The issues of social justice, poverty, and all the forms of human trafficking, deployment, and oppression that can be grouped under the umbrella concept of “slavery” are problems that sorely affect the world today and urgently need concrete solutions.
President Trump’s executive order ending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries has intensified a vituperative debate in American society, which has been ongoing since long before candidate Trump formally remarked on it. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four successful presidential campaigns created a bipartisan consensus that cast the immigrant experience as an extension of a narrative beginning on Plymouth Rock.
On 20 February 2017, Sidney Poitier—“Sir Sidney” both in the colloquial and in reality (he was knighted in 1974), and just “Sir” in one of his biggest hits, To Sir, With Love (1967)—will turn ninety years old. Even today, Poitier continues a decades long career of collecting accolades for his pioneering role as Hollywood’s first Black movie star.
Shouldn’t society provide a safety net for all in modern society? The radical idea of ensuring a regular stream of cash payments to all members of society, irrespective of their willingness to work, has attracted increasing attention in recent years. ollowing the mobilization of a citizens’ initiative, the world’s first national referendum on basic income was held in Switzerland in 2016.
Charles Dickens’s reputation as a novelist and as the creator of Ebenezer Scrooge, one of the most globally recognized Christmas miser figures, has secured him what looks to be a permanent place in the established literary canon. Students, scholars, and fans of Dickens may be surprised to learn that the voice many Victorians knew as “Dickens,” especially at Christmastime, was also the voice of nearly forty other people.
I’ve watched the film National Treasure twenty more times than I probably needed to, but I can’t ignore my fascination with the history of the US presidents. In the movie, the directors place a strong emphasis on the importance of historical documents and artifacts, and a working knowledge of the importance and content of these items, to help the main protagonists complete a centuries-long treasure hunt.
In 2015, nearly 1.25 million people in the United States were arrested for the simple possession of drugs. Moreover, America’s “War on Drugs” has led to unprecedented violence and instability in Mexico and other drug-producing nations. Yet in spite of billions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, drug abuse has not decreased.
Of the many known unknowns about the life of Phillis Wheatley (1753?–1784), the first published African American poet, one of the greatest has been her husband’s character. Until very recently, all we’ve had to go on were two very brief nineteenth-century accounts of John Peters (1746?–1801). The first depicts him as a failed grocer with an aspiration to gentility, who married Phillis in April 1778, and who abandoned her as she lay dying in desperate poverty six years later.
Whether you dub accordion music annoying or enticing, you cannot deny the instrument’s persistence. The earliest version of the accordion emerged in the early 1800’s and one can still find it on many street corners today. Certain universities, museums, and soloists have assisted in the accordion’s longevity.
Lacking in love or not, the Greeks’ and Romans’ celebration of marriage was still marked by particular customs. Some of their marital traditions form the roots of modern practices today. For instance, while the Romans might not have gifted diamonds and other “bling” as frequently as suitors do now, an intending husband did solemnize his engagement with a kiss and an iron ring.
The hack of the Democratic National Committee by the Russian government and the subsequent publication of confidential emails during the 2016 US presidential election elevated cyber security in the context of international affairs to an unprecedented level in the public’s consciousness, not only in the United States but around the world.
While today’s business media (and business schools) are much enamored with Silicon Valley-style start-up entrepreneurship, only those startups able to grow into large, complex enterprises (e.g., Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Netflix) materially impact the evolution of the global industrial system. The average lifespan of such large, complex enterprises, however, is on the decline.
This time of year is often filled with images of romance, hearts, and cupid’s bows, but not all love stories end in happily ever after. Who among us hasn’t had their heart broken, or felt the sting of rejection once (or twice)? But we all know that life without love (even if it’s painful) isn’t much of a life. As Charles Darwin once said, ‘Much love much trial, but what an utter desert is life without love’.
We know more about Geoffrey Chaucer’s life than we do about most medieval writers. Despite this, it’s a truism of Chaucer biography that the records that survive never once describe him as a poet. Less often noticed, however, are the two radically different views of Chaucer as an author we find in roughly contemporaneous portraiture, although the portraits in which we find them are themselves well known.
Christopher Marlowe was born in February of 1564, the same year as Shakespeare. He was the son of a Canterbury shoemaker, and attended the King’s School there. With fellowship support endowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, young Marlowe matriculated at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge University in 1580 and received the BA degree in 1584.
On 6 February 2017, François Truffaut (1932-1984) would have been 85 years old. As it was, he died tragically from a brain tumor at the age of 52, thus depriving the world of cinema of one of its brightest stars. His legacy, nevertheless, continues, being particularly evident in his influence on the current generation of filmmakers.