The window in my bedroom looks out onto a cluster of North American sycamore trees in the backyard, trees that in the summer are so thick and plush and layered with leaves that they fill the whole window frame even from a distance with a deeply opaque green.
In 2018, whistleblower Christopher Wylie released a cache of documents to The Guardian detailing the dirty work of data-mining and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica and its role, alongside Facebook, in manipulating the 2016 elections. It revealed Analytica’s alleged unauthorized possession of personal data from 87 million Facebook user accounts which were used to deploy targeted political advertising for the Trump campaign.
A few weeks after the start of the new year, Johns Hopkins University (JHU) announced it would be ceasing the long-held history of legacy admissions at the institution. President of the Baltimore school, Ron Daniels, boldly announced that reserving legacy slots had been “impairing [its] ability to educate qualified and promising students from all backgrounds and to help launch them up the social ladder.” JHU’s decision comes during a time when Americans are becoming increasingly cynical about democratic institutions being stacked against them.
It took only a matter of hours after taking the PSAT in high school before Arthur the aardvark, clutching a disposable camera in his fist, appeared on Twitter. The caption: “When Juan Ribero refuses to teach you how to use your Kodak #psat.” I don’t at all remember what this meant or what section of the test it was referring to.
My sister is a relatively ‘woke’ 17-year-old, attending a progressive private high school in the Hudson Valley. She does extracurriculars like a capella, is the captain of her field hockey team and heads a club called “mixed,” which is a space for interracial kids to vent.