Set Phasers to Teach!

Fans of Star Trek have thus already been introduced to the plays of William Shakespeare, and experienced intertextual analysis in action as the aforementioned Star Trek episodes directly relate to Hamlet and Henry V. The same can be said of the motion picture The Wrath of Khan, which portrays Ricardo Montalban’s villain as a futuristic Captain Ahab from Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. More important than the interconnection of Star Trek narratives to classic literature of the past, however, is…

Video-Game Violence Is Now a Partisan Issue

Scholar and essayist Ian Bogost traces the history of video game scapegoating, noting that while the panic used to be bi-partisan, and then-senator Hilary Clinton targeted video games in 2005, now it’s mostly GOP voices who blame video games for violent actions such as mass shootings. (Incidentally, the Va Tech shooter preferred Sonic the Hedgehog, and the Sandy Hook shooter liked Dance Dance Revolution.) In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court…

Medieval illustration of two people in curtained, barrel-like baths.

Addressing Our Biases: Medieval Bathing

Did medieval people bathe? If you already believe that the middle ages was “The Dark Ages” (a bit of very successful propaganda created by Protestant intellectuals in order to distance their own accomplishments from the Catholic roots of the Renaissance) then you are likely to perpetuate the myth that everything about life “back in the day” was nasty and alien, rather than seeing all of human culture — especially our…

Candy Land Was Invented for Polio Wards

It is a game absent strategy, requiring little thought. Consequently, many parents hate Candy Land as much as their young kids enjoy it. Yet, for all its simplicity and limitations, children still love Candy Land, and adults still buy it. What makes it so appealing? The answer may have something to do with the game’s history: It was invented by Eleanor Abbott, a schoolteacher, in a polio ward during the epidemic…