On Interstellar, Love, and Time

What if there was a way to influence the past and change the future? With every choice we make — voting for president, purchasing a stock, getting married — we hold an entrenched view that possibilities evolve with time. We discuss the future in predictive terms (likelihood of, on target for, could go either way if…) and plan accordingly. To the extent that future outcomes don’t fall in line with our expectations we infer that we lacked information, were poor readers of probability, or experienced a devilish bit of bad luck.

There’s also a sense of momentum as we approach…


The Dark Knight; Avatar; The Age of Innocence; The Wolf of Wall Street

A Case for the Other Significant Other

Indisputably, Spike Jonze’s “Her” is a relationship movie. However, I’m in the minority when I contend the primary relationship in this story is between conscious and unconscious. I’ve found no mention in reviews of the mechanics or fundamental purpose of “intuitive” software. Intuitive is a word closely associated with good mothering, that early panacea that everyone finds fault with at some point in their lives. By comparison, the notion of being an intuitive partner or spouse is a bit sickening, calling up images of servitude and days spent wholly engaged in perfecting other-centric attunement.

To that end, it’s interesting that…


Gravity (2013)

I had a rare opportunity a couple of years ago to write a biography that took me back to Asia, as well as parts of America I’d never seen. I interviewed scores of fascinating people, mostly expats, who came from all over the world. Some were founders and descendants of a couple of America’s most recognizable family-owned businesses, businessmen who filter everything they do through the lenses of history and legacy. Others were Vietnam War veterans, invested in America’s standing in the world in tangible ways, not in theory. Many were global nomads. I then sat down with a pile…


Nora Ephron, top row, second from the left; October 1973

At the end of Everything Is Copy, Jacob Bernstein’s insightful 2016 documentary about his mother’s life, there’s a clip of Nora Ephron discussing her final film, Julia & Julie, on Charlie Rose. She explains what the film is about — “Love” — but elaborates enthusiastically about the depiction of Julia Child’s “romantic marriage” to Paul Child. Of the relationship that plays out onscreen, Ephron says: “It’s a kind of marriage that actually exists. Thank god it does or people would accuse me of making this up! But there are guys who really do take enormous pleasure in their wives’ growth.”…


You’re a professional, you idiot. You’ve worked your entire adult life to achieve respect in the field of your choice and you were just getting used to seeing the term “expert” in your bio when the cataclysm-that-is-the-Internet came along and turned your dreams of contributing knowledge and insight to the progress of humanity into lowbrow waking nightmares. Now you spend your days online, which is to say that you’re physically somewhere in the world, everyone is somewhere, but your mind isn’t focused on your immediate surroundings, your walls, your floors, your children, you negligent imbecile. Instead, you’re emotionally elsewhere, pulsing…


The first time someone tried to cheat off of me it was a revelation. The cheating I’d been taught about in England was a solo endeavor. We were instructed not to write notes to ourselves on our hands or hems, or put answers in flip top desks to refer to. The shame of being caught was too terrible to contemplate, and most of our work was too complicated to be aided by a one word answer anyway. I could never wrap my head around how someone might cheat, so I didn’t follow why there was a lot of discussion about…


Good evening,

Last week, I used the c-word, as I have many times before, but this time all hell broke loose. I understand why. In the past, I’ve used the c-word to demystify the preciousness of female anatomy, to reclaim the word by using it humorously. It’s not my favorite word and if I wrote the rules the world wouldn’t need to hear it at all, except perhaps as a term of endearment or a compliment. “Sweetheart, I love your cunt SO MUCH.” “Oh! Why, thank you, honey!”

But last week I was faced with a news report so inconceivable…


Al Gore’s Inconvenient Sequel

Activist Heather Heyer said, “If you you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” Incredibly, it took her murder in a public space in broad daylight to make people pay attention to organized American white nationalists. However, her death wasn’t sufficient to galvanize action on domestic terror. The president’s refusal to condemn her killers became the focus of the news cycle, thus shifting the public’s outrage away from a problem that demanded attention.

After years of conflating fact and opinion, news media has blunted the public’s response to a crisis. The same breath that delivers the facts must also tell us…


My wonderwomanhood began in London at age 5 when my visiting grandparents gave me a pair of American Underoos. They were blue on the top and red on the bottom with a yellow belt and three “buttons” that did absolutely nothing when you pressed them. I’d never heard of Wonder Woman before which was fortunate because it turned out these were Supergirl Underoos. …

E.C. McCarthy

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