Growing Up Online

In my first few weeks of high school in Australia, I remember a classmate messaging me something inflammatory on MSN Messenger (the equivalent of AOL for Americans). Though I don’t recall the exact phrasing of it, I know it was akin to: “Go read the Koran you….” The message was particularly strange because it came from someone who pretended to be friendly towards me in our interactions during lunch breaks.Continue reading “Growing Up Online”

The Moral Contamination of Free Speech

We find ourselves living in an age where free speech is considered by many as a concept that only right-wingers care about. “You think free speech is important?” I’m asked. When I respond, “Yes,” eyebrows are raised, shoulders tilt away, and through the forehead of my interlocutors I envision some panicked calculations in their minds: Is he a bigot or a Dinesh D’Souza 2.0? Maybe he’s not hateful or right-wing, he just doesn’t know how it’s used to disempower minorities. And then I’m left thinking: How did it come to be that free speech is seen in the mainstream as only a concept conservatives, demagogues, and right-wingers champion — and one no sane liberal or even left-leaning person could defend?Continue reading “The Moral Contamination of Free Speech”

A Cartoon to Ease Your Existential Dread

I first realized how good we are at pushing away the insignificance of our existence while creating a PowerPoint at 2:30 a.m. in a second-floor office in New York City with my colleague. I paused and mentioned to her then: “Is this what you want to be doing?” hinting, vaguely, at some grand philosophical questions. In a delirium of coffees and Turkish food and half a day of screen time, she smiled at me — and turned back to her computer. Why are you thinking about this stuff? her face had conveyed.Continue reading “A Cartoon to Ease Your Existential Dread”