Our society has experienced a zeitgeist, magnified through tweets, memes, and various millennial journalists: “F** 2020.” “2020 was such a bad year.” “Poor us for living through 2020.” On one hand, it makes sense; it can serve as a collective therapeutic sigh to acknowledge that we’ve all been through a lot. However, for a variety of reasons, I think it’s time we move on from messages like this. Indeed, on the eve of the 2020’s last day, I’d like to forcefully renounce our current zeitgeist and its future iterations. Let me explain why.

For starters, the zeitgeist is generic. 2020…


Entering our collective seventh month of quarantine in the COVID pandemic, I’m realizing that I’m having a lot of HIV/AIDS-related resentment towards the pandemic at hand.

This is the HIV virus — not COVID-19.

Call this time-displaced survivors guilt, or the reverbs of generational trauma: it bothers me deeply the certainty with which I know I would have been hit hard by AIDS had I lived in SF in the late ‘70’s. On the other hand, I almost certainly will not die from COVID, but am being asked to respond to it in ways that governments did not and still do not ask us to respond to the…


I did what any data analyst would do: conduct a survey

UC Berkeley campus at night. Photo: Silentfoto/Getty Images

I’ve heard that when you have a roommate, a sock on the doorknob is a common sign that you’re having sex inside the room. However, living in a 150-person undergraduate co-op, I had to use a more advanced strategy, involving research, spreadsheets, and debate. That’s right: Because of my roommate troubles, the largest student co-op in the United States got an organized, formally maintained sex room, and I’m going to tell you how it all went down.


In the gorgeous final pages of Virginia Woolf’s “Night and Day” a long-awaited romance reaches its climax during a midnight walk. Katharine stutters to Ralph, at which point Ralph understands a bit more of her, “making him feel that he had stepped over the threshold into the faintly lit vastness of another mind, stirring with shapes, so large, so dim, unveiling themselves only in flashes, and moving away again into the darkness, engulfed by it.”

I feel similarly — if not nearly as eloquent — as I sit down to reflect on a relationship that I’ve developed. Writing about a…


In the socially conservative Long Island town I grew up, the word “gay” was only used negatively. There were virtually no examples of gay people to look up to; in my high school of roughly 3200 people throughout 8 grades, I knew of only 2 gay people. Our high school readings contained no queer characters; protagonists or otherwise. The Catholic church was ever-present.

Taken individually, these traits may seem subtle or vague, but they were symptoms of deeper social oppression: a silencing of sorts. It wasn’t an internal stubbornness that caused me to try to actively convince myself that the…


I have the utmost respect for my friends who work actively to promote women’s rights, LGBT identity, and immigrants’ rights, but I also have a secret jealousy of them: their fields are ones in which one can be cautiously optimistic. Even without looking hard, one can see strong positive signs. After all, liberal urban society is shifting quickly, and the rise of identity politics has furnished the general public with a vocabulary to express support for an increasing range of acceptable identities. …

Lucas Spangher

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