Tangent

Survivor’s Guilt

Robert of Timothy Findley’s The Wars is a survivor, and he curses himself. What does it mean to be the sole survivor?

How to Learn to Dance

Can learning the Lindy Hop make you a better thinker, doer, internet user? Lessons from Daniel Levitin’s The Organized Mind hint that it might

Role Models, Positive and Abominable

Lawrence Wright’s Thirteen Days in September shows how even horrible legacies can stand for beautiful ideals.

Image via Wikimedia
Snort Your Parents

How should a rock star’s mom or dad behave?

Such A Laugh As One Might Fancy Satan Uttered

Attending “lunatic balls”—public parties held at mental asylums—was once considered a kind of civic duty. What was learned?

Are You Having Enough Fun?

Fun is many things: youthful rebellion, civic duty, blue wig. And thanks to its hazy definition, fun can feel like an obligation you’re failing to meet. John Beckman’s American Fun helps explain why fun has us so perplexed.

More Awkward Than Ever

Comedy writers—including some of those featured in Mike Sacks’ new Poking a Dead Frog—used to worry that connectedness would kill the sitcom. But if old sitcoms were about the scarcity of information, today’s are about too much.

|| Grace Coolidge and Helen Keller
Helen Keller’s Self-Perception

All faces are lies—we adjust them to match the selves we want to present—but the faces of the blind show the difference between what we perceive and what is there.

‘Indian Guides’ and White Spiritualists

In the 19th century, Spiritualists invoked “Indian guides” at their séances. White mediums rendered these ghosts about as sensitively as one might expect, but their words are more surprising.

|| A blue moon, via Flickr user Asher Isbrucker
How to See the Secret Blue

In 1976, William H. Gass wrote a philosophical inquiry into blue that was really more about language. Turns out that how we see “blue” can tell us a lot about how we see the world.