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Iain Espey
Iain Espey is a senior from Six Mile, South Carolina, majoring in philosophy. He grew up on a dirt road in the backwoods and now he basically lives in Coho. He’s been called wise but also cold. A friend once told him he has “resting anguish face.” In the near future he hopes to teach children, write, and finally get around to ironing his shirts.

Aspects of de-stressing

Vacation as we know it arose parallel to the tuberculosis sanatorium. Whether one took the waters or sunbathed at a brisk altitude, 100-odd years ago, programs of rest and recuperation at resorts and mineral spas were but a step removed from the best available treatments for long-term lung disease. Even if you weren’t a hopeless…

Dispatch from the middle

Dear Queers, Last quarter, I wrote a piece that pissed some of you off. I was safely abroad at the time, but from afar I ate up the feeling that peers I’d never met might be thinking nasty thoughts of me, or better yet discussing something I wrote with their own queer polis or responding…

What a universal basic income won’t solve

What would you do if you had a guaranteed, no-strings-attached cash flow that kept the rent paid, avocado toast on the table and the interest on your student loans at bay? Inconceivable, I know, but bear with me. You haven’t won the Powerball, but likewise, you’re not squatting in the woods catching squirrels for your…

Speech, civility and The Stanford Review

I followed last week’s pissing contest between The Stanford Review and David Palumbo-Liu with perverse delight. Catfights like this don’t come along often enough in student journalism, and in otherwise despondent times (winter quarter, I mean) such performative spite is a welcome distraction from the darker aspects of our current reality (mass druggings, say). At…

Why our news bubbles just won’t burst

Back home for my last ever winter break, I made a timeline, allotting two full weeks for idleness and setting the day after Christmas as a hard deadline for getting serious with myself. As it always does, the torpor took longer than anticipated. One by one, I abandoned each task on my much-too-ambitious to-do list…

Transgress unto death

In the basement of my grandma Pat’s Mercer Island home there is, among other things, a manual typewriter (I drop hints about my intention to inherit it every time I visit), a BB gun I know and love, at least one family of mice (I’m guessing) and four Stanford Quad yearbooks, from 1944 through 1948. You…

Strange queers, queer strangers

About this time last year, I met my friend John* at Coho to catch up — not just any friend, a gay friend. I emphasize that fact because I have relatively few at Stanford. Of my five closest friends (my “little family”), four are straight. Among my extended freshman dorm cohort (“the polis”), I’m the only…

General Lee’s long shadow

I distinctly remember the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. That was 2011, and back then we had a black president. To ninth-grade me in South Carolina, where I grew up, the history seemed settled, long dead despite its visible reminders. There were a few leftover plantation houses and the annual battle…

To incoming freshmen: In defense of disagreeing

While working for Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies (SPCS) this summer, I met a disarmingly wise 13-year-old novelist. Flying home as an unaccompanied minor, she needed a chaperone to see her safely through the terminal and onto her plane, a responsibility requiring abundant patience, a government-issued ID and an inhuman tolerance for lukewarm airport sushi: my specialty.…

How moral is the media?

If we share some of the same basic goals, why are we moralizing past each other? It’s not totally our fault, but it sort of is. Here, I’m all too happy to embrace lesson one of Trumpism: blame the media.

The myth of meaningful work

Last summer, I replied to emails, attended acquisitions meetings, wrote promotional copy, edited webpages, distributed event fliers, read Kafka on my lunch break and generally tried to look as busy and unapproachable as possible. What exactly was I supposed to find meaningful about that?

Gunslinger morals and the sequel machine

Logan is a movie about its genre, the superhero flick. As Hugh Jackman’s last portrayal of the brooding and brutal Wolverine, the film is drenched in finality. At the same time, a passing reference to events in the franchise’s establishing film (released seventeen years ago; does that make you feel as old as I do?) positions Logan as a sort of closing remark for the series.

Complicating the cult of consent

If you’ve gone out even once in the last year, you’ve probably encountered the consent sign, which seems to have been handed down to every co-op and frat like a golden tablet from above.

Books to read in 2017: Where the sea ends and the earth begins

More than thirty years after it was written, José Saramago’s The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis feels eerily relevant for our troubled times. A postmodern, dreamlike chronicle of existential revolt, this is not a soothing novel by any stretch of the imagination, but it may be just the bitter medicine we need in 2017.

Aren’t you glad you don’t go to Berkeley?

Of course, it’s sad that the hecklers had their veto, and that by their inaction the Berkeley police were complicit in the event escalating as it did. What I find even more unsettling, though, is how the violence has been justified online.

Allyship after Trump

If Trumpism is a reaction against mainstream liberal culture, then our first task should be to flesh out and understand what complaints the movement has with that culture. And when we begin to have this conversation, it’s impossible to avoid that perennial punching bag of loudmouthed reactionaries and honest moderates alike: political correctness.

On Our Culture of Outrage

If you believe what you see on the internet, outrage is one of the only things we have left to feel these days. The cycle goes like this: Someone somewhere has done something simply unforgivable and your Facebook feed is full of it. The news trickles down from the young and in-the-know to those well-intentioned…

Legal weed is just the beginning

When it comes to politics, you can always count on your Uber driver for a considered perspective. That proved true recently when a thumb-shaped man named Mike burst my bubble on Prop 64. He had the fear of God in him when he told me marijuana legalization would be the beginning of the end. It’s…
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