You Wanna Make America Great Again? Save the Bank Tellers, Not the Coal Miners

Illustration by Francesco Bongiorni

Illustration by Francesco Bongiorni

A couple of decades ago, my sister confided to me that she tried to buy only clothes and household goods that are made in America. She wants to support American manufacturing and preserve American jobs. I thought at the time that this was cool, but also impractical for me to emulate. Nan was married to a big-shot lawyer; I was married to a musician. It’s easy to order your sheets from Holy Lamb Organics when you don’t have to worry about the price.

What she said got me thinking, though. I thought about it a lot during this last election cycle, as I listened to Donald Trump tell Americans he was going to bring back the jobs of coal miners and steelworkers.

He’s not. Nothing is; experts are agreed on that. These industries that once sent workers home sweaty and covered with grime now employ robots to do the hard labor; the jobs that still exist are for skilled technicians and require specialized training rather than a strong back.  Read more »

11 Things You Might Not Know About Drexel University

Drexel's Bossone Research Enterprise Center. Photo | Courtesy Drexel University

Photo | Courtesy Drexel University

In case you somehow missed the cake and balloons, Drexel University turned 125 this year. To celebrate, two Drexel profs, Richardson Dilworth (grandson of the two-time Philly mayor) and Scott Gabriel Knowles, have put together a comprehensive history of the school, with chapters on everything from its architecture to its sports teams, its Greek life to its role in the civil rights movement and relations with adjacent neighborhoods. Building Drexel: The University and Its City, 1891-2016 is published by Temple University Press. Here are 11 things you might not know about Drexel, recently named by U.S. News & World Report one of the top 500 universities in the world. Read more »

How We Became Me

Illustration by Vahram Muradyan

Illustration by Vahram Muradyan

When I was in grade school, I was a Girl Scout. To be in the Girl Scouts, you had to buy a uniform. You went to Sears and you bought your uniform and you wore it to meetings, even though it was bunchy and uncomfortable and weird (what was with that necktie?), because that’s what all the other girls in your Girl Scout troop did, and you wanted to fit in. You wanted to belong. As I recall my adolescence, in fact, it was all one mighty heaving haul toward belonging, toward deliquescing into the melting pot, slipping sideways into the streaming mass of humanity without standing out or sticking forth or even particularly being noticed. The goal was assimilation — being subsumed completely, without causing a ripple. Read more »

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