Milling about before the clinic
opened for a routine blood test ...
Where I (Don’t) Go: Three Years in Northern Colorado
I Haven't Left Larimer County Since Early 2020. It’s Taught Me How to Hear, Smell, and Feel at Home
In late September in northern Colorado, where the Rocky Mountains meet the plains in the traditional and ...
A Mid-Century Playbook for Saving Progressive American Education
Fifty Years Ago, Parents United to Get the Far-Right John Birch Society Out of Their Schools
This May, an email landed in my inbox. The correspondent, who’d come across my new book on the John Birch Society, wanted to share how members of this far-right anticommunist group won control of his local Parent Teacher Association when he was in kindergarten at San Rafael Elementary.
This was early 1960s Pasadena, California, during the rise of the Birchers. What happened then and there was a story unfolding in many communities around the country.
In one way, the story was similar to the pressures that schools are seeing now. In recent years, parents and activists—who, in many cases, are the ideological inheritors of the Birchers—have succeeded in getting large swathes of the country to vet what is taught and read in classrooms, to decide which students can use which ...
My Ride in a German Time Machine
Virtual Reality Took Me to 1926 Cologne. I Found What a City Had Lost—And What Our Democratic Future Needs
I was more than a little startled when Konrad Adenauer approached me in the Old Market.
Sure, I was visiting Cologne, Germany, Adenauer’s hometown. But I had never imagined I’d lay eyes on the famous statesman who served as the German republic’s first post-war chancellor—much less get a wave from him.
Not least because he died six years before I was born.
But I had traveled back to 1926, when Adenauer was Cologne’s mayor, courtesy of TimeRide, a virtual reality tour.
I’m not much for tourist attractions, which TimeRide—which also operates in Dresden, Munich, Berlin, and Frankfurt—most certainly is. I took the tour, which involves entering a storefront on Cologne’s Old Market and sitting in a streetcar inside, after my colleagues at a Cologne-based democracy NGO suggested I try it. I’m glad I did ...
Bend It Like Oregon
Fast-Growing Western Cities Are Snatching Up California’s People and Ambitions
The News From 2049: Texas Surpasses California
Decades Earlier, the Golden State Gave Up on Growth and Progress
Let’s Create a California Conference
Stanford and Cal, Instead of Running Scared to the Atlantic Coast, Form a Statewide Athletic League of Your Own
Her Voice Memos and My Grief
A Friend’s Digital Messages in a Bottle Carry on a Centuries-Long Tradition of Auditory Remembrance
Come on Barbie, Let’s Sell Barbies
American Toy Companies, Led by Mattel, Have Entwined Marketing and Entertainment for Over Half a Century
Is the Indiana Jones Era Really Over?
Harrison Ford Might Be Hanging Up His Fedora, But the Imperial Theft His Movies Glorify Lingers
How History Takes on Healing Power
Discussing Reparations and Repair at Memphis' Lorraine Motel
The Lorraine Motel in downtown Memphis, just blocks away from Beale Street, the city’s historic African American commercial center, first opened as a whites-only establishment in the 1920s. But just two decades later, when it was bought and repurposed by Black business owners, it went from an institution that banned African American patrons to one that was embraced as a safe haven by those very same travelers seeking dignified lodgings in the …
Where I Go: Becoming a Pokémon Champion
For the Last 15 Years, These Cute Digital Creatures Have Helped Remind Me That I Can Overcome Any Challenge That May Come My Way
Where I Go: My Teacher, the Tomato
How This Beautiful Plant and Its Magic Fruit Guides a Professional Chef in the Kitchen, and in Life
Where I Go: The Playground That Helped Make Prague Feel Like Home
On the Plastic Benches of Výtoň’s Park, I Watched Our Sons Play and Let My Imagination Roam