I imagine the editorial meeting (or assignment email) went something like this: “All right, baby boomers! Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana, and Colorado’s putting it on sale Jan. 1. So, who’s going to suck it up and write the anti-pot column?” David Brooks and Ruth Marcus evidently drew the short straws at the New York Times and Washington Post (respectively), each 50-something writer filing an anti-legalization screed made highly awkward by the fact that both have done their share of toking in this lifetime. Since their hypocritical, poorly supported, and logically suspect rants basically refute themselves, we figured our time would be better spent condensing each article into a string of contradictory statements for maximum absurdity and amusement. You decide what kind of deadly poison you want to welcome into your body while laughing at what some might call Brooks’ and Marcus’ stoner logic. … Read More
Observation: Now that we’re all focused on the aggressive stupidity of say, the average Upworthy headline or the listicle about Syria presented entirely in Jurassic Park GIFs, the magazine cover is no longer such a great vehicle for shock delivery. That did not, however, keep some outlets from doing their level best to shock America out of (what they perceive to be) its bovine complacency. Here are 2013′s most memorable examples. … Read More
I’ve always thought that the reason books sell so well at Christmas is because we all need the means of escape from our families so desperately. But sometimes on vacation, a book is less useful than a good, long, deep magazine article. Here are 20 of the ones I most enjoyed in 2013, in no particular… Read More
They keep telling us that print is dead, yet all these great magazines keep popping up. Maybe publications on paper aren’t actually passing on, maybe they’re just getting even better. The publishers and editors behind these magazines are taking more time to perfect what they’re putting out, narrowing their focus in order to put something out that is readable, interesting, and good looking. Forget what you heard about big magazines cutting back their number of issues or changing the color of their paper: this was a great year for print, and here are ten reasons why. … Read More
Yesterday, Tom Scocca lit up the ersatz (and real!) cultural-critic Internet with an essay called “On Smarm.” Hooked into the still-bubbling controversy over the appointment of Isaac Fitzgerald as Buzzfeed Books editor — a controversy that, for the record, I’ve already said I don’t think is of itself that big a deal — the piece is really a longer and deeper reflection about the role of snark in the world more generally. I mean, the essay has targets that run the gamut from Dave Eggers to Ari Fleischer to New Yorker film critic David Denby. And it makes many points, but the essential one is this:
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Snark is often conflated with cynicism, which is a troublesome misreading. Snark may speak in cynical terms about a cynical world, but it is not cynicism itself. It is a theory of cynicism.
The practice of cynicism is smarm.
Legendary activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and former South African president Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday at the age of 95. As is expected whenever such a titanic figure leaves us, the obituaries, essays, and op-eds started flooding in almost immediately. Ranging from personal reflections to straightforward accounts of Mandela’s countless achievements, the best writing on Madiba and what he meant to the millions he affected is thought-provoking and profoundly moving. Here are the finest tributes to one of the 20th century’s most remarkable leaders, looking back on his lifetime and forward to his legacy. … Read More
2013′s been a solid year for some lucky teens and 20-somethings: Lorde, One Direction, and Miley Cyrus topped the international pop charts; Jennifer Lawrence charmed the pants off of anyone with eyeballs; Lena Dunham scored a multimillion-dollar book deal. The rest of us, however, weren’t so lucky. The past 12 months saw more ill-founded, hysterical, condescending, and generally awful writing than ever about what so-called “millennials” are up to and why it’s ruining the country. Here are the lowlights of this year’s… Read More
You may have seen The Hairpin’s hilarious hypothetical treatment of a BBC news report on Syria as if edited by a women’s magazine editor (if not, it’s definitely worth reading). The tiresome over-editing at some such magazines has long been a source of frustration for writers — and certainly it goes on at men’s magazines, too. So, in the spirit of reciprocity, here’s the same report, as if edited by a magazine devoted to the holy trinity of bro-dom: tits, testosterone, and technical terminology. … Read More
The last thing any Old Media organization wants to do these days is alienate Gen Y. Love us, hate us, or write condescending think-pieces about us, we’re going to have discretionary incomes someday, hard-earned dollars we’re increasingly less likely to drop five or six of on a magazine. Presumably, this means any big-name title that’s already known for having a readership several decades north of 30 should be hustling as hard as it can to convince those of us who came of age after the Soviet Union collapsed that its staff is Hip With the Kids. Which is why I was actually surprised (though I probably shouldn’t have been) to come across Rolling Stone‘s list of “50 Things Millennials Have Never Heard Of,” better titled “50 Things Millennials Are More Than Capable of Finding Out About Through the Internet, or Maybe Even Books.” … Read More
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the record-smashing Broadway musical Hello, Dolly! To celebrate the anniversary, the original production’s star Carol Channing (who went on to reprise her role in two Broadway revivals) is set to appear in a one-night engagement at New York City’s Town Hall on January 20. The event is hosted by Justin Vivian Bond, who interviewed Channing about her long career this summer at the Ice Palace on Fire Island. This is great news, but it’s unfortunate that many might have heard about it from The New York Times, which described “transgender artist” Bond as “Mr. Bond” rather than vs preferred title, “Mx.” … Read More