Against Opinion

Increasingly, because every opinion is about our personal Theory of Everything (and our social media brand), we make no distinction in orders of magnitude. An opinion about “whether or not Chris Rock deserved it” is as big on social media (if not bigger) than “whether or not Ukraine deserved it,” both real questions that opinion pieces have been written about. Never mind that both queries are absurdly reductive and relatively meaningless, in the twitterverse they have equal weight. 

Speaking of…

The banality of the human god has deep roots in Christianity (the first depiction in art of God the Father as a human figure dates to the 4th century CE, around the time of the Nicene Creed). For most of my youth, I did not question why anyone would depict divinity this way. I didn’t understand religious metaphor.

Extraordinarily Normal People

Am I grieving? Is that what this is? Fiction that engages us deeply in the other can be “practice” for engagement with an actual other. It can also help us imagine love or practice grief. The Greeks, who invented Tragedy, obviously knew this. We need imaginary worlds to help us learn to live in the real one (and, perhaps, occasionally to transform it into one a little closer to what we imagine).

Schlemiel, schlimazel: why so serious, man?

There have been few characters in recent film as unfortunate as Larry Gopnik, the middle-aged professor of quantum physics, whose life is falling apart around him: his wife has kicked him out of the house and filed for a gett — a ritual divorce — so that she can marry recently widowed family friend Sy Abelman (the “Serious Man” of the title)….[SPOILERS AHEAD]

A Scythe of the Times

True story: After graduating college I set off with a dog-eared copy of Anna Karenina in my rucksack, inspired by the character of Kostya Levin, Tolstoy’s alter ego in the celebrated novel, to experience life as a migrant agricultural worker. Little did I know this would be the first stop on an incredible journey.