Articles By: Jennifer D Gaertner

David Foster Wallace: Fighting a Culture of “Me”

Unless you’re a devoted fan of NPR or The New Yorker, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of the late David Foster Wallace. Unbeknownst to many, David Foster Wallace, or “DFW,” as he is sometimes called, was one of the most influential and insightful writers of our age. Deeply aware of the social...
July 13th, 2010 | Culture | Read More

The Ordinary Pointing Us Onwards

What can be said about a painting of a girl washing dishes? We barely think about the act of dish washing. We barely contemplate this familiar experience at all. Standing in a room called a kitchen; the dirty sink, the brightly lit lamp. This is the space we inhabit as we eat, drink and wash. This is...
July 8th, 2010 | Culture, Other, Religion | Read More

Learning Compassion from Story-Truth: Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

Empathy is one of humanity’s best qualities. And it can also be the most neglected. When insurmountable obstacles confront a community, understanding and compassion from neighbors is often just enough to pull them through. But what if the obstacle is something few can understand? What if it’s trauma...
June 30th, 2010 | Art & Literature, Culture | Read More

Our Turn Inward: Emotionalism

While some economic theorists take notice of class distinctions and their impact on quality of life, few choose to go deeper by asking such questions as “how does capitalism shape our feelings?” Eva Illouz does just this by bringing abstract economic theory to the realm of the personal. Illouz acknowledges...
June 28th, 2010 | Culture | Read More

The Murder of the Homeless & Social Merit

Do we perform acts of kindness towards others because they deserve it or because they need it? In case you haven’t heard, a homeless man was recently murdered in New York City after trying to help a woman in the middle of being assaulted. Brian Levin reports: In New York surveillance video captured...
May 4th, 2010 | Culture, Human Rights | Read More

You, Me and Television: “Fringe” and Human Nature

Despite the downsides of television, and the fact that we probably don’t need to be watching more, small screen narratives offer profound insight on the human condition. Before the birth of “TV,” 18th Century British author Samuel Johnson once argued that a story was only truly superior if it was...
April 28th, 2010 | Culture, Television | Read More

Mainstream Standards of Beauty

For an industry that loves to break with tradition, upend rules, and challenge cultural conventions, the fashion world rarely compromises on its one hard and fast criterion: all models must be the same. With minor exceptions, the models chosen for the runway are carbon copies of one another. Frequently...
April 19th, 2010 | Culture, Media | Read More

Sacrifice vs. …Sacrifice? : Doing What You Love

Seth Godin recently pointed his blog readers to a heart-warming—and considerably thought-provoking—documentary. Appropriate to Godin’s field of work, “Lemonade” interviews over a dozen laid off advertisement professionals who use their new found freedom to pursue work and recreation...
February 16th, 2010 | Other | Read More

The Funny, the Serious and the Social: A Reflection from the Leno/Conan Controversy

It’s been an odd couple of weeks in the news recently, with a number of articles and video segments frantically reporting on the Conan O’Brien/Jay Leno fiasco. “I’m with Coco” fans’ dreams for the future of The Tonight Show were laid to rest when NBC executives officially announced a little...
February 4th, 2010 | Media, Television | Read More

Measuring Our Quality of Life by the Economy

Financial commentary abounds in the news, but few stop to consider what this commentary says about American values. Although economic analysis is designed to explain our material condition, we frequently look to this analysis to affirm our overall quality of life. In the November issue of The Atlantic,...
January 12th, 2010 | Culture | Read More