Posts Tagged: Columnists
18

The Trials of 'Entertainment Weekly': One Magazine's 24 Years of Corporate Torture

Jessica Alba on the cover of Entertainment Weekly in March of 2001, summer of 2006, and again this month.

When I was a young and odd child, one of the oddest things I did was collect Entertainment Weekly. Our family, like so many middle class families, had always had a subscription to Time, and one day Entertainment Weekly began arriving with it. In those early days, it was called entertainment weekly, and in many ways, it resembled many of the entertainment websites (The A.V. Club, Grantland, Vulture) that dominate the field today. There were long, industry-oriented cover stories, buttressed by surprisingly non-banal interviews with stars, producers, directors, [...]

2

The Song That Made The Pill OK

Loretta Lynn wrote and recorded “The Pill” in 1972. Her label didn’t release it until 1975, but three years wasn’t long enough to cool the controversy stoked by Lynn, one of the biggest names in country music, singing the praises of oral contraception to an audience of “unliberated, work-worn American females.” The Associated Press’s lede about the song in February of that year read, “To some, Loretta Lynn’s new song ‘The Pill’ might be too bitter to swallow. But to the country music star it has the sweet taste of success,” selling some 25,000 copies a day. The New York Times even gave it a [...]

42

Ask Polly: My Dad Died Unexpectedly And I Can't Get Over It

Hi Polly,

Last year my father, who was 56, died suddenly of a heart aneurysm. He took me out for my 24th birthday dinner, and then two days later he was dead. I feel like the past months have been a mess of every emotion possible. I'm a great big ball of pain, and it seems as though grief is the one thing no one will talk about with me. My dad was the parent who showed up for me, who supported me as a writer. We shared so many similarities: a tendency to overthink and undersleep, a need for long intellectual conversations, a deep and sometimes painful sensitivity, and [...]

2

Easter In New York City

48

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 [...]

7

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. [...]

0

A Poem by Sophia Dahlin

When Relinquish on a Star

Of June singing, of Monday singing, of losing you by the wayside singing I never noticed losing you Monday in June, tra la Of March singing, of relics singing of bringing it home the first time singing I invited you home to worry my mother, tra la Sweet treats in the crisper, lo mein on the counter for hours biscuits I punched out of dough for the house to devour Of Rebecca singing, of the concert singing of losing you at the concert singing Intermixing too rapidly for my sexual attention span tra la of quickness singing, of sinning singing, of a longlost girl Friday [...]

20

Ask Polly: I Thought My Mother-in-Law Was Going to Kill Me at My Wedding

Dear Polly,

How can I put away the fact that when I got married ~1.5 years ago, my now-estranged mother-in-law's unchecked borderline personality disorder detracted from the whole event?  

I'm not a wedding person. I never was. My partner, The Boy, and I got married for health insurance after I successfully defended my thesis in 2011. Sounds cold, but we'd been living together for several years at that point and were completely happy continuing our relationship that way. We were both fried from my grad school experience, during which everything up to but not including actual physical assault occurred. I had to play an absolutely horrifying game of being the bait, [...]

0

A Crazy Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Follow the slope downward, to the east, toward the meadow, to where the earth levels off and there are crocuses coming up through a damp layer of wood chips. This is where the tree is. Behind the tree, the ground rises into a sort of berm between the Botanic Garden and Flatbush Avenue that breaks the siren howl and traffic rumble. A wide asphalt pathway meanders in front of it. On a typical spring day visitors usually pause here to admire the tree, and read the placard with its name and chuckle, because it’s a caucasian wingnut.

The tree’s branches are thick and deeply ridged, twisting out from a [...]

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

A Poem by Andrew Zawacki

Dixie Pixie Sonnet

Solar panel, a Fresnel lens, 5 lb bag of M&Ms & we could 3-D print a clone of you

Pell mell all hell & ill will will break loose If you don’t wear your cheap synthetic, frilly fuchsia princess dress, Faux glass high heel sequin slippers clacking on the tile

In your lifetime, the Arctic will have been

You’re a frog no you’re a frog

To conjugate in a future imperfect : will have been ongoing, once

Daughter you’re borderline pixilated, perhaps from the Swedish dialect pyske— “fairy,” ca. 1630—or Cornwall Celtic for “pixie-led” : confused, bewildered, unbalanced, astray ; or an actress as stop-motion marionette, in [...]

1

How to Avoid Raising a Monster

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, writer and ThinkUp cofounder Anil Dash tells us more about how raising a kid affords one all sorts of opportunities for mischief.

There are waaay too many moments that tempt me to raise a horrible child. Anyway, my son now says "Sous vide me!" to indicate it's bathtime.

— Anil Dash (@anildash) April 19, 2014

Anil! So what happened here?

The most immediate prompt for the tweet was that my wife was talking about dyeing Easter eggs with my son—a project that they’d never done [...]

20

The Dead Cannot Consent

The End of the Tour is a movie currently in production based on David Lipsky's 2010 book, Although of Course you End Up Becoming Yourself: a Road Trip with David Foster Wallace. In 1996, shortly after Wallace’s sudden burst into literary superstardom with the publication of Infinite Jest, Rolling Stone had sent Lipsky to conduct an interview with with him. The magazine spiked the interview, and years later, after Wallace's suicide, Lipsky incorporated the material into his book—to my mind, the best about David Foster Wallace that anyone has yet written.

There is every reason to anticipate that the movie will be great: It stars Jason Segel [...]

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 [...]