Category: Culture

Justin Timberlake Unleashes the Technopoly

Pop culture hero Justin Timberlake released his new album “Man in the Woods” last Friday, and quickly followed it up with Sunday’s rather underwhelming Super Bowl halftime show. While Timberlake tries—and sadly often fails—throughout the one-hour-and-six-minute album to show his Tennessee roots and prove that he is a true “Southern man, a man of the […]

‘Dare To Be Different’: How Gen X Perfected Alternative Radio

There is no hard-and-fast rule defining Generation X, though at a baseline, it encompasses those born generally between 1965 and 1979, with its musical identity emerging in the early 1980s and most associated with the MTV phenomenon. But as satellite radio like Sirius XM has underscored in its popular “Next Wave” channel, this was also […]

An Armenian Rhapsody

Browsing in the video store (to hell with Netflix!), sedulously avoiding superheroes, sex comedies, and Amy Schumer, I picked up the recent release Ithaca, hoping it might be a satire on that Upstate New York college town. ’Twas even better: a faithful remake, directed (ably) by Meg Ryan, of The Human Comedy, William Saroyan’s tale […]

Looking for an Exit Off the Information Superhighway

Have you ever typed something obviously absurd into your search engine just to see what comes up? Try it some time: punch in literally anything and you will find someone somewhere who believes it. I tried it myself. I typed in “tobacco cures lung cancer.” Sure enough, Google found me a quack in Indonesia who treats […]

Bob Dylan’s Soulful Christian Phase

I had realized I was an atheist by the age of 21, before my great aunt died. She was a kind and sensitive woman, but I barely knew her. I accompanied my mother to the funeral service at a Serbian Orthodox church. The entire ceremony took place in Serbian and culminated in the priest chanting […]

#MeToo in an Age of Heterophobia

From Hollywood stars in black frocks protesting sexual harassment to high profile campaigns against the gender pay gap, from women’s marches against Donald Trump to YouTube videos of street catcalling, feminism has rarely had a higher profile. Today, everyone is expected to declare their feminist credentials and those who don’t, such as “Big Bang Theory” […]

The Art of the Opioid Crisis

Each era seems to have the drugs that it deserves. In the 1960s, there was LSD. Inspiring euphoric fantasies or vivid paranoia, it could not have been an apter drug for years of utopian social progressivism and long, debilitating foreign war. In the 1980s, there was cocaine, and then there was ecstasy: drugs that fueled […]

A Winter in Pennsyltucky

This winter, I went back to the woods. The backwoods. My homeland is Central Pennsylvania, and I returned there to celebrate Christmas with the family and to help out with the coal furnace during the bleakest time of year (more on that later). Hunter S. Thompson spent a stint of his youth in my native […]

The Darker Implications of Trump’s Vulgarity

Words matter more than actions, which is why Aristotle defined virtue as “habitual action.” Yet modern politics has reversed the Athenian conventional wisdom regarding “sticks and stones” and “cheap talk.” One of the traits of effective American leaders, argues the presidential historian Richard Reeves, is the realization that it is impossible to govern a nation […]

In Defense of Slow, ‘From-Scratch’ Cooking

Why has cooking become so hard? Some would say it’s not: throwing together paninis or spaghetti for a weeknight dinner isn’t all that complicated. But our world increasingly sees cooking as a nigh-impossible feat of time and skill. We’re surrounded by takeout eateries, “fast casual” restaurants, and grocery stores packed with frozen meals. Blue Apron […]