Laughing at Death – Part 2: When the Dying Tell Jokes

James Belarde // “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go.” -Oscar Wilde, shortly before succumbing to illness In Mumbai, India, a kind-looking elderly woman sits on a stool behind a microphone and calmly quips “Life is like that TV journalist Arnab Goswami. Never take…

The New Woman Doctor in Sydney C. Grier’s Peace with Honour

The path from scholarship on male doctors in Victorian literature to that of women doctors was a somewhat circuitous one, the road having been laid more as a result of a growing interest in the fin-de-siècle New Woman than in literary representations of medical professionals in fiction or symbolic representations of anxieties about disease.

Laughing at Death: Gallows Humor and the Physician’s Psyche

James Belarde “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.” -George Bernard Shaw, The Doctor’s Dilemma If you’re reading this article, you’re going to die. That’s not to say, hopefully, that this piece is so bad it will kill you. Nor is…

The World We See – Part 4: “The Dress” Will Still Fool You

By: Lara Boyle February 26th marks a strange and special date in the history of the Internet. On a musician’s fan page, a photo of a dress surfaced along with a plea: “Guys, please help me. Is this dress white or gold, or blue and black?” Over the next week, the picture surged across social…

Stranger Things: Maternal Body Horror

Daisy Butcher Femininity, flowers and death have long been interconnected in the myths, folktales and stories that have captivated cultures across the globe. In their beauty and delicacy, plants can be a source of joy, but in their poisonous, thorned, or carnivorous aspects, they can also inspire fear. Nowhere are these two registers so diametrically…

The Depressing World of Comedy and Medicine

James Belarde “Just like Pagliacci did / I try to keep my sadness hid / Smiling in the public eye / But in my lonely room I cry” –The Miracles, in “Tears of a Clown” “Is depression funny?” This deceptively simple question opens every episode of John Moe’s podcast, The Hilarious World of Depression. Well-connected…

Love in the Time of Science Fiction

Anna Fenton-Hathaway   “I think we’re gonna be surprised by how deeply emotional we’ll [be] . . . with the things that we’re gonna invent, coming soon, the robots and things like that, because we’re gonna program emotion into them. . . . [W]e’re not really ready for how much love we might have for…

The World We See, Part 3: A Study of the Women with Superhuman Sight

By: Lara Boyle December Article Summary: Last month, we followed the path of light as it raced from the sun towards the earth. The light hit objects and reflected into the eye, passing through the eye’s lens and cornea.  The lens and cornea determined how much light could enter the eye, we learned, based on…

Crying Until You Laugh: Finding Humor in Personal Tragedy

James Belarde “The more one suffers, the more, I believe, has one a sense for the comic.” -Søren Kierkegaard In June of 1980, comedy star Richard Pryor covered himself in rum and lit himself on fire after days of cocaine freebasing in what he would later admit was a suicide attempt. During a four-month span…

The Uncertainty of Medicine and Improv Comedy

  James Belarde “Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.” -William Osler The Big Sick, a 2017 romantic comedy written by husband-and-wife team Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, tells the true story of a mysterious illness that strikes Emily early in their relationship. The doctors initially overwhelm her family with medical…