Amnesia Two movies I saw recently reveal the amnesia persistent in our current discourse. The first is the movie Brooklyn, about an Irish woman who comes to the United States to build a better life for herself. She’s young and at first she’s absolutely wretched with homesickness. She’s dutiful but lackluster at work and around the boarding house where she lives. When she’s alone, she weeps. But youth will not be shackled for long, and eventually she comes out of her shell and falls in love. She and her boyfriend, an Italian immigrant, begin making plans for a new life in America. It’s easy to see in this pairing the birth of our modern culture, the blending of the hopes and dreams of immigra

A Binger's Notes

I’ve been wondering what it is that makes a TV show so compelling that I will sit in a dark room and watch episode after episode for hours? There are many fine shows out there that have fantastic scripts, great actors, and high production values, and yet I would never watch more than one episode at a sitting. So I’ve been going over the shows that are more like addictions for me than diversions, trying to pinpoint their commonalities. Of course, everyone’s bingeable list is subjective and everyone’s criteria will be individualized. For example, for all the well deserved hoopla that Breaking Bad received, so far it hasn’t moved into my bingeable category even though it fits several of my crit

Dog as Prozac

When the cover of a book prominently features a dog’s soulful face, you might justifiably make the assumption that the story is going to be a familiar one: a dog enters someone’s life, transforms the person through a variety of adventures, the dog dies and you cry your eyes out. But as anyone who has loved a dog knows, all dogs are different, and every dog story is unique. Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself by Julie Barton is a skillfully written, deeply touching, honest, and provocative memoir. It’s about much more than a woman’s love for her dog because her dog really did save her from herself after she sank into a depression that nearly killed her. Barton’s depiction of her mor

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