My first grade physical education class gave us the option of sitting out most days. Since I preferred to use that time to escape into other worlds, this was a boon for me. There was another reason I loved sitting on the bleachers during P.E.: there was a young girl who would often volunteer to play with my hair. The sensation this caused in me was like any other. It was comfort and warmth, but it was also a physical tingling that I felt below the surface of my skin. It was the most relaxing thing on Earth.
Harvey, a 1950 film based on a play by Mary Chase that beat out The Glass Menagerie for a Pulitzer Prize, has a lot to say about how we live our lives. Some of the wisdom in Harvey does ring true, but much of it is bathed in a gauzy romanticism.
“I could not save my sister.” – Eleni Pinnow
Assia Wevill was a woman erased for a time, her existence concealed by her final lover, poet Ted Hughes. For decades, he shared very personal things with the world but always wrote Assia out of her own life. More recently, however, Assia’s existence is being retraced again, pieced back together and presented as part of the story of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. After Sylvia died, Assia stepped into Sylvia’s life for a time, like walking into a ghost’s shadow. She cared for Sylvia’s children, lived in her rooms, and finally, six years later, killed herself the exact same way Sylvia committed suicide.
The Right To Die debate in the U.S is seeing a slow increase in states willing to take on statues allowing terminally ill people to peacefully end their lives when they want to. People like Brittany Maynard, who moved to Oregan so she could end her life before brain cancer made her life unbearable, give faces and stories to champion the right of an individual to legally end their life when they’re up against the ravages of a devastating illness. But, should patients be able to end their lives over distressing chronic mental disorders like depression and anorexia? In Belgium and the Netherlands, people are doing just that.
“Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way that I’m supposed to feel.” – Charlie Brown (Charles Shulz)
Just about everyone feels like that at some point, if not about Christmas, then some other big, stressful event bathed in cultural expectations. For 50 years, A Charlie Brown Christmas has reminded us how to be a human during the holidays, and how to appreciate a small, wilted Christmas tree in a sea of artificial glitz.
The spirit of The Martian has struck a rousing chord with the American public: sending them to movie theaters in droves, gluing them to paperbacks, infusing new hunger for scientific pursuits, and even charging up NASA dreams of space exploration.
The film was pitched to execs as a “love letter to science,” and it is. It’s stirs within us dreams of how much we can achieve by learning and building upon our exciting expanse of scientific knowledge. But it also speaks to some other, more complicated emotions. What’s fueling Mark Whitney’s ingenuity is a driving, tenacious will to survive in the face of one of the most lonely circumstances a human could ever find themselves in.
People who wish to control people absolutely must also control all the information. When Warren Jeffs went to prison four years ago to start his life sentence, the only way he could continue his immaculate reign over his religious group was to lock everything down. Marriages stopped, and people he found threatening were sent away to the outside, where they presumably could do no harm to the closed-in community.
“Don’t run. Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody dies. Now, come watch TV,” Morty tells his sister Summer, who’s having a bitter teenage meltdown over news that her birth was a mistake. Summer’s going through a world-shattering event, but thanks to Grandpa Rick’s universe-bending, Morty has seen some things that put everything into perspective. What he’s saying is stark, but comforting.
These mannequins from a 1955 nuclear test radiate a creepy allure; a haunting emotional pallor of doom. They were carefully set up in life-sized doll houses for the sole purpose to be destroyed so we could see what happened to them. They’re lifeless, cold stand-ins for our mundane days, our delicate and warm heartbeats. They represent those quiet, safe-but-stifling moments in our homes with family and friends. We may be comfortable, or itching with wanderlust, but we don’t expect anything out of the ordinary. We expect the next moment to continue on much as the last did.