Huckberry’s success speaks to a desire for adventure and relationship with the land within the American public. People want to go backpacking and hiking and ride their motorcycles across the vast expanses of these United States, or at least they think they do.
In Untrustworthy, Kristian sets an objective for Christians to be faithful, factual, and fair. In some cases, this must be practiced in a somewhat extreme environment. What do we do when we encounter something like QAnon, which is not factual and often fractures relationships?
Venus’s love for her sister, and Serena’s recognition of it, has also shown us the transcendent power of family, the possibility of forgetting the accolades and the worldly recognition and the desire for advantage and finding instead deeper connections and possibilities of love.
Life is inherently unpredictable and requires engagement without certainty of outcome. It also often requires patience. No matter how many labor-saving and time-bending devices we create, we will never exist in a completely predictable and easy environment. “Convenience” ceases to be convenient when it is sapping us of the courage we need to encounter everyday life.
We may heap much of the blame or praise upon generals and czars and presidents, but they are rarely in the trenches. We may want to avoid taking responsibility for what happens, but big things often require many people working together. Individuals alone do not shape history. It is not wrong to be either disappointed or excited about Elon Musk taking over Twitter, but it is wrong to expect wealthy individuals to solve our collective problems.
There is a significant difference between staring at a computer screen and seeing the world through a porch screen. Hailey emphasizes the benefits of seeing from the “threshold between stability and precariousness,” which is nothing like viewing the world from the comfort of a couch in an air-conditioned room, even if the porch is also comfortable.
Reviving campus newspapers and radio stations and student-led clubs, and putting resources behind them, could create more space for speech, help foster campus community, and model a level of comfort with differing views. The classroom may still need adjustment, but antagonistic wrangling with, or under the gaze of, professors is not the path to enlightenment.
Fran Liebowitz suggests that “a book isn’t supposed to be a mirror, it’s supposed to be a door.” Universities are the same. They are not meant to simply reflect the times and trends. They are intended to open doors to existing knowledge and doors to a reimagined future.