Vol. 37 Issue 9

Nov 30, 2018

From the Editors

Descartes tells us that indecision is “a species of fear,” useful only when it delays our actions long enough for contemplation without causing us to squander our limited time to act, but I have to confess that I also find it wonderfully exciting. Lingering, even languishing, in indecision can be intoxicating and addicting.

But is the potential to do or not do really an expression of the freedom to indulge in both, or is it just a third independent state, a refuge for the cowards and apaths among us? Alas, I always run out of time before I reach a satisfying conclusion. The need to affirm myself, to identify a time, a position, a place, and claim it, can only be deferred for so long, and I’ll have to get out of bed at some point.

The specifics are often irrelevant; I tend to take the strongest positions and make the most final decisions on the easiest subjects. I display the intensity of my commitment to one decision or the other as proof of my existence, but the boring truth is that the majority of my decisions are arbitrary, instinctive, and habitual. Waiting, pausing, and delaying, even if I already know what decision I’ll eventually make, remind me that freedom isn’t the action of decision––being or doing––but the neutrality preceding it. I’ll meditate on that for eight more minutes.



Ask For Something Sweet

Body, Nov 30 2018

by Star Su

content warning: weight and eating issues Pie or cake? he asks. Cake, you say. He raises his eyebrows. The next afternoon, …


A Lack of Agency

Climate change tests the brittle Rhode Island bureaucracy

Climate, Nov 30 2018

by Colin Kent-Daggett

This article is the second installment of a month-long series, “Through the Muck,” tackling climate change in Rhode Island. Last December, …



Forty years ago, student journalists uncovered records of police brutality in Providence

Features, Nov 30 2018

by Ella Comberg & Lucas Smolcic Larson

content warning: graphic descriptions of police brutality In 1980, Steve Kohn returned to the offices of the Providence Human Relations Commission, …

Glass House, Shattered

A walkthrough of Philip Johnson’s famed residence

Features, Nov 30 2018

by Jacob Alabab-Moser & Alex Westfall

We visited Philip Johnson’s Glass House on a chilly Friday morning in autumn. After multiple failed attempts to reserve a visit …


Brief Elemental Things

A conversation with essayist, editor, and translator Eliot Weinberger

Literary, Nov 30 2018

by Wen Zhuang

Robert Atwan likened the essay form to a solitary, restless individual; Montaigne believed essays could only be written in paces; Hilton …

The Absence

Literary, Nov 30 2018

by Nicolaia Rips

Margaret Boyle woke up and her left incisor was loose. In her dream, she was crushed under a giant unspecified citrus …


Safety First — But Wait, There’s More

Juggling multiple interests in the improvements to Kennedy Plaza

Metro, Nov 30 2018

by Marly Toledano

Although plans to improve the downtown area have been a topic of conversation in Providence over the past decade, the City …

Week in Sad Food

Metro, Nov 30 2018

by Gemma Sack & Jesse Barber

1-800-BUTTERBALL “Alexa, how do I cook a perfect turkey?” This year, for the first time ever, you may have heard this …

Science & Technology

My Finest Jacket

Reimagining the placenta’s place in our birth narrative

Science & Technology, Nov 30 2018

by Mia Pattillo

Though addressing the experience of all placenta-bearing folks, I refer to mothers in this piece using she/her pronouns for the sake …

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