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Month: December 2013

Santa Claus is real, and he is not white

Santa Claus Every Christmas season, at least one movie will come out where the main thrust of the story is an argument demonstrating the virtue, in fact, the absolute necessity of all children everywhere believing in the literal existence of Santa Claus. Yet every adult connected with this venture knows that Santa Claus does not, in fact, exist. What’s up with that? Belief Belief is a funny word. We use it casually to mean both what we believe in — gods, philosophies — and also what we believe is factually true. Does this indicate that, on some level, our brains…

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Street crime

When I was eighteen and a college freshman away from home for the first time, I learned that I was supposed to be afraid to walk alone in urban areas after dark. I learned this on the phone with my mother. I was telling her about my experiences settling into college life, and we had an exchange that went something like this: Mom: You walked across campus? By yourself? At night? Me: Yeah…? Mom: You weren’t afraid? Me: Why? Mom: (pause) You could be attacked. Me: I… guess. In theory. Mom: Promise me you won’t do it again. Me: How…

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