“How Can We Encourage Doctors to Come Home and Serve Well?” Nicholas Brennecke draws on Wendell Berry to consider how the medical profession might encourage young doctors to serve their communities.
“Putting Down Roots.” Patrick T. Brown praises Gracy Olmstead’s new book, but he is not entirely persuaded: “For better or worse, America has a long tradition of optimizing on disruption over continuity, convenience over sustainability, trusting tomorrow’s innovation to solve the problems today’s innovation creates.”
“By Going Virtual During the Pandemic, We’ve Lost Our Sense of Place.” In reflecting on the challenges of online teaching, Scott Newstock argues that we become vulnerable “without something in common between us: a book, a stage, a table, a classroom, a sanctuary all provide what philosopher Ivan Illich called ‘tools for conviviality.’ They sustain a focal point for practiced attention, where making of the highest human kind can take place.”
“Can We Still Reason Together? A Conversation with Robert P. George.” Serena Sigillito interviews Robert George about liberalism, natural law, and originalism.
“Looking Back at a Day When Small-Town Newspaper Editors Could be Heroes.” John W. Miller takes stock of the history and present of local news organizations and reminds us that “local journalism actually demands more accountability than national reporting.”
“Inside America’s Most Interesting Magazine, and Media’s Oddest Workplace.” Ben Smith chronicles the story behind the Harper’s Letter last summer and writes about the unusual magazine that published it: “Central to some of Harper’s best work are stories of dislocation rooted in a basic skepticism of the American free market.” Smith’s profile has apparently been good for Harper’s bottom line.
“Georgia on Everyone’s Mind.” There has been a lot of partisan posturing in response to Georgia’s recent election law. Staff writers for The Dispatch wade into this mess and do a good job of setting the record straight.
“How Polarization Ate Our Brains.” Zeynep Tufekci critiques sloppy reporting on COVID deaths in Florida: “Lots of people are angry, very angry with Florida, and willing to quickly believe the worst.” She also writes about the unfortunate fact that masks have become a “talisman” operating “as a tribal signifier.”
“New MFA Program Aims for Renewal of Literary Craft Rooted in Robust Catholic Tradition and Imagination.” Carl E. Olson interviews the co-founders of a new MFA. James Matthew Wilson and Joshua Hren have both written for FPR over the years, and they describe what sounds like a rich curriculum of study.
“The Death of God and the Death of Higher Education.” Mark Mitchell argues that without God and the commitment to truth that theism implies, higher education degenerates into a quest for power.
“Date Local: Why You Might Want to Avoid the Online Dating Trap.” Aaron M. Renn describes who wins and who loses in the online dating game.
“Will the CSA Boom Survive Beyond the Pandemic?” The initial reports appear to be yes, according to Bridget Shirvell.
“‘Babylon Berlin,’ Babylon America?” Ross Douthat considers parallels between a TV show about Weimar Germany and today’s politics. He describes 1920s Berlin as “a self-contained world of deracination and atomization, sexual experimentation and depravity, utopian fantasy and reactionary zeal, old and new bigotries, media frenzies and political radicalization. What is the city, if not the late–1920s version of the internet?” But he also sees some major differences.
“The 50/50 Problem: How the Internet Is Distorting Our Reality.” S. Adam Seagrave draws attention to a disturbing fact: “more than 50 percent of Americans spend more than 50 percent of their waking hours living in virtual, artificial worlds rather than the given, created one in which their bodies exist. The 50 percent threshold represents a tipping point that renders dialogue, deliberation, civic friendship, and compromise extraordinarily difficult in any society.”
“Amazon’s Twitter Army Was Handpicked for ‘Great Sense of Humor,’ Leaked Document Reveals.” Ken Klippenstein reports on the, uh, interesting social media marketing strategy Amazon employs.
“Love & Philosophy: Three Responses to James K. A. Smith.” Are poets and philosophers really at odds? John Wilson invited three writers—Davey Henreckson, M. M. Townsend, and Justin Ariel Bailey—to wrestle with this question in response to a recent essay by the (erstwhile?) philosopher Jamie Smith.
“Questioning Cultural Humility.” Elizabeth Corey critiques the educational model named by “cultural humility” and in its place recommends a liberal education.
“The Church Amongst the Counter-Institutions.” Brad Edwards takes the recent documentary The Social Dilemma as an occasion to reflect on what happens when we replace institutions with platforms or, as he calls them, “counterfeit institutions”: “Facebook and Twitter are simply not neutral vehicles for communication. As digital liturgies shaping our affections, they are the purest forms of systemic individualism humanity has ever seen.”
“What Is Freedom For?” Joshua Heavin reflects on the calamitous winter storm that hit his home state: “Texans love Texas. Texans love freedom. What is our freedom for?”