The Legend of Marcus Aurelius

The great ambivalences of life are braided into legend to prove continuity, explain our crimes, and glorify our talents. The bare exigencies of birth and death are transmuted into moral lessons and life patterns shared by generations before and after in an endless, continually invented narrative chain.

Citizen Pavey

by Jenny White At precisely 9:03 am on Friday, May 24, 1996, the attractive blonde woman on track thirteen at the Zurich station slipped into the gap between the platform and the moving train. Şafak Pavey was a nineteen-year-old Turkish art student. She had recently arrived in Zurich to study and to live with her…

Letter From Be’er Sheva

By Jenny White I remain convinced, despite my anthropological training not to generalize, that every society has an aesthetic, a particular repetition of pattern, that informs its material manifestation. In contradiction to the anthropological view that you must delve under the surface to understand a place, I’m going to suggest that this aesthetic is most…

Deep Vanilla

by Jenny White Gus Rancatori is a Renaissance man who owns an ice cream parlor. Cambridge-based Toscanini’s is a hangout where you’re as likely to run into a Nobel Laureate in chemistry and a molecular foodie as a furniture maker or novelist. One day I met a dapper man with gray hair who had been…

Can Egypt Be Turkey?

Turkey has been bandied about this past week as a model to be emulated by the new nations being born like small supernovas across the Middle East. The country currently appears to have found a place for Islamic piety within its political system without jamming any of its democratic wheels, although the process has been noisy and contentious. Would the “Turkey Model” work in the Middle East?