Arts & Entertainment

Grit City Think & Drink: The pursuit of happiness

Every second Tuesday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m., The Swiss hosts Grit City Think & Drink, an event that brings local scholars and experts from various disciplines to come face-to-face with the general public in a moderated and lively dis­cussion. Grit City Think & Drink is open to the public and to all ages.

In the latest Grit City Think & Drink on May 8, UW Tacoma writing studies professor Annie Nguyen discussed a persistent theme that arises in many of her writing courses: the pursuit of happiness and how it is shaped in America. Community members, faculty and students joined to­gether to learn more about a common question: What is the key to happiness?

Nguyen studied Eastern and West­ern philosophies related to societal norms and happiness at the Commu­nity College of Baltimore County for eight years. She has also worked as an assistant professor in the English de­partment at CCBC before she joined UWT’s writing faculty in 2016.

According to Nguyen, Norwegians might have the answer to the key to happiness — Norway placed first on the latest report on the happiest coun­tries in the world.

Members of the audience were in­vited to guess where they believed the United States ranked in this report. Many predicted at least the top 10. Unfortunately for the U.S., it did not make the top 10 — in fact, it didn’t even make the top 15. We have fallen four spots since 2016, and are now ranked No. 18. Meanwhile, our northern neighbor Canada has placed No. 3.

Despite the U.S.’s healthy gains per capita in income and years of life expec­tancy, we are still not as happy as the Norwegians or other Nordic countries.

“Norway says [the reason they’re happy] is because they are able to ex­press themselves freely through art,” Nguyen said. “Iceland [who’s the run­ner up] also has the highest number of published authors in the world.”

At the end of Nguyen’s presenta­tion, a raffle was held by The Swiss Pub. Each member of the crowd received a raffle ticket that was entered to win a Swiss T-shirt and $25 gift certificate to The Swiss.

In the next Grit City Think & Drink event, Dr. Andrea Modarres, an assistant professor of literature at UWT, will be discussing the rebooted Ms. Marvel — whose alter ego is the teenaged Pakistani-American Muslim, Kamala Khan — June 12 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Swiss. Modarres will discuss how the new Ms. Marvel hu­manizes Islam in a 21st century con­text and illustrates the influence of representation in popular culture.