Category Archives: Culture

CBC’s “This is That” and the Reality of Our News Broadcasts

I thought my reaction to the popular CBC parody show, This is That was unlike that of others, so I never mentioned it until this summer when I was talking to my friend in Montreal. It turned out, others have … Continue reading

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Checking Your Delusions

The method for checking our many delusions—that the Harry Potter letter is going to arrive for us any moment, that god is carefully listening to my prayers about the cancer He gave my mother, that the earth is flat, the … Continue reading

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Waking to News about Maniacs

Since I need to be awake by nearly the same time every weekday, I have taken to setting my clock radio for nine in the morning and then listening to the morning news before I actually turn off the clock … Continue reading

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The Enthusiasm of the Young

It’s almost a cliché that older people lose their enthusiasm. We are told that they are beaten down by their many responsibilities and powerless in the face of a fate that they can see, if they squint just right, riding … Continue reading

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Animals in the Cities

Most of our cities, however hostile to animal life, have some hardy species who survive and even thrive amongst us. Perhaps the cockroach, mice and rats come immediately to mind, and then after a moment’s reflection, the raccoon and squirrel, … Continue reading

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I Don’t Need to Change, I Need to Change the World Around Me

Although modern urban societies promote tolerance for the most part, there is a vocal minority who insist that they are entitled to more tolerance than others. Those of us who have read George Orwell’s Animal Farm recognize this logic. We … Continue reading

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Throw Your Vote Away: The Simpsons on Electioneering

One of the most poignant statements about our political system in the west was the election speeches of Kang and Kodos as Bob Dole and Bill Clinton running for president in a Simpsons episode from twenty years ago. When Homer … Continue reading

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Textual Reality and the Phenomenological World

Although my friend’s daughter asked me one time if the story I had just told her was a “true story,” most people acknowledge—however reluctantly in the case of Harry Potter fans—that the characters in the stories they read are fictional. … Continue reading

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Cultural Inertia: the QWERTY Keyboard and the Standard Railway Gauge

Two human traits stifle technological innovation. One of them is our innate suspicion of change, and we can see how that would have worked to our advantage historically, and the other is the slightly more complicated cultural and by times … Continue reading

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Keller and Rosa Parks: Case Studies in Historical Oversight

The story of both Parks and Helen Keller have been so heavily overwritten by the public imagination that they are almost invisible in a narrative ostensibly about them. This line drawing of their lives looms much larger than the more … Continue reading

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