Tag: Ethics

HBO Gets High (Maintenance)

The new season of High Maintenance premieres on HBO tonight. For those who don’t know it, the series was created by Katja Blichfeld and her husband, Ben Sinclair, who also stars as the main ...

Tell Us How We Did

In 1928, Eric Blair, an unemployed, itinerant writer and former British colonial policeman, went to work as a dishwasher in a Paris hotel. Five years later, under the pen name George Orwell, Blair ...

Diane Arbus and the Power of Cruel Art

“What you notice about people,” Diane Arbus said, “is the flaw.” Arbus turned flaws into great photographs. During the 1950s and ’60s, she pointed her camera straight across polite social boundaries ...

Where do Morals Come From?

The social sciences have an ethics problem. No, I am not referring to the recent scandals about flawed and fudged data in psychology and political science.1 I’m talking about the failure of the ...

Franzen Makes Nice

Reading Jonathan Franzen’s fifth novel, Purity, in a state at once sympathetic and skeptical, I kept thinking of George Kaplan. In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 film North by Northwest, a ring of foreign ...

Why Critics Wait

As protests over the death of Freddie Gray intensified, Sydette Harry tweeted about yet another dimension of widespread institutional anti-black racism in the United States. She wrote, “It’s funny ...

China at World’s End

In a galaxy far away, but close enough, an intelligent alien civilization finally realizes that its planet orbits around three suns instead of one. They face the classic three-body problem of ...

Stunt Double: Twice Fallen

The wounds of civil wars last. You can forgive a stranger, but family and neighbors, that’s another story. In America, the Confederate flag still raises old myths and divisions. In Algeria, the ...

The Algebra of Justice

The Underground Railroad is among the most celebrated instances of civil disobedience in US history. But, though famous and beloved, it’s cloaked in mystery. As an extralegal, clandestine operation ...

On Longer Lives and Longer Deaths

America has many open secrets. The nursing home is one of them. We try not to think too hard or too long about its residents or its low-wage staff. We’ll confront its smell, its humiliations, its bleakness, only once we need it ...

Drone Poems

The protests of Hong Kong’s 2014 “Umbrella Revolution” were marked in early days by the intermittent appearance of a helicopter drone flying high above the crowds, looking rather like a pizza box ...