What if we treated anti-maskers like LGBT people were treated during the AIDS crisis in the 80s?

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Photo by Luis Villasmil on Unsplash

They meet every day. In your town, in your city, not just under the cover of night, but sometimes in broad daylight. They’re on public transport. They’re in stores and workplaces. Don’t be fooled — these people are everywhere.

So-called “anti-maskers” are at the forefront of the new plague. They have no interest in protecting innocent citizens. Sometimes you see them gather somewhere, you know of them, you hear their loud music. They aren’t even trying to hide. Bare-faced and laughing, they do not seem to understand what it is that they’re doing. The punishment for their crimes? …

I don’t quite know what I believe, but I’m getting there

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Faith — a tedious, if not downright hideous part of other people’s lives, for many. For me, it is absolutely necessary. I’m one of those people who strongly believe in divinity and believe in the importance of religion for our personal and communal existences. This is my second crisis of faith and if I’m being honest…I would actually say that it’s going pretty well. I was raised a Lutheran Protestant on the outside, with nothing on the inside. My first crisis of faith happened when I was about thirteen years old, with my confirmation approaching. I had actually gotten something out of the services I was forced to attend in order to be eligible, so as someone who held deep beliefs I didn’t want it to be the same for me as it was for every other teen, a money grab. I agonised over it for ages, trying to reconcile my Christianity with another emerging faith that felt just as real. Eventually, my efforts to line them up with one another failed and started to sound more and more delusional. Shortly after my confirmation, setting aside any undeserved financial boosts I might have received, I became a Wiccan. It didn’t remain teenage naiveté, though. It was my religion up until very recently, in my late twenties. I was approaching faith from a place of education and healthy skepticism. Yet, I turned my back on Wicca, for multiple reasons. Now, I don’t quite know what I am. I want to practice bioregional animism, but I’m far from being an active practitioner to the degree that I want to be. I wouldn’t know what to call myself, either. I’m still working on my magic, but witchcraft and religion are two separate things. This is okay. I will work it out in time. …

What to look out for when you’re starting a career

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Photo by Nastuh Abootalebi on Unsplash

With the job market being what it is, there is a lot of focus on what employees have to bring to the table. We collect degrees, qualifications, certificates, and hone our soft skills. We do what it takes to become employable, we adapt. We’re constantly sending applications, we’re doing unpaid internships. Depending on how long you’ve been looking for a job or how soul-sucking your current one is, this can be an all-consuming experience. It can get obsessive and discouraging. …

Why we need to change the way we write about the process of writing

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

“Male fantasy is seen as something that can create reality, whereas female fantasy is regarded as as pure escape.” — bell hooks, from All About Love: New Visions

It may be my specific personal background and experience, but when I recently stumbled upon this quote, two examples immediately sprang to mind: The male author-as-genius and the female fanfiction author. None could be more dissimilar, and none could illustrate this point better. Only one seems to pertain to modern media at first glance, but let me explain.

There are many ways in which people who write can describe their relationship to the art. Ancient Greeks, and forgive the facsimile, were both inspired by muses and serving rigid structures. Nowadays, we often see it as a skill that requires a daily practice, that needs to be a habit, that is tied to productivity, ingenuity and maybe even “hacks”. In Germany between the late 1760s and the 1780s, a group of authors emerged that cultivated a different view that is still seen today, albeit somewhat transmuted, blurred, adapted. Those authors, Goethe especially, saw themselves as expressions of pure genius. By genius, they meant not only their norm-defying art and writing prowess, but specifically creative energy flowing through them, sent by the creator himself. Operating as a profoundly Counter-Enlightenment movement, these authors were not only writers, they were philosophers, they studied law, they were theatre directors, they were military men. They held positions of high regard no matter what they did. They idolised Shakespeare as a perfect genius. We can recognise the way they talked about their God-given intelligence as a topos now, just like humility is one, just like many rhetoricists start a speech by saying they don’t know what to say. In a way, however, they’ve still succeeded. They dominate our canon, they are seen as proficient in many fields. You might have heard of Goethe even if you’re not German. …

Quick tips from a former TA

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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

So you finally got into college. Or you finally got that coveted job working for your favourite professor. In case you haven’t paid attention, or no one’s ever walked you through it, here are some simple steps for successful research from someone who used to get paid for it.

1. Know your field

Google is not your friend. Every field of research (and sub-specification) has its own search engines for topical sources. Find out what yours are by asking around, clicking through your university’s tips for freshmen or simply looking up the databases with a quick Google search. As a bonus, their websites often notify you of events and new research, provide you with tools (e.g. …

Whether you’re a veteran wanting to refresh your memory or a gym rat in lockdown, keep these things in mind

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Photo by Raka Rachgo on Unsplash

Home workouts have their perks. You’re not being watched, which lessens performance anxiety. You can dress however you like and warm up by dancing around your living room. You can pull faces and let out grunts. You can enjoy the company of family and pets. You can put your own music on or watch whatever you want on TV. You’re completely in control and can go at your own pace. However, with the lack of professional instruction comes one major disadvantage: Even if you’re experienced, you can’t really check yourself and the risk of injury becomes much higher. Chances are, your home isn’t a perfectly regulated gym or studio, either. …

Dealing with academic disillusionment

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Photo: Edwin Andrade/Unsplash

As a student, working at my university, I greatly admired my professors, one of them in particular. Her initials were alliterative, and I came to refer to her as “Prestigious Prof” when talking to my boyfriend. Prestigious she was — she published books that were to become classics in her field, won prizes, spoke at conferences and ceremonies, was appointed to a government board.

She appeared on pop science documentaries as an expert and a very eloquent one at that. She always had perfectly bobbed hair, wore elegant Italian clothes and shoes, and subtle red lipstick. She had a soft yet imposing voice that commanded the attention of everyone in the room. As head of her department, she had a spacious corner office with a DeLonghi coffee machine that cost four times as much as my rent. …

Be safe when you’re active outside

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Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

Summer has begun in the Northern hemisphere, and especially thanks to being in lockdown or quarantine, we’re all gardening, taking our workouts outside, jogging, cycling, hiking, all while keeping a safe distance from each other. Another big safety concern when it comes to the outdoors is the sunshine we all crave. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re getting sweaty outside.

More is more

First of all, apply your sunscreen liberally. Sunscreen always goes on top of all other products; it comes last in your skincare routine. A good rule of thumb is that you need at least a tablespoon of product for your face and neck. Don’t forget the ears and eyelids. If you have a bald head or stubble, sunscreen goes there, too. The lower your SPF, the more often you have to reapply it, but you should reapply throughout the day, no matter what you use. Compromised skin, i.e. skin that is sensitized, already burnt, going through an acne breakout or an allergic reaction, wounds and tattoos that are still healing, and skin that has been treated with strong active ingredients needs extra protection, as well. …

4 important lessons from my internship at a literary agency

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

As someone who studies or has studied language and literature, those things probably mean everything to you. They certainly did when I was a student. I was infatuated with Goethe, with Kerouac, with Romantic painters all across Europe, with African fairytales. Not only do we love books and cultivate an identity around them, we also consume a lot of what is considered canon, the classics, the highest art. We might still indulge in reading YA novels and watching TV at home, but we’re aware that these things shouldn’t be considered scientifically. …

Conventional and unconventional exercises to work your abs in a way that suits you

I f you’re anything like me, your core is surprisingly strong. If you’re anything like me, you still often struggle with certain ab exercises because your hip flexors are impossibly tight. I always knew mine were, with a track record of a sedentary lifestyle and relatively low flexibility (think wide-legged seat — mine still looks very much like a V). What really hammered it home was a Kundalini class that I attended for several years. Specifically, different variations of leg raises. I was enthusiastic about that class, and in Kundalini there’s some emphasis on discipline, so I always pushed myself. My core was right there with me, which I was quite proud of. But by the twenty second mark, my hips were screaming at me and I often had to take breaks. I’m still trying to remedy that, if I’m honest, but while I’m working on hip mobility I’ve also found some great exercises that target the abdominals without forcing you to stop early. …


Anni Friedrichs

MA in literature, always trying to write any way I can. Passionate, somewhere between bookish recluse and reckless Beatnik.

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