There Is A Difference Between Middle Grade and Young Adult Lit, and It Does Matter 

Adolescence took a long time to be invented at all, and it took an even longer time to become a somewhat stable archetype. It’s only in recent human history that people a) live long enough for adolescence to be a different physical experience than adulthood; and b) live in a society that indulges an extended period of fooling around, experimenting, and generally doing nothing to benefit society. And it’s really…

Dozens of Colleges’ Upward Bound Applications Are Denied for Failing to Dot Every I

I’m not saying that the Upward Bound kids deserved to be punished because application writers didn’t follow formatting instructions. I am saying that formatting matters. When your professors put “formatting” on the rubric, they aren’t simply trying to make your life difficult. For the want of double spacing in a small section of a 65-page grant application, 109 low-income high-school students will be cut off from a program at Wittenberg…

With actor Ken Bolden, who appears in Quantum Theatre’s gripping (and hilarious, and shocking) Collaborators

Mix the paranoia of 1984, the absurdity of Brazil, the pathos of Chekhov, the social commentary of Moliere, and a healthy dose of “When Mike and Carol swap jobs, the Bradys are on a collision course for wackiness.” Quantum Theatre’s “Collaborators” is a fascinating study of power, integrity, and compromise. (Sound designer Joe Pino directed me 30 years ago as Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to…

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…