The Conscience of an English Major

The media is awash with studies weighing the importance of higher education. They invariably calculate this value in terms of future earning power: whether college is necessary to prosper; whether it will enable you to do better than your parents; does it have any inherent use or does it merely serve as a credential to […]

Snooki Wrote That Op-Ed

With all the educated guesses made by political pundits and Omarosa as to who wrote the anonymous Op-Ed published in the New York Times on September 5, 2018, the most obvious writer is hiding in plain sight. Who else in recent American history has demonstrated a clear gift for writing completely anonymous letters that actually […]

DIY Claude Glasses

When I was a pre-teen in the mid-1990s, I owned several American Girl craft books that were sold as companions to the dolls. Each doll, for those not familiar with the craze, came from a specific historical era, and (for an extra fee) arrived with a series of novels that told her particular story of […]

Living in the New, New Middle Ages

In his classic essays “Living in the New Middle Ages” and “Dreaming of the Middle Ages,” republished in his Travels in Hyperreality (1984), Umberto Eco explored what he understood to be a renewed interest in the Middle Ages in North American and European culture, defined by “a curious oscillation between fantastical neomedievalism and responsible philological […]

Insensibly Led

Towards A Theory of Digression —but this is a digression from my subject—no matter for that, a digression is quite the thing in a history, and surely it must be much more so in a meditation. What’s a meditation, but a collection of the reveries of a mind; and what is of a more moving […]

“Indelible in the Hippocampus”

Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette and the Tradition of Women’s Satire Laughter is powerful, and it’s often touted as the best medicine. But as we know all too well from the recent news cycle, the power of laughter is far more complicated than that. “Indelible in the hippocampus,” as Dr. Blasey Ford would say, is the laughter […]

Liking Beer

In the Senate Judiciary Hearing held after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s report that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her became public, Kavanaugh famously declared: “Yes, we drank beer. I liked beer. Still like beer. We drank beer.” The refrain that Kavanaugh beat about liking beer in the hearing quickly became the stuff of hashtags, memes, and […]

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