Here in Baltimore, as I write this editor’s note in mid-May, we’re enjoying a comfortable 68-degree morning. No one is really complaining about the cloudy skies or the 80 percent chance of rain. Soon enough—next week, according to the weather report—temperatures will begin their inevitable climb into the upper 80s, then 90s, then (help us) probably the low 100s. Add to that our infamous humidity, a hailstorm or two, and the occasional Inner Harbor fish kill, and ahhh . . . it’s summertime in Charm City.
This is roughly the scenario we had in mind when we started planning our Summer issue. Of course, many of our readers don’t live in Baltimore, but wherever they are, there’s a good chance the days are getting longer and hotter, activities are heading outdoors, and—even for Johns Hopkins people—the pace is slowing down at least a little bit.
So let’s lighten up, we thought. Give our readers a magazine to flip through while sitting on the porch after dinner, or to roll up and stuff in their beach bags. Books! we thought. We’ll gather together a selection of literary escapes. Travel! We’ll carry our readers to exotic destinations. Dancing! We’ll introduce them to little boys studying ballet at Peabody—what could be more charming?
This being Johns Hopkins, it turns out that “light” is a relative term, and so we present “Our Sort Of Summery Issue,” featuring “The Johns Hopkins Magazine Not-Exactly-What-You’d-Call-Breezy Summer Reading List,” whose title, I think, speaks for itself. There’s also “Oh, the Places They Go” in which freelancer Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson explains the research subjects that lure faculty to locales that, for the rest of us, sound like really great vacation spots. And we offer associate editor Dale Keiger’s story, “Mom! It’s Ballet!” about a Peabody program that trains local boys to be the next generation’s great ballet dancers.
And because we couldn’t go an entire issue without delving into at least one serious subject, in “Man in the Middle,” senior writer Michael Anft profiles Johns Hopkins professor William Egginton, who in a new book argues that religious fanatics and atheists are equally guilty of polarizing people, and that a moderate approach to religion is the best way to keep society moving forward. But don’t worry, Mike’s got a light touch.
Enjoy the issue, and enjoy your summer!