The Importance of Watching Other People Being Earnest

From Abbott Elementary to TikTok, Pop Culture Is Having a Rosy Moment with Victorian Roots

There’s an old adage that goes something like, “Be always sincere but never earnest.” The idea being that while sincerity engenders honesty, earnestness is hampered by its strength of conviction.

Maybe that’s why earnest entertainment typically induces my gag reflex.

I promise I’m not a total monster—if I’m in the right mood or have found the right topic, I can also submerge myself in this genre of programming that, at its best, feels like taking a warm, soothing bath. But too often I’m left cold, dreading the moment when the show I’m …

Why Oscar Wilde’s Life Was a Work of Art

More Than a Century After His Death, a Paris Exhibition Illuminates Both the Tawdry and the Transcendent

The French have always loved Oscar Wilde, just as he always loved them. Long before Britain sent him to jail for enjoying sex with other males in 1895, he …