Generation Y

Column
March 22, 2017

“Shall never see a poem lovely as a tree”

Winter landscapes will never stop being kind of magical to me, no matter how joylessly and cynically grownup I become: the endless unstained carpet of a fresh snowfall, the sculptural perfection of an icicle, the fierce sting of the cold itself. The dreamlike beauty of…

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March 8, 2017

Principle and prejudice

Writers of internet content are in general unoriginal, pandering, and shamelessly given to formula, so when one particular article becomes a successful and widely shared piece of clickbait, you can bet that other articles in same vein will follow. Was that dress blue and black…

Column
March 1, 2017

IMDb vs. Oscar

My girlish interest in the Academy Awards is surely fairly obvious to frequent readers of this column, given the truly embarrassing number of times I’ve written here about the Oscars (including last week, in what was, upon reflection, possibly least coherent column in the history…

Column
February 22, 2017

Oscar for President

Three months have passed since Bernie Sanders infamously remarked that, in order to win future elections, the Democratic Party would have to “move beyond identity politics.” In a response to a young woman who had asked for his advice regarding her goal to become the…

Column
February 15, 2017

First tracks

I’ve written here before about the uneasy relationship between my passion for skiing and my longstanding tendency toward early-morning sluggishness. Simply put, skiing is not the sport for lazy people (I think that title may belong to bowling, no offense intended to bowlers)—it is not…

Column
February 8, 2017

You might just make it after all

Following the death of the actress Mary Tyler Moore last month  at the age of 80, many journalists and critics reexamined the second-wave feminist legacy of her eponymous sitcom, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which, in the 1970s, normalized the lifestyle of the single working…

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February 2, 2017

A (belated) inaugural poem for President Trump

Note: the Democrats’ last four presidential inaugurations have included readings by American poets. Poetry has never been featured at a Republican president’s inaugural ceremony.

This poem is tremendous. Believe me: poems don’t get any classier than this— The best words, the smartest rhyme scheme, Big-league…

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January 25, 2017

Is “Manchester by the Sea” the best movie about New England?

A couple weeks after the presidential election, I compiled and published here a top-50 movie list in which I selected my favorite film for each U.S. state, based on narrative setting rather than filming location: a sort of cinematic travel guide for our large, fractured…

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…

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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…