!

On the one hand, Hindus have placed tremendous importance on arranging the marriages of their children and relatives. On the other hand, there is an important (and impossible to ignore) history of pre-marital sex, love marriages, and even polyamorous relationships among the goddesses and gods in texts held sacred by the same Hindus. Which one is endorsed (and who endorses it)?

The Dawn of the Second American Civil War

The compromises that have tenuously held together the marriage of convenience that is the American body politic are eroding under unprecedented societal forces: shifting demographics, climate change, a global pandemic, mass unemployment, and massive economic inequality. These forces shock a nation like infidelity, job loss, or family pressures might shock a marriage.

Marriage, That Magical Contract

Late Marriage is one of the few films concerning marriage bold enough to suggest that our modern insistence on personal fulfillment in romance is the double-edged sword that brings two people together but can also poison them with expectations that tear romance apart. And it is one of the more honest films about marriage in its open, forthright acknowledgment that the institution—and in this film, marriage is most certainly an institution—involves far more than the forces and desires of two people. 

Mama, Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away

In an artist’s hands, digital technology is a toolkit whose wands and transformations grant almost magical powers. But what about the rest of us, holding up our phones everywhere we go? Now we, too, live as Photographers.