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Beyond Belief, 2023

I used to think that I was the only one inside my body. Well, just me and the little goblin that comes out every other Thursday at 11:45 pm and tells me to watch The Departed right then and there (fortunately, I have consistently come to my senses since The Departed is two hours and 30 minutes long, and I work on Fridays). 

Beyond Belief, 2023

Back to Wes Anderson. I wonder what Plato and Aristotle would think of his movies. My guess is they would say “entirely too many women,” which no one else has ever said about Wes Anderson movies. 


Beyond Belief, 2023

And in eliminating the humanity that doubles as weakness when chasing bad guys through any major city on Earth, they have eliminated death. Not necessarily for themselves; we see them grieve as much as they have time to, and we see them calculate what a life is worth before it is lost. They’ve eliminated death for us, the audience. It’s become a game of immortality whack-a-mole, figuring out who’s going to pop back out of their coffin in the next movie.

Beyond Belief, 2023

 AI might reach a point where it’s good, where the hollow facsimile is the artistic equivalent of Road Runner painting a tunnel on the side of the mountain, and we are all Wiley E. Coyote running headfirst into a solid surface. But accuracy in reproduction doesn’t mean that there’s a real tunnel, and it doesn’t mean that there’s a soul. 


Beyond Belief, 2023

Sometimes the critical distance comes so easily that people make jokes (often very good jokes) in the middle or direct aftermath of a crisis, living by the principle of “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.” I, fortunately, can do both at the same time. It is not appealing to see, but it makes me feel better. 

Beyond Belief, 2023

When home sick as a child, it was not uncommon for me to watch the President of the United States get shot. My parents had little interest in children’s TV shows. So when I was home with the sniffles, I watched what they watched, which was often The West Wing. It was either that or Project Runway. 


JAKE, 2023

Selma didn’t like the smell of cigarettes on her clothes, so Margaret compromised by sticking her head out the window when she smoked, like a nicotine-addicted Barbara Fritchie. Selma had made that reference out loud once, and Margaret had held up a hand to pause her while she googled the reference, then declared it not funny and rather insensitive. 

Beyond Belief, 2023

I always assumed I would die kicking and screaming. Whether I knew it was coming because of a terminal illness, like Ms. Montealegre, or not, like the man on the subway, I will not go gentle into that good night. I rarely go gentle anywhere anyway; why make death the exception? 


Copy, 2023

It is the fear of burnt focaccia, the memories of ninth-grade math class, and the draft of a vulnerable essay that can only be charitably referred to as drivel that keep me on Twitter.

Beyond Belief, 2023

Einstein, who is the reason I have to read picture books about General Relativity in the first place, said that the “past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” I prefer Douglas Adams’ version, “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.” If Einstein thought time was an illusion, then I’d like to know why my retinol costs so much. Not that Einstein had much sway over the cosmetics market, but if time is an illusion, so is $40 billion. 

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Beyond Belief, 2023

The day I quit, my best friend was waiting for me at the door of the school, a jar of celebratory pickles in hand. We ran down the block away from the school, and I pressed send on my resignation email once I could no longer see the building. I was afraid to face them, afraid they would chase me and hurt me, and afraid they would chase me and sweetly bring me back.

The Times of Israel, 2023

Human beings need dignity. Maybe not a lot of it, all the time; on the subway at 1:15 on a Saturday morning, you’ll see a real-time loss of dignity (and also the loss of someone’s dinner). The strikes, inspired by demands for lower-level workers, are as much about the ability, their labor, reclaiming their property, their dignity through self-creation as they are about the difference between $45,000 and $50,000. In fact, they’re the same thing.

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