The Real Story of St. Nicholas and the True Meaning of Christmas

When I wandered into the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor recently, a special showing of Miracle on 34th Street dampened my Christmas spirit. I plopped down in one of the old theater’s restored Beaux Arts seats during the scene where Santa explains The True Meaning of Christmas to a Macy’s janitor. Santa launches into a … Continued


Ta-Nehisi Coates Has a Humility Problem

There’s something cold and economical about classing people according to the color of their skin. According to essayist Ta-Nehisi Coates, this slave market mentality has always dominated the black experience in America. Change only occurred under Barack Obama’s presidency—and only for a brief time—when black skin became one of the coolest commodities in the country. … Continued


In Defense of Black Friday

Growing up, my family did not go Christmas shopping on Black Friday—the practice commercialized a holiday reserved for family and Christ, my mom said. As an adult who now goes Christmas shopping on Black Friday, I can see her point. The way retail stores herd flocks of shoppers around with advertisements for deals on phones, … Continued


What Joan Didion Learned By Writing for ‘National Review’

Joan Didion is not the sort of woman whom most of her fans would expect to stand athwart history, yelling “Stop!” But for several years in the late 1950s and early 1960s, that’s just what Didion did—by working as book reviewer for the conservative magazine, National Review. Didion’s beginnings as a political and social conservative … Continued


The Problem with the New Thurgood Marshall Movie

Most people know the civil rights warrior Thurgood Marshall as the first black judge to sit on the United States Supreme Court. Few know the details of the legal slog he had to endure in the years beforehand. When I found out Hollywood was making a movie about his life, I was excited, but cautious. … Continued


Is Snapchat Ruining Museums?

The National Gallery of Art tastefully complements Washington, D.C.’s brutal summers. It’s cool, quiet, and houses some of the finest pieces of Western art—a welcome retreat from the humid swamp outside. But thanks to Snapchat, the outside has barged its way in. Inspired by the internet’s seemingly boundless classical art meme stash, eager Snappers rush … Continued


What Trump Could Learn about Flattery from Reading Plutarch

Nero may have fiddled while Rome burned, but it was the flattery of his courtiers that convinced the emperor he could get away with it. In his essay, “How to Tell a Flatterer from a Friend,” the late Roman historian Plutarch gestures at Nero, speculating that if the emperor had known to silence his flatterers, … Continued