The Religious Origins of Fake News and “Alternative Facts”

A good exploration, in the light of current interest in “fake news,” of the troubled relationship between conservative Christianity’s understanding of truth and secular experts’ understanding of facts. (Mainstream Protestantism and Catholicism have negotiated this difference much more smoothly.) But it wasn’t Christianity, or religious faith itself in general, that helped make Republican voters more likely to be duped by fake news than their Democratic compatriots. (There were, and continue to…

Dissecting a Frog: How to Write a Humor Piece

Analyzing humor, as E.B. White famously said, is like dissecting a frog; few people are interested and the frog dies of it. Nonetheless, writing humor is a highly logical exercise — fit idea X into form Y for humorous result Z — and can therefore be broken down in ways that more slippery kinds of prose tend to resist… While there’s no substitute for a naturally sharp sense of humor,…

“seriously, the guy has a point” — on the Charging Bull and Fearless Girl Controversy

Art conveys significance; however, much of that significance is constructed by the receiver. That’s why I care less about what a work of art “means” and more about what it “does.” Understanding what a work of art does requires interpretation. The context of a work of art can contribute to the significance of the artwork in surprising ways. The reception of a work of art can change over time, which means the way…