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The story of GameStop has been marinating on the Internet for months. It has captured the attentions of many for its outlandish origins and climatic outcome. The sheer degree of media fascination should be of interest in itself. Admittedly, the GameStop tale is uncannily movie-like with trademark elements of high drama and power shake-ups.

But many are puzzled and halted before the larger question, “What does it mean? In the grand scheme of things, what does this event represent? And is the story even over yet?” We’d do well to remind ourselves that GameStop has no cinematic fetters; that is…


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What is the Internet, really? This question, in all its misty abstraction, occurred to me the other day amid my glazed-eye scroll of the YouTube homepage. All was offered up to me: quirky homemade comedic shorts, long-form intellectual traipses, glitzy music video debuts. And all of it in one place too. I could not help but think — what a perfect democratic fusion of “high” and “low” culture. I was then momentarily startled by how. . . lucky I felt.

We moderns are prone to wailing about the various “new dangers” that the Internet presents; we assume we possess a…

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Ask yourself — if you had to name them — what would number among the deepest, darkest anxieties of the collective human experience? Maybe you come up with the haunting prospect of your life not mattering or of not having “made a difference” as that hallowed line goes. Or perhaps you think of dying, of the immobilizing incomprehensible thought of “being no more”. For others, an abiding anxiety is having their grip on freedom, choice, agency, and personal will broken. …

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Children know something we don’t; this I am sure of. They know something about how to properly live. One of those “properly-living” prescriptions sorely missing from the ecology of the average adult is a cultivated spirit of curiosity. There are few among us that do not read those lines and experience a frisson of wistful, knowing recognition.

Curiosity is a virtue too often conceived of as a charming novelty enmeshed in an age of innocence but not transferable beyond this point. We ought to challenge our assumptions when it comes to this abandoned attribute and take time to trace its…

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The liberal and the conservative, how do we sort them? How do we tell them apart in the wild? There may be personality cues or clothing cues, charming little glimpses into political allegiance. We can make a sport of it, weighing geographical location with music tastes with speech patterns.

Americans, with our fashionably pragmatic two-party system are in a unique position to deposit people rather decisively into one of two camps; this is compared to our European counterparts with their fuzzy, fractured multi-party apparatuses. …

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Everyone wants to be the one to change the world, right? This sentiment is brightly declared in schools across the country, making its way into the lexicon of every American child. It does not matter how fantastical this notion is, “changing the world” still lives on eagerly in our imaginations. It is a sentiment soaked in ambition and hopefulness, but laced also with a sour presumptuousness.

“Changing the world” dreams are not always bathed in the gauzy light of, oh, human potential and “faith in humanity”. If we are honest, “changing the world” is often a phrase of indictment used…

Orwell vs. Huxley, fear vs. pacification, and the battleground of individuality

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There once were two Englishmen of the 20th century, each with dystopia on their minds. Each penned novels along these lines, their works woven throughout with a feverish blend of gruesome imagination and intelligent extrapolation. George Orwell is one of these Englishmen, of 1984 fame; Aldous Huxley of Brave New World fame, the other.

Orwell produced his legacy masterpiece amid witnessing the grim European spectacles of his day with their dictatorship-disease, hunger for war, and flattening of citizenries. Orwell’s dystopian speculation is clearly inspired by the totalitarian experiments of the 20th century, the effects of which he saw splashed across…

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The 21st century has witnessed economic growth and national debt curiously rising in tandem and has barely batted an eye at this. This is a confusing inversion of the usual dynamic. After all, historical convention long held that it was acceptable for nations to lapse into deficit-financing when they needed to shore up for wars but in peacetime, balancing the nation’s books reemerged as the obvious imperative.

It should rouse everybody from their slumber that our nation, in response to the longest economic expansion in modern history, did not contract its debts as would be healthy and expected but expanded

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Freedom is a delicate, fragile flower. It requires a nurturing hand and the ministrations of intentional preservation. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, that flower is now wilting. Its caretakers turn their faces away from it in indifference and vague disillusionment. Long a crown jewel of the American tradition, a strong vindication for freedom had a bonding effect on the population. People thought of freedom as a shared legacy which they felt a certain invigoration to maintain.

I would make the claim that this mass invigoration has been slipping. And in the age of the coronavirus it has made one…

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Ever since the coronavirus first washed up on our shores and the ensuing hysteria unfurled across our nation, I’ve been preoccupied with the cultural legacy it will end up leaving for posterity. What kind of society will we be left with when the virus cools? How will we as people psychologically change and morph under the pressures of our current predicament?

It is easy to overlook such stretching questions in the heat of an imminent threat and easy to become submerged in the myopia that is the natural result of implementing fast, breathlessly urgent changes. …

Lauren Reiff

Writer of economics, psychology, and lots in between.

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