Elf on the Shelf: Scrupulosity for Unbelieving Tots

Today in Slate, Torie Bosch describes how non-religious parents are using the children’s book Elf on the Shelf to teach their kids terror of supernatural judges. The story, as the title suggests, features an elf who acts as Tsar Santa’s Third Section. The creature “keeps an eye on a family during the day, then flies [Read More...]

A Cardinal’s Brutal Homily

My mother lives on the second floor of a high-rise apartment building on West End Avenue. Back in the 1990s, she and her boyfriend bought themselves a bird feeder built in the style of a Swiss chalet, and hung it outside their kitchen window. One of the first regular diners was a resplendent male cardinal, [Read More...]

Autism: The Result of Math Whiz X 2?

If you’re Jenny McCarthy, you blame autism on vaccinations. If you’re Michael Savage, you blame it on a decline in Yiddish Billingsgate among fathers. Now, if you’re Cambridge University professor Simon Baron-Cohen — yes, cousin of Sacha, the genius behind Ali G., Borat and Bruno — you believe it might result from interbreeding among members [Read More...]


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