Posts Tagged: Columnists
2

Easter In New York City

42

Ask Polly: How Do I Make My Boyfriend Listen?

Dear Polly,

I want to know how I can make my boyfriend a better listener.

It has happened several times that when I want to talk about something serious (the future, exes, fears, hopes, etc.) my boyfriend often gets distracted. It's not like he means to hurt me—I think it's just his nature, and possibly mild ADD—but it does hurt me.

I'm 24 and he will be 30 next year. We both see each other as potential life partners. But how can I be with someone who gets distracted by a squirrel when I'm telling him about my father's funeral?

That's the other thing: I have some [...]

6

The Life Cycle Of A Pop Song

Conception Phase The song is born in a basement, a warehouse, or among buskers on the street or subway station. The song may not be entirely finished yet.

Underground Phase The song is played to a small crowd of 3 – 20 friends, mostly drunk, incoherent, and incapable of judging its quality.

Ambivalent Phase You hear it in concert and no one cares. It’s not worth bragging to your friends, even if you secretly like the song.

Connected Phase You hear the song and it’s so refined that it’s good. Your first thoughts are, “Is this real? Am I hearing this?” This is the great “aha” effect [...]

6

Everyone's Secret History

A few months ago, at the stroke of midnight, I found myself—quivering, and naked but for sturdy running shoes—in the hallway of my college library. I was surrounded by two of my best friends and twenty or so acquaintances; we held bags of candy and bags of our clothes, waiting for the signal. Our leader raised her hand.

"T-B-I!" she cried out. "Y…T…B!" we answered in unison1. And then, loudly, we were off, down six flights of stairs to confront the inevitable spectators.

College campuses, as places, as settings, are these arrested works of beauty, where faces, festivals, and feelings change, but, fundamentally, the state of things remains the same. [...]

6

The Generation That Weaponized Feelings: What Was An "Emo"?

Emo 4.0 champions Future Islands.

Recently I’ve found myself over-emoting in unclever ways. To keep a handle on things I have decided to call myself emo, although I never used that term as a self-descriptor when it was actually appropriate in the early 2000s. I didn’t even learn what an emo was until the summer of 2005, at debate camp, when a boy with one of those pretentious monosyllabic names like “Chad” or “Brad” or something came into the lunchroom wearing a Death Cab For Cutie t-shirt and blew my mind. I’d heard of DCFC before but had subconsciously conflated them with Hootie and the Blowfish, which [...]

55

Ask Polly: I'm 33 And Single. What Am I Doing Wrong?

Hi Polly.

I’m not really sure why I’m writing you. Actually I am. I need to feel ok with being single at 33 while still maintaining hope that I can find a solid, real, lasting relationship. Every time I read one of your columns on this subject, I feel empowered. I apologize for being unoriginal but this stuff is hard and I am at a loss!

I embrace being single. I appreciate being on my own and dictating my own schedule, I do a ton of yoga and look great (might sound conceited but it's true), I own my own successful business, I own my condo, I save money, [...]

4

The Tragic Life of Ugly Birds

Outside my third-floor window, in a narrow, leafy lane of Bandra West, a suburb of Mumbai, a crow had got itself stuck in some leftover Christmas decorations that were hanging off a tree. One of its feet was caught in string and the crow was dangling in mid-air. As it became more aware of its situation, it became more frantic, wrapping the string around its foot more securely. I’m not an animal activist and crows are not likable but I could not watch it die a slow, painful, and terrified death.

It was too high up and too far away from my building for me to be able to [...]

1

The Journalist and the Junta

I met Aye Aye Win a little while ago aboard the Karaweik, a two-story barge on Kandawgyi Lake in the middle of Yangon, Myanmar. The barge, like the lake, is artificial: It’s actually a building made out of concrete and stucco, sunk into shallow waters. Inside was a buffet restaurant with a stage, and on it, extravagantly costumed dancers. I hadn’t been sitting at the banquet table for long when a woman with a kind face and elegant cheekbones asked, softly, if the seat next to me was occupied.

Then she told me some of her life story, beginning with her father’s name.

My father’s name [...]

2

Voicemails From The Terrifying Future

In 2022, fires will destroy over 2,025 acres of Texas. In 2048, the Glacier Land Resort will open for people looking to see what life was like before the glaciers melted. In 2049, the Smithsonian—no longer open to the public—will feature a preserved hummingbird in their archives, the last proof of their species ever existing.

These are all possible futures as created by the users of FutureCoast, an interactive alternate reality game that began in February and concludes its run in May. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, the overarching story of the game is simple: Mysterious objects known as “chronofacts" have begun appearing throughout [...]

2

43 Crucial Facebook Button Additions

Nothing will replace the “like” button on our Facebook pages. But does it say enough? Even with the fine suggestion from Facebook engineers of a “sympathize” button, we’re still handcuffed to a simple abstraction—“like”—when what we really mean is so much more specific.

• This post has my name on it.

• Historically I’ve “liked” stuff like this.

• Don’t dislike.

• Great photo of you! (Shitty photo of me!)

• Ha ha ha!—I think I understand.

• A lot of my friends have “liked” this.

• Inside joke?

• Missing word?

• LOL’d… didn’t quiiite ROTFL.

• Think you’re attractive.

[...]
1

The Lifespan Of A Band

How are you to know the shape and dimension of your dreams, much less the dreams of those you share a stage with? In the beginning—and we’ll begin with Tom, because this story is his story as much as it is the story of the band; he’s the one telling it—in the beginning he was just playing with people, because that’s what Tom did. He played the guitar and David played the bass and Danny played the drums.

They were all music students in Boston, then, just mixing and seeing what might match. They played together a few times before Danny said to Tom, “Hey, I have a band [...]

0

The Capacity Of Baseball Stadiums In Real Numbers

Left: Dodger Stadium. Right: Michael Jordan's house.

Dodger Stadium 56000 Los Angeles Dodgers Square footage of Michael Jordan's house

Coors Field 50480 Colorado Rockies Prison inmates in the state of Ohio

Yankee Stadium 50291 New York Yankees Population of Welland, Ontario, according to this sign

15

Which Is The Whitest TV Network Of Them All? (CBS)

ABC CBS Fox NBC Fox with Animation CBS without Five-0

It's part of the reason CBS paid $10.8 billion for 14 years worth of broadcast rights to the NCAA tournament.

Yes, having the rights to a really popular sporting events allows networks to sell ad time at a premium during said event, but it also gives them the opportunity to pimp their own programming. "Hey, now that we have several million people watching Tennessee play Michigan, why not tell them about that new comedy we're airing?" It doesn't take a particular genius to figure that out, but all of the networks do it and they've all [...]

4

The Missing Episode of VH1’s "Tanning Of America": Ladies Make Noise!

All my women in the house love hip hop, and yet it does often seem that hip hop has trouble loving them back. Gangsta rap and corner boy narratives aside, even the most thoughtful, most nakedly vulnerable emcees will identify a woman—if not all women, in general—as the vessel of their frustrations and fatalism. Kanye West will punctuate his "black excellence" thesis and anti-capitalist invective with poignant misogyny. In 2014, Yeezus is state-of-the-art.

But enough about the boys.

Watching VH1's four-part Tanning of America documentary—a broadcast reconfiguration of rap executive Steve Stoute's book of the same name, published in 2011—you'd never guess that women listen to [...]

2

Where Am I? And What Time Is It?

In the modern world we’re never more than a glance away from a digital display of today’s date or the time to the nearest second. The use of GPS devices in cars or even in our own pockets with smartphones has all but eroded the art of map-reading and navigation. This is all exceedingly convenient, of course, but I think that many of us in developed nations are feeling increasingly disconnected from the fundamental principles and processes that support our lives, sensing that our basic skills are atrophying and perhaps feeling anxious of being a little too reliant on the magic of modern technology.

[...]

18

The Girl With The YOLO Tattoo

It was Christmas Day, my last day in Thailand, and I was looking for something to make my trip extra special. I roamed the streets of Chiang Mai, listening to Drake’s “The Motto” on my iPod, and I thought about how great those last few weeks had been, and how great the last few months had been in general. After four years on and off in New York City, I had made the decision to move to South Korea to teach English. Making the decision had been rough, and I had a hard time coming to terms with leaving the city. Brunches on Saturdays, partying in the evenings, smoking [...]

17

Ask Polly: Will Our Class Differences Tear Us Apart?

Hi Polly.

I've been with my current boyfriend for three years. We're really great together—similar interests, senses of humor, great sex. I love him so much—the only issue is that of our respective backgrounds. He grew up in a tony suburb, went to prep school, then to a very prestigious college, and finally the very prestigious graduate school where we met. I went to public school in a bad neighborhood, put myself through a not-so-prestigious college, made a name for myself in my field, then got into that same prestigious grad school. Our families could not be more different. I didn't think it would matter so much, but something happened [...]

0

Fake Hawaii: Your American Jungle

Remember when Alec Baldwin quit public life? While others were dissecting the tone and psyche behind his alleged farewell, I got hung up in the piece’s intro, where he talked about phoning a gay-rights group in Hawaii and learning about their torment at growing up in "traditional Hawaiian families"—"Macho fathers. Religious mothers." Others wouldn't have stumbled there, but I was born and raised in Hawaii, and this is the kind of stuff that I notice.

Not to single out Alec, because nearly everyone makes this mistake, but a Hawaiian is a native Hawaiian, a descendant of the Polynesian people who first inhabited the Pacific island chain; generalizing all [...]

1

A Conversation With Matt Taibbi and Molly Crabapple

On one side of The Divide—the gap in the justice system between the rich and the poor that provides the title for Matt Taibbi’s brilliant and enraging new book—financiers and other wealthy people commit egregious crimes, including laundering drug money, and rarely face jail time. Prosecutors worry about "collateral consequences" before filing charges.

The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, by Matt Taibbi with illustrations by Molly Crabapple, will be published on Tuesday. You can order it now now now, wherever capitalism allows you to obtain books:

Spiegel & Grau / Random House

McNally Jackson

Amazon [...]

2

The Toilet Man

The toilet man was obsessed with numbers. Like the number of days he had left to live. Ten-thousand five-hundred was about how many days he said he had left, if he lived to be eighty. Thirteen years ago, the Toilet Man said, he turned forty and asked himself, how long is one lifetime? Then he checked the national statistic: eighty. So, forty more years; fourteen thousand, six-hundred days more days, give or take. "And then you die," said the Toilet Man. He lingered over the last world, stretched it. "Dyyyyyyyeee," it sounded like.

Back then, before he was the Toilet Man, he was Jack Sim, a rich Singaporean, running 16 [...]