The Village

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 The first time I ventured into Greenwich Village — that quintessential New York City neighborhood, celebrated for being at once countercultural and culture-defining — it was for a cupcake. Tourists and locals alike used to line up around the block at Bleeker and West 11th, waiting up to two hours for a Magnolia’s vanilla-vanilla. (That’s vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting.) Today, however, we Uptowners don’t have to venture so far from home to get our hands on these gourmet … [Read more...]

Death, Diversions, and the Credo

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 In the face of death, Tocqueville and Pascal saw two paths toward despair. Pope Benedict XVI offers a third way of confronting mortality The French writer Alexis de Tocqueville once wrote, “[M]an comes from nothing, traverses time, and is going to disappear forever into the bosom of God. One sees him for only a moment, wandering, lost, between the limits of the two abysses.” Throughout history, most philosophers, theologians, and psychologists have, with Tocqueville, agreed that m … [Read more...]

Prodigal City

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 The bankruptcy of Detroit is a consequence of multi-faceted social problems that defy simple solutions and pat answers. To love the city will require more than creative thinking. When news broke of Detroit’s decision to file for bankruptcy, The Onion dealt with the matter, as it so often does, with sharper insight than any of the news articles my concerned friends and family sent me—“Report: Detroit Bankruptcy Might Transform City Into Some Kind Of Hellish, Depopulated Wastela … [Read more...]

Reading Charitably

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 Applying the commandment to “love my neighbor” to literature, Laura Marshall discovered a whole new way of relating to writers. When I was five, I sat on the couch, cried over my first phonics book, and told my mother that I was stupid and would never learn to read. She refused to believe me and would probably not be surprised to know that now, twenty-three years later, I am a graduate student in Classics, attempting to understand themes in Homer and the intricacies of Greek ver … [Read more...]

A Polish Christmas

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 Ever since immigrating to the United States from Poland in the 1980’s, my mother has been heart-sick for the homecountry. This has manifested itself in a number of ways: frequent trips to New Britain (affectionately nicknamed New Britski for its large Polish population), referring most inventions/artworks/discoveries back to somebody Polish, teaching me about Polish history, and, most famously, re-creating Wigilia, the traditional Polish Christmas Eve vigil supper, for around thirty p … [Read more...]

Wrongful: A Story of Injustice Overturned

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  My interview with Ndume Olatushani shook my faith in our justice system. But I found that my own attitude represented a larger problem. I met Ndume Olatushani on an uncharacteristically warm day in February. He drove up in a gold sedan, rolled down the window, and invited me to get in. He needed to drive a few miles up the road and pick up some of his art that had been on display at a gallery. I could go with him. Before getting in his car, I hesitated.The man … [Read more...]

Against Fairness

AgainstFairness

 Stephen T. Asma’s book is titled Against Fairness, but it doesn’t take too long for the reader to discover what he is for. Asma thinks we’ve neglected nepotism, favoritism, and particularity in our relationships and our moral reasoning. Our natural impulse to play favorites is, in his opinion, actively suppressed: children have to bring in Valentine’s cards for the whole class, fast-tracking a friend in a job search is unethical, etc. In a world fixated on fairness, Asma turns to fictio … [Read more...]


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