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…


Unscheduled Disasters in Journalism: Learn to Deal

In school, we expect our professors to answer our questions, to return our emails, to invite us in for a consultation, to pay attention what we say and read carefully what we write. One of the important lessons of being a student journalist is learning how to deal with the unexpected. Unfair things happen in the real world, and part of being a professional is learning how to make the…

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Thoughtful PopCult Analysis of ‘Peanuts’ Deserves Better than a Clickbaity Headline Hating on Snoopy

On a shelf in the slanty room under the stairs, next to her college textbooks, my mother kept a stash of inexpensive Peanuts paperbacks — dozens of them, which reprinted the newspaper strips, perhaps on a yearly basis, maybe more frequently. I spent many a summer afternoon reading through those books, and I remember sorting the books in chronological order and noticing how the drawing style changed over the years.…

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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…