Such A Good Feeling: The Affectionate Documentary ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’

My son and I saw “Won’t You Be Ny Neighbor” at a special showing in Greensburg (not far from Fred Rodgers’ hometown of Latrobe). My daughter performed PICT’s Jane Eyre in the Fred Rogers Studio at WQED (where part of the floor is still painted like the path in the Neighborhood of Make Believe.   Fred Rogers was blown away by television’s potential — but he was disgusted by its…

“for every cliché of a barista or bartender with a liberal arts degree, there were ten with a degree in business.”

This story offers evidence to challenge the stereotype that under employed humanities majors are stuck working in service jobs years after graduation. STEM jobs are indeed the most marketable, but a recent study found  that after five years, business, health professions, education and psychology make up far more of the underemployed graduates than English or foreign languages. If you believe the Burning Glass data, those four majors alone – business,…

What’s Wrong With Being From the South? Just Ask an Academic in the North

As an American studying in Toronto during the Clinton administration, I encountered some non-negligible anti-American bias. I learned to pronounce the last letter of the alphabet “zed” when I was spelling my name. When I sang “ahh-men” in a church choir, the music director stopped the rehearsal to express his surprise that I hadn’t sung “aay-men.” A student in an American literature class accused me of being racist for suggesting…

America’s Real Digital Divide

If you think middle-class children are being harmed by too much screen time, just consider how much greater the damage is to minority and disadvantaged kids, who spend much more time in front of screens. |  According to a 2011 study by researchers at Northwestern University, minority children watch 50 percent more TV than their white peers, and they use computers for up to one and a half hours longer…

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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…