Originally published in Unplugged Magazine

Photo: Hannah Berman

Two-tone is the musical child of Jamaican ska and British punk traditions. In other words, it’s a genre designed to get listeners on their feet and grooving. This goofy, high-energy dance music appealed to listeners during its prime, but due to its perceived lack of seriousness, it soon passed out of fashion and is rarely remembered today. Yet this short-lived ’80s trend has a lot more to offer contemporary audiences than it might appear at first glance.

Two-tone was born in 1979 by The Specials, a group consisting of five white guys and two Black guys in small-town Coventry, England…

This classic might be more problematic than you recall!

Image: Hannah Berman

I was about to head out the door to donate some old books I hadn’t read in many, many years when my mother stopped me. “Where are you taking Pippi Longstocking?”

“Oh, do you want to keep it? I was just going to give it away.”

“Maybe we should trash it instead.”

I gazed at my mother — a writer, and professor of literature — in pure shock. Never, in my entire life, had I heard her suggest throwing a book in the trash. “What? Why?”

She then told a story I had never heard before: she explained that one…

My first time editing submissions for a travel website has been a wild ride!

Image: Hannah Berman

Recently, a friend of mine created a website, and brought me onto the team to act as the editor of submissions. The website is designed to compile cool spots in college students’ hometowns; its tagline is “Explore every city like your best friend grew up there.” I was very excited to be brought on board, as this is my first time ever working as a full editor.

Because the startup is so small, I am the only overseer of all of our content—and that means that I hold a lot more power than I expected. In the first days of…

Written for hmtwn.co, where you can (virtually) tour every city like your best friend grew up there.

Image: Hannah Berman

My best friend from college, Zoe Reifel, came to stay with me last summer while my family was away. She lived in my basement, and I tried to show her as good a time in the city as possible — we went to markets and concerts, saw friends, rode the subway, and ate so, so much good food. Months later, Zoe conceived the concept for her new website, Hometown. I’m biased, of course, but I think it’s a really great way to “travel” right now, when true travel isn’t an option—and all with an authentic guide by your side!


Julian is faced with a tough choice when he finds his daughter’s money envelope.

Image: Hannah Berman

Sofi’s manilla money envelope bulged in Julian’s hands. On its front, Sofi had written, in light purple crayon, “DO NOT OPEN EVEN WHEN DESPARATE;” on the back, she had written “$300.” That would be more than enough.

Julian had never before taken the money envelope down from Sofi’s top shelf, where she usually left it facing outwards, right between her LEGO set and the stuffed Snoopy that she had slept with every night until she was seven. It was heavier than he had imagined it would be.

Realistically, Sofi wouldn’t even notice that it was gone before Julian paid her…

L’opinione di una studentessa d’italiano

Una statua a Roma. Foto di Hannah Berman.

Mi interessa il modo in cui il concetto di cancel culture, che mi pare molto immerso nelle valori culturali americane di progresso e libertà, viene visto e discusso in testi italiani. Il tema è entrato nell’articolo di Severgnini che abbiamo letto insieme, “Nessuno tolga Montanelli dai suoi giardini.” Severgnini ha scritto quest’articolo in supporto di Montanelli, un giornalista fascista che ha sposato una ragazza etiope di 12 o 14 anni durante gli anni di guerra coloniale in Etiopia, quando aveva 24 anni. Montanelli ha sostenuto la sua decisione di sposare questa ragazza in un articolo pubblicato nel 2000, in cui…

What I learned when I went undercover in a Facebook group for lonely farmers.

Image: Hannah Berman

A friend of mine discovered Country Living Singles just over two years ago. At that point, it was a small, private Facebook group, with around fifty members. The “About” section read, “We are a group of single folks, who enjoy laughing, and sharing memes, etc. to do so. There are many solid friendships in this group and it is a no drama zone.”

“Hey cutie, you tryna get choked?”

Image: Hannah Berman

You can say many bad things about lockdown, but one there’s one thing you cannot say: that it’s ruining your dating life. Guess what? You have absolutely no excuse to let the coronavirus put a damper on your city-wide search for a new boo! Thanks to dating apps (like Tinder) and social factors (like isolation from our peers), it’s never been easier to find love. Quarantine romance is 100% a thing, y’all, so you can say goodbye to getting ghosted.

I recently decided to download Tinder myself so that I could get to work on locking down a boyfriend for…

Image: Hannah Berman

No matter how much arsenic Ann slipped into her food, her mother simply would not die.

This was partly due to Ann’s original hesitancy. On that first night, she sprinkled the poisonous dust sparingly into Mrs. Natic’s tea, careful to wash the spoon and teacup thoroughly afterwards, grinning with the genuine hope that she might rid herself of her matronly problem. Of course, that hope dissipated the next morning, when Mrs. Natic’s reedy voice issued from behind the guest room door, demanding coffee with a pinch of sugar, no more than a teaspoon, which she was only insisting on because…

How the infographic’s recent rise in Instagram popularity has changed the art form, and what we should be doing about it.

Source: ourfutureofchange on Instagram

The grief many are experiencing in the wake of George Floyd’s murder has been translated into a new social media trend: the Instagram infographic. In May 2020, Instagram users throughout the United States started posting a new type of image. Selfies with facemasks transitioned abruptly to calls to action and rallying cries for justice, spelled out in fancy fonts and laid over artistic backgrounds. Posts advertising titles like “How to Be Anti-Racist” and “Why ‘All Lives Matter’ Isn’t Enough” which promised answers at a simple swipe suddenly took over our Instagram story feeds. …

Hannah Berman

Studying English, Italian and Education from Brooklyn NY. Read more at hannah-berman.com!

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