The Night the Columns of Hercules Disappeared

Various things come to mind as one reads the title of this post. One might expect a read about anything ranging from mythology to magic, but in reality it has little to do with either. Instead, it deals with the disappearance of a Spanish flag that hung above the porch of the new Languages House until a few weeks ago. There are many plausible and ridiculous reasons as to why an object of this type…

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Seeing All That is In Between

Recently, I read Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me. Coates writes about the realities of his life as a black man in America, and he manages to do so in ways that are both deeply personal and specific while also helping readers to see that his experience is not singular. The book is in the form of a letter to his son, lending it a type of intimacy and honesty that we often can…

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A Darkness too Deep: The 9/11 Memorial

I visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City this summer. I wanted badly for it to work.  It did not. Good memorials allow us to have a profound emotional experience that brings us to a greater understanding of what it was like to have been there. They provide a sense of closure to a complex and difficult historical moment.  They touch us both as individuals and as members of the…

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Everyday Semiotics: The Confederate Flag and Dylann Roof

This gallery contains 2 photos.

When I moved to Springfield, Missouri in the summer of 2001, a house about two blocks away from ours flew a Confederate flag. My family and I tried to figure out what this symbol meant. Where the owners of the flag communicating their love of Southern heritage or their desire to keep white folks on top of the social structure? It seemed like a bad omen to me, as a Jew, because I understood that…

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