How Birth Control Makes You an Object of Sexual Pleasure

A college professor taught me the word “casuistry” when it came up in office hours during a conversation we were having about a presentation I was slated to give on John Donne. It has two definitions: the first more technical definition has something to do with applying abstract rules to concrete instances. The second, in […]


Sorry, Not That Kind of Doctor

My grandfather, who had a Ph.D. and taught at a university for many years, never called himself “Dr.” because, he said, he wasn’t “that kind” of doctor, a title he felt should be reserved for medical doctors. I’d guess that’s a familiar experience to many academics, the feeling of not properly owning the title that […]


I, For One, Am a Little Afraid of Our New Robot Overlords: Michio Kaku, Physics of the Future

In Physics of the Future, Michio Kaku predicts that, by the end of this century, we will be like gods: ageless, immortal, and capable of manipulating objects with our minds. As opposed to predictions by writers and philosophers, a group of individuals that Kaku’s future seems to hold little room for, Physics of the Future is […]


Marriage: Sharing Whose Name, Exactly?

Marriage, or, really, the act of getting married, makes a lot of formerly nice, sane women go crazy. This is axiomatic, and great TV, whether or not it’s true. I didn’t have the money, the time, or the innate design sense to care very much about napkins or flower arrangements. But I did give serious […]


Movie Review: Melancholia, Melancholy, and Gynophobia

When the title card of von Trier’s Melancholia appears, you know that two hours later the world is going to end. This isn’t a spoiler: the whole point of the movie is that we know the world’s going to end. We feel the end of the world approaching almost as palpably as the characters feel the […]