ESSAY: Bourdain’s Enduring Resonance

ESSAY: Bourdain’s Enduring Resonance

By Tom Robotham When CNN announced the launch of its new streaming service, I immediately subscribed—primarily because, at $2.99 a month, it offered an inexpensive way of bingeing on Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain’s enormously popular travel show. I was disappointed,...
Good Sense and Good Magic 

Good Sense and Good Magic 

  By Tom Robotham And I go on believing in the possibility of love. – Pablo Neruda Twenty years ago, during my stint as editor of Port Folio Weekly, my friend Mike Pearson suggested that I get together with one of his colleagues at Old Dominion University—poet...
ESSAY: American Studies

ESSAY: American Studies

By Tom Robotham Thirty-five years ago—10 years after I graduated from college—I decided to go back to school to pursue a master’s degree in American Studies. At the time I had no plans to become a teacher. My decision was motivated purely by a desire to gain a deeper...
ESSAY: American Studies

ESSAY: The Sins of Our Fathers

By Tom Robotham I know a lot of people who’ve ordered ancestry test kits like 23andMe, but I’ve never felt compelled to do so, since I already know a great deal about my family history. My mother, especially, was interested in genealogy, and when I was still very...
ESSAY: American Studies

ESSAY: My Life in Nine Songs

  By Tom Robotham Music…is not simply a distraction or a pastime, but a core element of our identity. – Daniel Levitin, The World in Six Songs The other day, I pulled from one of my bookshelves a volume that I’ve revisited often over the last few years: Daniel...
ESSAY: American Studies

ESSAY: A Christmas Meditation

  By Tom Robotham So this is Christmas, and what have you done? – John Lennon When I was a kid, the Christmas season was the most exciting time of the year. Ushering it in, shortly after Thanksgiving, was the arrival of the Sears Christmas catalogue—or “Wish...