Unnecessary Necessities

During the pandemic, you may have been watching Schitt’s Creek. Its characters inspired this month’s pandemic puzzle, which is about how to figure out the ideal balance between feeling like you need a lot to be happy, and feeling like you need very little.

Discriminating Streets

Why is there so much bad urban design? How can we make our streets more welcoming to everyone? Is the perfect city merely a mirage? This week on the show we’re asking whether streets can discriminate, and how we can design our cities so they are more just.

Sorry, Critics: Parasite is a Good Movie

For me—as for the good people at the Oscars—Parasite was far and away the best film of 2019. Critics, however, are eagerly denouncing it as a failure, a capitulation, a “conservative” film, indeed a movie full of “contempt” for the working class. What is going on?

#Francis-on-Film: Parasite

Parasite, the new critically-acclaimed film by the South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, challenges audiences to probe social parasitism amidst growing inequality in a largely affluent country. Who exactly are the parasites? And what makes them parasites?

#FrancisOnFilm: Downton Abbey

As a Downton Abbey neophyte, I cannot comment on whether the movie satisfactorily resolves the loose ends from the series, but I can say that it reveals social tensions rather than resolving them. Class is both idealized and undermined, and outsiders are both heralded and ultimately absorbed.