Generation Y

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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…

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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….

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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…