Tagged: cultural analysis

A Holiday-Worthy American Hero, in His Own Words

This week, many of us will enjoy a day off from work, as well as the occasion to pay reverent homage to someone we’ve been taught is a genuine hero: brave, courageous, and diligent, a man whose singular accomplishments made life for all us holiday takers possible. Grand parades will proceed down festive avenues, and...

An Open Invitation to Anyone Who Continues to Fear the Cannabis Plant

It’s harvest season here in California. The last full moon of September has waned; while the new moon forms, thousands of perspicacious growers are hurrying to cut down their flowering bushes and trees, their cannabis indica and cannabis sativa, eager to hang the pruned plants to dry and cure. A week or so later, if it’s not...

The Fable of Sybaris

Long ago, more than 2,500 years in the past, the city of Sybaris flourished on the heel of what is now Italy. Situated on a bustling line of Greek trade, Sybaris was where seagoing merchants unloaded their precious cargo for distribution along the Western coast. The customs and tolls from the Greeks’ inexorable enterprise made...

Quick Quiz

Fill in the blank. Answers below. “Like all military states, ___ encouraged a high birth rate by its moral codes and laws. Abortion was a capital crime; a woman who secured a miscarriage, or even attempted it, was impaled on a stake.” Assyria, circa 700 B.C. America, circa 2019 A.D.   “In ___, wives were...

Knock Down the House

The award-winning documentary Knock Down the House by director Rachel Lears, covers four working-class, “regular” women — a registered nurse, a bartender, a coal miner’s daughter — running for Congress during the 2018 mid-term elections, including the sensationally charismatic, eloquent and inspiring Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, who, most of us now know, shocked the world by defeating an entrenched...

A Modest Proposal for Optimal Use of Artificial Intelligence

If you’re still in the camp that believes a near future dominated by artificially intelligent machines is nothing but a dystopian daydream, consider this: Not long ago, an artificially intelligent computer program called AlphaZero, hooked up to industrial-strength, Google-supplied processors, was given the rules of chess. That’s it. By playing countless games against itself, billions(?),...

The Hate U Give

America’s ongoing oppression of people of color, expressed most viciously in police brutality against unarmed black men, is the subject of director George Tillman, Jr.’s film version of Angie Thomas’s book “The Hate U Give.” (The title refers to a Tupac Shakur lyric riffing on the theme of “you reap what you sow.”) The movie...

A Modest Proposal for Medicating Our Children

Kids who can’t (or won’t) sit still and be quiet aren’t normal. They have a disorder. They have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a serious disease that requires serious treatment. And if you don’t believe us, ask any pediatrician with a prescription pad. Since they’re desperately unwell, these ill children require medicine. Two of the best...