How Trigger Warnings Are Hurting Mental Health on Campus

It can be scary outside the box. A university is a box that people choose to enter. It can be scary in there, too. I don’t feel like I’m doing my job as a professor if I don’t make students feel at least a little uncomfortable. The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into “safe spaces” where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some…


Facebook Should Pay All of Us

The trick is that most people think they are getting a good deal out of Facebook; we think of Facebook to be “free,” and, as marketing professors explain, “consumers overreact to free.” Most people don’t feel like they are actually paying when the payment is personal data and when there is no specific sensation of having handed anything over. If you give each of your friends a hundred dollars, you…

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 12.41.35 AM

Sesame Street Is Moving to HBO, and the Symbolism Is Crushing

I’ve been fascinated by the rhetoric of headlines surrounding the “Sesame Street moves to HBO” story. * HBO gentrifies ‘Sesame Street’ –VentureBeat * Sesame Street Episodes Will Shrink to Half an Hour –Time * Sesame Street Is Heading to HBO, and Getting Even Bigger –Esquire * This episode of Sesame Street brought to you by the letters HBO –Financial Times In short, Sesame Street was founded to help low-income kids keep up…


Why Teachers, Parents, and Society at Large Have Destroyed Kids’ Love of Learning

I have experimented with rewarding students for embracing complexity, taking risks, and for celebrating their failures. Returning to musical theater after a 25-year break has been a valuable lesson in humility for me, and a reminder of just how scary it is — exciting and scary — to do something new. The truth—for this parent and so many others—is this: Her child has sacrificed her natural curiosity and love of…

Screen Shot 2015-08-10 at 11.48.23 AM

No girl wins: three ways women unlearn their love of video games – Offworld

Several times I assigned Brenda Laurel’s Utopian Entrepreneur, which described the rise and heartbreaking fall of her girl-centered, girl-positive gaming company, Purple Moon during the 1990s. My own daughter (who is 13) has enjoyed man more opportunities to be both girly and nerdy — something that seems to have been a lot harder 20 years ago. Offworld recently published a thoughtful article about the current landscape for girl gamers. My…


A salute lost to history

History is complex and baffling and fascinating. Reading this (an explanation that the stiff-arm salute that we now identify with the Nazis was a general gesture that was common in America before WWII) made my head spin almost as much as reading about the myth of 8 unbroken hours of sleep. A group of about 50 children is raising and saluting the American flag. It is not the customary military…