Generation Y

Column
January 18, 2017

The queen is dead

TV catchphrases aren’t meant to live forever. Even the most successful character slogans like “Dy-no-mite!” and “Don’t have a cow, man!”—which made the jump from in-series use to real-world use—gradually faded from the American lexicon except as fond memories of our pop-culture past.

Of all…

Column
January 11, 2017

Distant mourning

Celebrity death: Is it stupid to care? The age-old question struck me again at the end of 2016, as George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds all shuffled off this mortal coil in quick succession. All year long, our popular culture had inhabited a heightened…

Column
January 4, 2017

The end of sarcasm

Hey guys, do you remember the 90s? I sure do: the Pogs, the Beanie Babies, the Reebok Pumps, that Sears commercial where the deadbeat suburban husband finally submits to his wife’s entreaties to order a new air conditioner for their home, vowing to “call now”—and,…

Column
December 28, 2016

Young Mr. Obama

On Dec. 16, Netflix released to streaming audiences the new film “Barry.” Purchased by the scarlet-hued home-entertainment colossus following its September premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, “Barry” marked 2016’s second indie drama about the early years of Barack Hussein Obama, who, by the…

Column
December 21, 2016

Talk about politics with your family over the holidays

Shortly before Thanksgiving, internet content farms began releasing articles about how to avoid contentious political discussions with relatives during the holiday season, as if, in the absence of clever techniques of distraction, the carving knife intended for the turkey might soon turn into a weapon….

Column
December 14, 2016

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” revisited

For some reason, all of the classic TV Christmas specials were produced in the mid-to-late 1960s, starting with “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964) and continuing through “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” (1966) to “Frosty the Snowman” (1969). As a kid, I watched all…

Column
December 7, 2016

Humans, too

When a school shooting or other domestic terrorism event has occurred, part of the nauseous standard operating procedure is to comb the attacker’s social media history for clues as to what caused him to perform the horrific deed: was he always violent, insane, antisocial, or…

Column
December 1, 2016

The United States of Cinema

In the weeks and months following an election, it’s impossible—at least for me—to look at a map of our country without mentally filling in the appropriate color for each state: red or blue. A plurality of Americans voted Democrat, but most of the land belonged,…

Column
November 22, 2016

I lied

Last week, after vaguely apologizing for having stated so many times that there was no chance Donald Trump would win the presidency, I pledged to take a break from politics. But—hey, sorry, man—I still can’t get the election out of my head. Lately I’ve been…

Column
October 12, 2016

Protesting too much

The closer this election gets—or at any rate the closer we pretend it is—the more articles I see lamenting the foolishness of Millennials who plan to vote for third-party candidates instead of Hillary Clinton. The New York Times has been publishing these articles almost daily,…