Nostalgia and the Shipwrecked Mind: Righting the Boat

Every major social transformation leaves behind a fresh Eden that can serve as the object of somebody’s nostalgia. And the reactionaries of our time have discovered that nostalgia can be a powerful political motivator, perhaps even more powerful than hope. Hopes can be disappointed. Nostalgia is irrefutable.—Mark Lilla Should you doubt that bit of wisdom, … Continue reading Nostalgia and the Shipwrecked Mind: Righting the Boat

You Can’t Sit With Us: Reflections on a “Mean Girls” National Policy

Find someone who looks like they need a friend, and be that person's friend: it was my mama's mandate to me on the first day of third grade, a tall order for an eight-year-old kid at a new school, but the outcome for me that year was a tight friendship with a sweet, third-generation Scot. It … Continue reading You Can’t Sit With Us: Reflections on a “Mean Girls” National Policy

Stretching Dollars, Counting Blessings

Winter was kind enough last week to gift us its annual January thaw, which means the schmutz on the ground—an unpleasant casserole of crusty, gritty snow with a menacing bottom layer of ice—retreated obediently into atmosphere and earth. We have frost heaves already, a phenomenon more typical in early spring. Extreme cold temperatures arrived in … Continue reading Stretching Dollars, Counting Blessings

Tail of the Dog, in Which Warden Prepares to Play the Wrong Piano Concerto

In 1999 the Portuguese virtuosa Maria Joao Pires famously sat at the piano with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, conductor Riccardo Chailly  at the podium, awaiting the first bar of the piano concerto she expected to play for this lunchtime concert. Imagine her surprise when the orchestra began playing a different piece of music—the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor—instead … Continue reading Tail of the Dog, in Which Warden Prepares to Play the Wrong Piano Concerto