Illustration of glowing chain links in a shovel of dirt.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani: My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave-Trader

This fascinating essay, by the grandchild of a Nigerian slave trader, explores a complex cultural legacy. At least as provocative as “Did Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson Love Each Other?” and the stunning, bitter “Molasses to Rum (to Slaves)” from the otherwise cheery musical 1776. African intellectuals tend to blame the West for the slave trade, but I knew that white traders couldn’t have loaded their ships without help from…

Perspective | After a stunning news conference, there’s a newly crucial job for the American press

I have always taken a neutral stance in my journalism classes, modeling the objective nature of reporting the news “without fear or favor.” I shall continue to uphold reporting designed to publish objective truth, and criticize and expose exaggeration, rumor, wishful thinking, and outright lies presented in the guise of truth.   This fall, I will tell my students that my role as their journalism instructor includes noting that one…

Rob Rogers’ firing is a frightening omen

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Nick Anderson reflects on the recent firing of former Pittsburgh Post-Gazette staff cartoonist Rob Rogers. Getting a string of cartoons killed is generally not a good harbinger of things to come, and going public with it is a risky gambit. But, there is absolutely no reason to be an editorial cartoonist if you don’t have the opportunity to express yourself. That’s the whole point of being a…

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An interesting analysis of Trump’s rhetorical strategy.

In the Washington Post, Greg Sargent analyzes a pattern in Trump’s very effective rhetoric. As you’ll recall, after Trump made his “animals” comment, his defenders — and Trump himself — erupted in anger at news organizations that had not explained that it had come amid a discussion of MS-13 members. It’s not clear from the context that he was talking only about MS-13 members. His ramble suggests he might have been referring…

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If You Think You Hate Puns, You’re Wrong

I wrote my college application essay on how I negotiated social situations by storing up an array of dumb puns on a random general topic. At a social gathering, I would sit around awkwardly until a certain topic came up — shoes (“lace be serious”), or cameras (“lens be serious”) or astronomy (“let’s be Sirius) or entomology (“let’s bee serious”), and I would try to give the impression I was…