Tag: Adolescence

Snow: The Other Side of the Season


The beam of the car headlights framed flakes as they drifted, barely there. “Well, kids–it’s really snow,” said our dad. Snow. Snow. We stared out the front windshield and talked loudly. The faint precipitation didn’t rate the stir going on in our vehicle. Dad finally told us to settle down.

But we had been waiting for months–since September, when we had flown out of Bangkok, landed exhausted in New York City, and ridden through the night with patient friends to my dad’s family home out in the country. We soon moved to a turn-of-the-century house in town, some of the antique furnishings intact. Often, we drove our station wagon out into the rolling green and wooded countryside, visiting family, friends, or churches that hosted us with potlucks. We’d glided along smooth, quiet roads and eaten meatballs at farmhouses and wondered at carpeted bathrooms. But with snow, we’d know we were really in America, seeing the seasons as the books said they were supposed to be.

That Summer I Lived on a Farm and Loved a Cat . . .


The summer I was twelve, our family lived on a farm in central New York. Our borrowed farmhouse days were sandwiched between two stints in town: we’d spent the school year in one side of a turn-of-the-century house with antique furniture, and the coming short winter days would find us–parents and four kids–in a small, spare apartment.

But for now, down a narrow rural road named after the owners of the farm, wildflowers and grass and airy summer blouses rippled in a warm breeze.  We sat on the porch steps, chatting with the grandmotherly proprietor as gentle sunlight slowly baked the land until the wind brought mellow scents of corn and hay.  There was a barn filled with bales to climb on, a cornfield across the street, and quiet woods beyond it.  A sway-backed horse named Susie cropped grass in a field–several decades old now, she was retired. And there was a certain tortoise-shell cat that ended up determining my feelings about the farm.

Scully Doesn’t Care: Why Men Loved ‘The X Files’


“You disparage Scully?”
“Who?” my wife asked.
“Gillian Anderson, she was Scully on The X Files,” I said.
“You mean that gross show?”

My wife is not wrong, “The X Files” was often gross. In fact, it was downright disturbing at times. In retrospect, it was also pretty badly produced, often poorly acted, and occasionally made no sense. None of that matters to me. I’m sentimental about “The X Files” and it has nothing to do with the quality of the show. It holds a special place in my heart because, despite its flaws, it was always there for me.

It may or may not surprise you, but I was kind of a dork in high school. I wasn’t smart enough to be an academic nerd, or geeky enough to be a comic-book nerd; I was more like 50 percent dork. I played some team sports, but I also founded a photography quartet called The Phototards. I had a few girlfriends but never attended a homecoming or prom. Some weeks I went out on Friday night, but on others I found myself sitting alone in my room with nothing to do. It was on those nights, friends, that “The X Files” came to the rescue.

Is a Sense of Being Trapped in the “Wrong” Body Always a Delusion?


It came as a surprise to me to hear that Camille Paglia calls herself transgender, and more surprising that Ricochetti might be OK with it – more specifically, that there might be those who are OK with it when Paglia does it but not OK with it when others do it. It’s possible that what makes it OK for Paglia is that she’s not “gender dysphoric” – “She fully embraces her identity, both physical and mental,” and is “self-confident and passionate” about it, as @cm put it. This piques my interest, I admit, and in a way that goes beyond the merely academic.

If “gender dysphoria” is taken to mean “unease with the sex you were born into,” well, then I have a fair amount of experience being gender dysphoric. In my case, there now seems to be a reasonable explanation for it: a congenital defect whose severity would be considerably mitigated if I were born male – moreover a defect not identified until this year, so that I’ve spent most of post-pubescent life sensing (correctly, it turns out) that my body was somehow wrong and that being born female heightened this wrongness, while also having no socially-acceptable reason to give others for why I sensed this.

Member Post


It all started with @terichristoph and our recent discussion concerning first concert experiences. Mine occurred on August 28, 1966 when I saw the Beatles in Dodger Stadium. I was only 13, but between the screams and tears, I was breathlessly waiting for “that song.” You know the song I mean; the one song each of […]

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Art and Adolescence


2341483224_c49e875d42_bPortait of a Youth by Sandro Botticelli

I’ve been given a chance to teach art to middle school students at a private school in the fall. I actually really enjoy working with this age group. I read a book recently that compared the adolescent brain to a waterfall–so much, coming so fast, that it’s better to constructively divert the flow than try to arrest it.

Visual art provides great opportunities for creative ways to divert the flow. I’m preparing my curriculum and materials, and I thought I’d ask Ricochet members about their experiences of taking art classes during pre-adolescence and adolescence.

What Should Twenty-Somethings Be Doing With Themselves?


I’m particularly thinking of the younger ones, who are still minimally employable and not terribly mature. 

A lot of people are realizing that college isn’t a great deal for many (or most) people. But one of the reasons people send their kids to college is because they want them to have a pleasant post-adolescent/early-adulthood transitional experience. I’m not suggesting that colleges do a great job of providing this. Many people spend their college years wasting enormous amounts of time and money while eroding their moral character. Still, in broad terms, you can see how college seems like the right choice to many people. It offers some independence, but also some supervision; it has a natural starting and ending point; professors and counselors and friends will encourage students to spend their years there planning for some productive future to follow. And of course you get a degree (assuming you finish, that is).

No More Teens, Please! — Arthur Herman


I have a confession.

When I originally got the assignment of reviewing Glenn Harlan Reynolds’s book, The New School, for National Review, I intended to use it as a platform for talking about my own recent book, The Cave and the Light. I thought it would be an opening to discuss how the best educational reform of all would be to have students learn the classics, especially Plato and Aristotle, etc. Unworthy, but there it is. And when Glenn’s book arrived and I saw how short it was (104 pages of text compared to Cave and Light’s 600 pages) I figured this bait-and-switch would be easy.