Time to be Heroes Again: What Media Teaches us (and We Teach It) About Our Values

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I grew up loving my country. I loved the traditions, and the landscapes and the values: knowing that we were the “good guys.” I loved that we, as a nation, would do the right thing, even if it was the harder thing. ’Cause we were the good guys! Remember?   And what was the right thing? Well…..to value people over money. To take care of the weak. To defend honesty and decency. To give everybody…

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“Other people’s babies,” The Humanities, and Responses to White Nationalism

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This past weekend, Represenative Steve King (R-Iowa), tweeted his support for the far-right Dutch politician, Geert Wilders. Wilders is openly anti-Islamic, and has argued that mosques should be closed and the Koran should be banned in the Netherlands. King wished Wilders good luck in the election in the Netherlands, but he said more than that when doing so. In his most recent tweet, King stated that “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny” and…

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“Alternative Facts” and the Humanities

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I have been concerned about “alternative facts” even before that term got popularized in the last month or two. I have studied African American culture for the past two decades, and I have learned how the history of racism was (and is) built on a series of “alternative facts”: whites are smarter than blacks, blacks are lazy, black bodies are weaker or stronger, blacks are violent, etc. These alternative facts become the narratives that shape…

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The Consolation of Art and Literature

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  The night of the 2016 election, my pain was visceral. I felt sick to my stomach. How long will progressive social policies stand up to the next Supreme Court? Never mind that: how long will the world survive climate change deniers? There was no end to my anxieties. “At least the republic will survive, right?” I asked my good friend, an unflappable optimist and a retired professor of political philosophy. “I’m not so sure,”…

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