Marissa Miller Says Being Weird Is Good

JWA sat down with writer Marissa Miller to discuss her essay collection Pretty Weird: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome and Other Oddly Empowering Lessons, published in May 2021. Miller’s debut book highlights the awkwardness of growing up, the difficulty of managing a freelance writing career, the importance of Jewish culture, and the struggle of living with disordered eating. From depicting a living situation gone wrong to experimentation with sexuality at Jewish summer camp, the book is full of pe

Millions of People are Watching Earwax Removal Videos

TikTok has been an amazingly popular social-media platform, educating its audience of 800 million on a variety of topics — for example, healthcare workers dispelling coronavirus myths. One trending topic that took off in 2020 and continues to surge may surprise you: earwax removal. Videos posted with the hashtags #earwax and #earcleaning have amassed over 1.4 billion and nearly 350 million views respectively. Why do people want to watch?

Helen Keller Conspiracy Theories Are Awash With Ableism

Even before social media became a plan to embolden conspiracy theories, people have been underestimating what disabled people are able to accomplish. I grew up with hearing loss, so my peers made fun of me because I couldn’t hear their whispers, and adults questioned whether I should take foreign language classes with my classmates because they doubted my abilities and my intelligence. As a result, I didn’t have a lot of drive in elementary school because I didn’t think I was capable of achievin

The Writers Who Want to Get Americans to Talk to Each Other Again

In these divisive times, it can be hard to build relationships with people who have different viewpoints. Narratively contributors Justine Lee and Tria Chang teamed up to try to bridge the gap between those on different sides of the political spectrum. Their method: dinner conversations. Lee and Chang talked to Narratively about their own friendship, and what led to the creation of their project, Make America Dinner Again.

My Dad, the Globetrotting Businessman, Paleographer...and Spy?

“When I came home from work, the cook told me that some men had entered the house with machine guns drawn,” my father recalled dramatically as he tucked me and my brother in to bed. At bedtime, instead of reading us stories from the pages of fairytales or books of cartoons, my dad used to tell my twin brother and me stories about his own life. This particular tale was from 1972, when he was working in the tea trade in Bangladesh. He’d been in his early 20s at the time, living in Bangladesh just six months after the country had been partitioned from Pakistan following a bloody war.

What Happens If You Run Out of Mental Health Meds During the Apocalypse?

Writer and comedian Gaby Dunn, who has bipolar disorder, went camping at a mountain with her then-girlfriend. During the trip, Dunn was asked what she would do if something bad happened. Dunn responded that her bipolar disorder symptoms would act up because she only had “a certain amount of medication” with her. This experience inspired Dunn to create the upcoming Audible Original series “Apocalypse Untreated.”

Animated DreamWorks Series for Kids Adds Disabled Character

The new season of the DreamWorks animated series “Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy” will feature a disabled character, Eleanor, who is a wheelchair user. Voice actress Cassidy Huff, who has Conradi-Hunermann syndrome, will be voicing the role. According to Huff, her role breaks from the typical disability stereotypes and is a win for authentic disability representation. “Spirit Riding Free: Riding Academy” follows characters Lucky and her friends as they navigate their time and relationships wit

This Disability Activist Wants to Make the Entertainment Industry More Accessible

Whether it is your true passion or a fleeting thought, many of us have wondered what it would be like to star in a movie or work in the entertainment industry at some point in our lives. But, for people with disabilities, pursuing work in the entertainment industry is not just based on talent. Inaccessibility and harmful stereotypes about disability can be major barriers, on both sides of the camera. Keely Cat-Wells is one of many disability advocates fighting to make the entertainment industry

11 Canadian Jewish Celebrities, Because Why Not

Happy Canada Day! Every July 1, the United States’ neighbors — or, as they would write, “neighbours” — up north come together and celebrate the anniversary of when Canada received their independence from the United Kingdom. While I live in Massachusetts now, I am originally from Canada myself, from a city named Winnipeg in the province of Manitoba (fun fact: Winnipeg sometimes gets colder than Mars). While Canada Day is a celebration for many, the creation of Canada was and continues to be a lo

This is how your dog account can go viral on Instagram and Twitter

After the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, computer scientist and dog mom Jen Golbeck was spending a lot of time on social media, which was part of her job as a social media researcher and professor. Golbeck noticed that so many people were angry, including herself, so she decided to start a new side project. She created The Golden Ratio, where she posted photos of her four dogs as a “little happy retreat that people can go to.” More than three years later, the Golden Ratio has a dedicated fanb

The Pope Who Wrote an Erotic Novel

Aeneas Silvius Bartholomeus caught the attention of King Frederick III of Germany, the future Holy Roman Emperor, with his talent for words. King Frederick named Bartholomeus poet laureate in 1442 and commissioned him to write his own royal biography. The king may not have known that Bartholomeus had a far less regal side interest. According to Absolute Monarchs, by historian John Julius Norwich, over the next three years, while working in the royal chancery in Vienna, Bartholomeus wrote a large amount of “mildly pornographic poetry.” And then there was his magnum opus: The Tale of Two Lovers, or Historia de duobus amantibus, an erotic novel that he penned in 1444. This dalliance with erotic literature is even more surprising given that Bartholomeus later took on a much more high-profile position: In 1458, he become Pope Pius II.

Reviews: Come As You Are

Come As You Are is a comedy about three disabled men and their trip to Montréal, Canada to lose their virginity at a brothel. The film, which is coming to theaters on February 14, opens to Scotty, a paraplegic 20-something who lives with his overbearing and intrusive mother Liz, waking up with a boner. Scotty doesn’t start out likable, as he objectifies women at his physical therapy center and is brash towards seemingly everyone he doesn’t sexualize.

Is TikTok "Bad For The Jews"

For a few months, my friends have been hounding me to download TikTok. After weeks of standing strong, last month I caved. I had been reluctant to join TikTok because the app is under a national security probe over its alleged ties to the Chinese government. Various American politicians, including Chuck Schumer and Marco Rubio, have expressed concerns that TikTok may be used to influence elections. But, the allure of the sketches and clips that my friends kept talking about was too strong, and I downloaded the app anyway.

A Chef Who Fuses Food and Performance Art to Challenge Bias

From sketchy temp positions to a climate change-fighting scientist, we have published many stories over the years about how unique jobs have impacted people’s lives. One recent story that particularly caught readers’ attention is chef Jenny Dorsey’s article “Yes, This Meal Is Supposed To Make You Comfortable.” In this article, Dorsey writes about how growing up and through culinary school, people have made her feel that her family’s Chinese cuisine was somehow backward. We chatted with Dorsey about her writing, her non-profit Studio ATAO, and the work that she does to challenge prejudiced notions about food.

How This Indie Filmmaker Made the Year’s Biggest Political Documentary

If you’re a huge politico, you’ve surely heard of the new Netflix documentary Knock Down The House. The documentary, which was created by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick, follows four women – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Vilela, Cori Bush, and Paula Jean Swearengin – as they run for Congress in 2018. You may remember first meeting these four women last year on Narratively, when we worked with Rachel and Robin to publish four excerpts from their film-in-progress. Since then, Ocasio-Cortez pulled off a shocking upset to become one of the country’s biggest political stars; Knock Down The House premiered at the Sundance Film Festival; and the film was released on Netflix on May 1. It currently has a 100-percent critics approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Q&A: Writer Marissa Miller on Journalism and Imposter Syndrome

Having written for dozens of publications, from Vogue to Vice, Marissa Miller’s extensive portfolio is certain to strike the interest of many journalists and media consumers alike. Miller, who hails from Montreal, Quebec, isn’t what many would consider a typical Jewish journalist. Her beat doesn’t center on the Jewish world, but rather on gender, fashion, and beauty. I spoke to Miller about her experiences as a writer, eating disorders, and advice that she has for college journalists.
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