On Alternative Facts and Lies: Examining the Plasticity of Language and the Importance of Intent

I don’t know about you guys, but my Facebook feed this past week has been clogged with anger, ignorance, falsities, frightening predictions, upsetting announcements, and a determined backlash of cute puppies and kittens. My brain is exhausted. And it kind of wants a box of husky puppies to snuggle. I have to admit to getting my virtual hands dirty and actually falling into the puddle of Facebook news vomit for the past few days. It feels really unhealthy, but also vital that we pay attention to

The Scarlet U: Roxane Gay on Unlikable Women in Fiction and Nasty Women in Reality

Today I am waist-deep in Roxane Gay’s collection of essays, Bad Feminist, and it couldn’t be more fitting to see my news feeds turn into an explosion of kitten-eared women beaming as they converge on cities throughout the country in what feels like a long overdue show of solidarity and strength. In her essay, “Not Here to Make Friends”, Gay elucidates on the character of the unlikable woman in literature. She argues that the issue of likability is unique to females in fiction and that a novel i

The Tidy Brain-Attic: Sherlock Holmes, Epictetus, and Marie Kondo on Selective Ignorance and Information Overload

Now wait a second. This quote floats around on the Internet and it is misleading as it is actually incomplete. The line is an excerpt from Enchiridion, and the complete passage reads: If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things. Don’t wish to be thought to know anything; and even if you appear to be somebody important to others, distrust yourself. For, it is difficult to both keep your faculty of choice in a state conformable to nature, and

Processing the Immaterial, Touching the Real: Ghosthunting in the Marlboro Music School and Festival Records

The Marlboro School of Music has been a driving force in chamber music in America for over half a century. Every summer it draws applicants from across the globe, vying for an opportunity to spend the next seven weeks playing alongside some of the world’s most talented artists in its idyllic setting in southern Vermont. Marlboro’s influence has intertwined itself into the early music careers of such artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Joshua Bell, and pianist Emanuel Ax. Under the artistic di