No, this Jeopardy! contestant was not making a white supremacist hand gesture

Conspiracy theories, knee-jerk tribal thinking and stubbornness are not confined to one end of the political spectrum, as this NYT analysis of a recent Jeopardy! conspiracy theory establishes. Mr. Donohue’s case is unusually clear-cut, and the allegation is obviously false. So the element of this story that interests me most is how the beating heart of nerdy, liberal fact-mastery can pump blood into wild social media conspiracy, and send all…

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Conspiracy (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season One, Episode 25) Parasitic Bug Doppelgängers on Earth

Rewatching Star Trek: The Next Generation This episode piles on the cloak-and-dagger tropes such as secret messages, clandestine meetings, imposters, and, of course, conspiracy. “Don’t trust anyone,” warns an old friend of Picard’s who, no surprise, doesn’t make it to the end of the next act. The story ambitiously builds upon suspicions that Admiral Quinn first mentioned to Picard in s1e19 “Coming of Age,” warning of high-stakes fractures within the…

More Americans now see the media’s influence growing compared with a year ago

Americans’ views about the influence of the media in the country have shifted dramatically over the course of a year in which there was much discussion about the news media’s role during the election and post-election coverage, the COVID-19 pandemic and protests about racial justice. More Americans now say that news organizations are gaining influence than say their influence is waning, a stark contrast to just one year ago when the reverse was true.…

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Drumhead (#StarTrek #TNG Rewatch, Season 4, Episode 21) Federation Loyalist Tramples Justice

Rewatching ST:TNG An earnest, somewhat heavy-handed analysis of a Federation loyalist who is willing to trample justice in order to expose a conspiracy. An unusual episode, full of misdirection, and casual references to past episodes in a nod to the complex world-building that helped the Star Trek franchise mature. While the script engineers the plot so that Picard can save the day with yet another speech, along the way it…

If You’re An English Major You Should Take a Journalism Class–Even If You Think You Hate Journalism

Journalism is not everyone’s cup of tea. The short, blunt paragraphs and inverted pyramid that tells readers exactly who, what, where, when and how from the get-go are creative writers’ worst nightmares. There is virtually no element of suspense, no character development, and no world building. Right? Well, not exactly. Just like creative writing, journalism is detail-driven and can include humor and depth. Quotations add dimension and often a human-touch to a news story. Experienced journalists know to keep bias out…

Breaking up with your favorite racist childhood classic books

A good article analyzes the strong cultural reactions to voluntary changes made by the companies that manage the “Potato Head” toy line and the books of Dr. Seuss. Cries of “censorship” and “cancel culture” rallied passionate citizens who defended their nostalgic memories of childhood and sought targets for their rage. I just read an article on new allegations against Peter Yarrow. I knew that he was convicted of sexually assaulting…