Wandering Mind: Richard Feynman’s The Meaning of It All

Without Richard Feynman, I wonder if Neil DeGrasse Tyson would be the celebrity-scientist he is today. I don’t mean to disparage Degrasse Tyson. He is a brilliant scientist and communicator whose sincere, infectious passion for his field is needed now more than ever, given the widespread mistrust and outright animosity toward education in the U.S. … Continue reading Wandering Mind: Richard Feynman’s The Meaning of It All

Mario, meet Marx: Jamie Woodcock’s Marx at the Arcade – Consoles, Controllers, and Class Struggle

I was about five years old when I discovered Samus Aran, the protagonist of the video game series Metroid, was a woman. Now, I wish I could say that I was thrilled by the news, or at best indifferent. But unfortunately, I was not. “Samus is a girl???” I couldn’t believe it. I refused to … Continue reading Mario, meet Marx: Jamie Woodcock’s Marx at the Arcade – Consoles, Controllers, and Class Struggle

Kafka + Refugee Crisis + Surveillance Capitalism = Peter Mendelsund’s The Delivery

It’s hard to imagine writing a Kafka-esque novel today given that the world has become so Kafka-esque. In an age when atomized workers’ primary professional relationship is with algorithms while under constant surveillance, a novel that emphasized how indifferent systems grind down individuals would be merely realistic. Foxconn, a production facility in China, is arguably … Continue reading Kafka + Refugee Crisis + Surveillance Capitalism = Peter Mendelsund’s The Delivery

Exposing the “Intellectual” Dark Web and So-Called Cancel Culture: Michael Brooks’ Against the Web

Michael Brooks’ Against the Web: A Cosmopolitan Answer to the New Right is powerful, insightful, and devastatingly thorough in its takedown of the reactionary “intellectuals” who thrive online today. Prominent figures like Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson are eviscerated, while others get off relatively easy as mere “dishonorable mentions.” But Brooks never comes off as … Continue reading Exposing the “Intellectual” Dark Web and So-Called Cancel Culture: Michael Brooks’ Against the Web

Education – An Endangered Public Good: Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire’s A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door

Is education a public good or a private commodity? Based on the current rhetoric of many powerful figures on the left and right, it almost seems like this question has been definitively answered. From at least the 1980s on, we have seen the erosion of the idea of education as a public good in mainstream … Continue reading Education – An Endangered Public Good: Jack Schneider and Jennifer Berkshire’s A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door

Searching for Your People: Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon

Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, was a powerful portrait of two sisters and the tragic life of a little girl. Her second novel, Sula, once again explored a complicated relationship between two women, this time friends. However, one of the interviewees noted in the documentary The Pieces I Am her “canvas was expanding.” … Continue reading Searching for Your People: Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon

Why Are More People Upset About Dr. Seuss than Climate Change?: Greta Thunberg’s No One is Too Small to Make a Difference

No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, a collection of Greta Thunberg’s speeches, might inspire you. But Thunberg doesn’t want that. “This is all wrong,” she said to the UN General Assembly on September 23, 2019. “I shouldn’t be standing here. I should be back in school on the other side of the … Continue reading Why Are More People Upset About Dr. Seuss than Climate Change?: Greta Thunberg’s No One is Too Small to Make a Difference