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Actors can’t play Hamlet as simply mad in world of mental health awareness, actor says

How does our 21st century understanding of mental health affect our understanding of Hamlet? As a teacher, I have for decades approached the play like this: If everyone in the audience agrees that Hamlet was sane or Hamlet was mad, then the production was a failure; Shakespeare’s text was ambiguous, and a good production should preserve that ambiguity. The director should guide the actor to make conscious choices about what…

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The Language of Gender Violence

Oppressors deny their own agency and dehumanize their victims by using the passive voice. I want my students to recognize this deliberate strategy, and to look for hidden actors and dehumanized recpients of injustice. (I try to teach about active and passive verbs in a more lighthearted way, but I only bothered to photograph and caption sillly Lego scenes becuase I wanted more of my students to pay attention to…

Liberals and conservatives dislike reading opposing views

Most research subjects, when offered the chance to win $10 and read essays that opposed their views, or $7 and read essays that confirmed their views, chose comfort over the higher potential prize. Liberals and conservatives reacted basically the same–with liberals slightly less willing to read conservative views. (I changed the click-baity headline, which sensationalized the issue as people having “zero interest in opposing views,” which is not what the numbers actually demonstrate.)…

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Survivorship Bias – You Are Not So Smart

Successful people may just be lucky; focusing too much on their successes can silence the honorable failures that we can all stand to learn from. People who consider themselves “lucky” take more risks, and are therefore more likely to discover opportunities. They brush off their failures rather than dwell on them. People who consider themselves unlucky tend to stick to the same safe patterns. Wiseman speculated that what we call…

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Think Before You Tweet In the Wake of an Attack

Sobering analysis. Would I be able to follow this advice in the unthinkable event I had a personal account to share? Terrorists use social media to recruit, but they also depend on you and the media to use it to amplify their message….  The motivation for terrorism is not mere murder or maiming but the incitement of deep fear in an entire community or nation. To achieve that aim, terrorists…

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Why Doesn’t Ancient Fiction Talk About Feelings?

Not a day goes by without The Girl reminding us that everyone else her age has a phone — but she also compares her desire for a phone to Gollum’s desire for The Ring. Many adults have told her she’s lucky not to carry around the burden of social media updates, though part of her is convinced she could resist the temptation, and that she would only use her phone…