November 15, 2020

Let’s begin with a story. As noted in a previous essay, this month contained the privilege of my speaking for the first time about humanism. I was invited by Jesse Harden, part of the interfaith leadership team at the University of Virginia Tech, and we set November 13 for this engagement. It was by Zoom, of course — and also set for a Friday evening, because when we were first scheduling this event I was still working in pretty much… Read more

November 8, 2020

Let’s begin with a story. It’s 2017, and women are launching widespread public protests of the new U.S. president and his administration. Gathering to create exposure, they’re certain, will change people’s minds. Only, the research doesn’t necessarily agree: exposure to women’s concerns might bridge the experiential gap with men who don’t strongly prioritize gender in the first place, but among men who do regard gender as key to their identity, greater exposure to such protests only seemed to increase their justification for… Read more

November 1, 2020

Let’s begin with another update. As I write this, Hallowe’en parties — yes, parties — amid COVID continue in other units in my apartment building. I’m home in Medellín, Colombia, after being out of country for a week to rectify my legal status, and these reckless people are just part of the package, alack. But I’m still ever-so-relieved to be back on this side of the border. I’m now on sabbatical, too: a forced sabbatical, seeing as I cannot so… Read more

October 25, 2020

Let’s begin with an update. This past Tuesday, I had to leave Colombia, to fly to Panamá for a week and test how long I have to be out of the country before I can return and start anew. It could be that I can take a tourist permit as early as tomorrow, when I fly back; it could be that I’ll have to wait for the next calendar year to re-enter. Why is this happening? Well, the government’s last… Read more

October 12, 2020

Let’s begin with an update. I paid off my last financial debt in September, which has had a remarkable impact on my sense of personal agency. I’m mentioning this fact first, because I want to be clear that there is no greater virtue in the choices I’m going to outline in today’s post. There is only greater possibility, afforded to me by a tremendous amount of support, which has given me the means to clear my student loans. If I… Read more

October 5, 2020

Let’s begin with a story. Regular readers know that I strongly believe many Christians are better than their Christ. Many, for instance, would never call a desperate Canaanite woman a “dog” if she came to them begging aid for her sick daughter. Nor would they allow her to accept that she is a “dog” in order to receive said aid. Many of today’s Christians are truly interested in seeking out a globalism that transcends tribal bounds. This, then, is the… Read more

September 27, 2020

Let’s begin with a story. Recently, I’ve been struggling to articulate some of the problems with left-leaning North American rhetoric — a side of the political equation I favour, but with deep caveats about some of its historiography and targets. This week, on my Patreon, I posted a nine-month follow-up to a difficult matter in the world of SF&F: a story involving portrayals of gender that inspired tremendous alarm. (I wrote about it here at the time, and for The Verge.)… Read more

September 20, 2020

Let’s begin with a story. Here in Colombia, my English lessons sometimes fall flat because of unexpected cultural differences — such as a recent class in which I used an article about media-representation issues in North America as our base-text, only to realize that my students didn’t give a hoot about seeing more Colombian representation in films and TV. (They in fact felt rather cosmopolitan from having grown up with exposure to foreign fare.) Now, these moments are a huge… Read more

September 7, 2020

Let’s begin with a story. Regular readers know that I get pretty grumpy when addressing the Christian Bible’s awful morality, so I try to limit how often I focus on this text and the figure of Christ represented within it. I’m strongly of the opinion that fixating on religion’s textual flaws is not a useful way of building a more robustly secular state — and in general, I find the whole theist/atheist divide to be a distraction. The more urgent… Read more

August 31, 2020

Let’s begin with a story. I had a necessary and uncomfortable growth moment this past week. Like many of my fellow authors, I have people in my circles who hold views I regard as wilfully ignorant, narrow-minded, and regional to an extreme. It’s often not even worth engaging with them over the opinions they hold, because everything about how they’ve framed their views on current events reflects a conscious refusal to empathize with other points of view. Thankfully, neither I,… Read more

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