Culture

The Bed-Bug Whisperer of Brooklyn

The Bed-Bug Whisperer of Brooklyn
by Laura Entis | The Outline |
#165 | #culture

Maybe even more than roaches and rats, bed bugs induce anxiety and revulsion. (Ever had them? Don’t worry. You don’t have to tell.) Bed bugs win the ick contest: invading our homes, sucking our blood, and multiplying rapidly. If you happen to live near Brooklyn, Billy Swan is the guy to call. He’ll assuage your fears, calm your frenzy, and take care of business. At the same time, Mr. Swan will emphasize that bugs remind us we’re all in this together. (14 min)

The Comforting Fictions of Caring for People with Dementia

The Comforting Fictions of Caring for People with Dementia
by Larissa MacFarquhar | New Yorker |
#165 | #culture

Let’s say you’re taking care of a woman with dementia. She believes her late husband is still alive. Do you tell her the truth, over and over again, which causes pain and suffering? Or do you tell her he’s still at work or in a different room? The trend in memory care is to give patients “comforting fictions.” As usual, Larissa MacFarquhar (#107) is spectacular in this piece, which brings up many ethical issues. Like: Is it OK to lie to your patient? Is who we are what we remember? (54 min)

+ More on dementia: #9#21#40#108#120.

The Summer of Heartsick Mountains, by Ellie Shechet

Ellie Shechet returns to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where she grew up, after last year’s wildfire (#95), to find out what’s happened to the Smoky Mountain Synchronous Firefly, whose population has plummeted in recent years. “You start noticing things in a different way when you know you’re going to lose ’em,” a firefly expert tells her. This brilliant piece is about the magic of fireflies, their association with childhood, their importance across various cultures. It’s also about how humans have brought the Photinus carolinus to the brink of extinction. Mostly, though, this is a reflection on growing up and leaving your hometown — and losing as much as you have gained. (22 min)