When is a killing a murder?

Thou shalt not kill.  That was number six in the series of ten things that God All-smitey insisted on his young charges, the Hebrews.  Of those ten, most contemporary societies have hung onto three as a matter of law: No killing (6), no thieving (8), and no perjury (9). The other seven suggest a rather insecure and…

America’s Aboriginal Sin

You know what’s tiring and pointless?  Presuming to know what America’s “Founding Fathers” would think about this or that, and then using that probably-misinformed presumption to promote policy. Even if you could discern how these long-dead 18th century gents would react to contemporary mishegas (by the way, you cannot), why should we think their thoughts are…

In Which the Pubic Wig Is Discussed

So on Flag Day (June 14), I went to makeameme.org and typed certain factoids onto the old photo of Francis Bellamy, author of the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.  I posted the image on Reddit, with the heading, “Merkins, when you pledge allegiance to the flag, remember …” The one and only commenter replied, “A merkin is a…

Self-Evident Truths and Lies

“We hold these truths to be self evident,” penned Thomas Jefferson, writing the document that would birth a new nation. Those truths: that all men are created equal and with certain rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There is a curious debate whether the sentence should have ended there, because there is no discernible…

Occupational Churn Out

Seen on the TheStreet’s job posting for a digital journalist: Ability to very quickly churn out error-free content. That word “churn.” What message does it send to prospective applicants, presumably writers who care about their words the way mother wolverines care about their kits, when they see they are tasked with churning out content? I thought…

Mansplaining the Patriarchy

Hello, ladies! Let us first define our terms. “Mansplaining” describes a situation in which a man is required to explain a complex concept to a woman, or “female.” Unfortunately such tutelage often goes unappreciated, as it is perceived by girls to be a particularly condescending form of pedantry, and even somewhat patronizing. Ladies, did you…