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This week’s photo challenge theme, culture, provided an interesting challenge for interpretation. And I have quite the heartfelt interpretation today…

Events like the Boston Marathon bombing can easily convince us that there is little good left in our species. The media creates a culture of fear that further exacerbates a culture of disconnectedness that undermine us all in every way. We lose trust and hope and so much more.

We need to reverse this cultural trend. We need reassurance that will never be forthcoming from the media. We need evidence that our fellow citizens are not apathetic automatons, ignorant idiots, or greedy jerks, but rather are caring people like ourselves.

I loved this “random act of kindness” in the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy. I was proud of the undergrad who created it (no self-respecting grad student would ever use a heart-shaped exclamation point) for refusing to accept those destructive cultural messages; perhaps not all of those privileged kids are sheep after all. I wondered how long it had been there, how many other people had seen it and smiled, and whether they found it as comforting as I did.

Some sweet undergrad deserves a cookie.

Some sweet undergrad deserves a cookie.

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