The On Being Project

Marty Kaplan
Marty Kaplan

is the Norman Lear professor of entertainment, media and society at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, and a columnist for the Jewish Journal. A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard in molecular biology, a Marshall Scholar in English at Cambridge University, and a Stanford PhD in modern thought and literature, he was Vice President Walter Mondale’s chief speechwriter and deputy presidential campaign manager. He has been a Disney Studios vice president of motion picture production, a film and television writer and producer, a radio host, print columnist and blogger.

Man Plans, God Does Standup

Mortality is real for all of us, regardless of whether we believe in fate. Marty Kaplan contemplates the hubris of making plans in a universe of improv.

Read More >
Man Plans, God Does Standup

Sometimes I Forget To Be Afraid of Things

In the aftermath of Brexit, a man remembers that we have a limitless capacity for amazement even when we should be more fearful. When those times come, remember rain.

Read More >
Sometimes I Forget To Be Afraid of Things

Spiritual, But Not Religious, But Not Woo-Woo

The importance of religion to Americans is trending downward. Meanwhile, more people are saying they experience a deep sense of wonder and awe about the universe. A secular Jew on the importance of the Passover, ritual of Seder, and the paradise of kinship.

Read More >
Spiritual, But Not Religious, But Not Woo-Woo

Wrestling with the Questions, and Why It Matters So Much

Experiencing the ineffable is a winding path, a journey with as many pivots and tacks as straight lines. And sometimes you find your course in a dentist’s chair, contemplating why the this matters and realizing you just need to show up.

Read More >
Wrestling with the Questions, and Why It Matters So Much