Awl contributor and author of The Metropolis Case (Crown, 2010), Matthew Gallaway certainly pulls no punches in reassessing What Shall Be I Be When I Grow Up?…, a book he wrote in 1979, when he was 11 years old, and recently republished in its entirety, on the Internet. "Initially heralded as a 'model of gender equality and optimism,'" Gallaway writes today, "the book was later dismissed as 'derivative, unoriginal, and convoluted' and subsequently banned in most schools when an investigative reporter uncovered evidence of subliminal messaging through the use of product placement—a practice then in its infancy—and politically subversive content." Having read the book myself, I [...]
Kids, a film about a bunch of hard-living New York City kids, premiered 15 years ago today. The film still seems to define an era of New York City-the pre-Giuliani 90s; a golden era for hip hop, skateboarding and indie rock. New York City was the coolest city in the world, and by extension, its kids were the coolest in the world.
Director Larry Clark, 52 at the time, set out to capture on film the variety of depravity of youth on which he'd fixated throughout his long career in photography. He enlisted the help of 18-year-old writer Harmony Korine, as well as a bunch of East Village [...]
"Has there ever been a better moment for tween girls?" asked Ada Calhoun in the L.A. Times last week, pointing to the cultural ascendancy of Disney and Nickelodeon robots Hannah Montana, Taylor Swift, iCarly and Selena Gomez. Then fans of American Idol watched as an army of twexters voted for dreamy over Didi. ("America is a teenage girl," lamented TV blogger Richard Lawson.) So strong is the spirit of this young generation that even the women of my own just-older cohort have sought its approval, offering up recycled heirlooms from our own childhoods like so many olive branches. Just hitting bookstores is The Summer Before, [...]
From time to time, Juli Weiner will review pranks and their aftermaths. We begin, as all good things should, with an introduction.
My sophomore year of college, winter break was thirty-one days long. The first part of the break I went on a trip, but from the end of December to the end-of-the-middle of January, I had exactly zero plans, goals or tasks for my time in suburban Philadelphia. While I was on vacation, my friends Dan and Asa returned from their own schools. By the time I got back, they had both already received citations for public urination. They too were very bored. We realized though that [...]
"Children still enjoy playing traditional games like skipping and clapping in the playground despite the lure of mobile phones, computer games, and television, a study published on Tuesday found. Playground games are 'alive and well … they happily co-exist with media-based play, the two informing each other,' it said." —Children like to go outside! Expect New York mag to weigh in shortly.
When I was a kid, like eleven, I used to get those tubes of lip balm that smelled so strongly of lime or strawberry or pina colada and keep them in my desk in my room and basically huff them when I was supposed to be doing my homework. God, they smelled so good!
After Congress comes back from its Hot Spring Break or whatever, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 [PDF!] is out of committee and awaiting arguing and posturing and maybe voting. It'll expand food programs for low-income children pretty radically, from what we can tell. Which is great! On the other hand, some kids have too much food, or something, and they are storing it in their bodies, so the bill will, in its Food Death Panels section, take food away from them in the form of giving them food that is barely food. Also the bill would cause schools to maybe stop feeding children millions of pounds in [...]
On a Sunday last fall, I was working downstairs with the space heater on and the office doors closed when the phone rang. The caller ID read DAN KOIS, which meant that it was my wife, upstairs, calling our home phone from my cell phone. As is often the case on weekends, we were trading carefully-negotiated Work Periods. I was writing while she looked after the children; later, I would take the kids while she worked. Later still, we would maybe eat dinner together and then put the kids in the bath.
I answered the phone. In the background I could hear crying. Alia said, "You have to come [...]
It was a mistake to get on the Metro train with the kid riding on my shoulders. I should have taken him down and buckled him into the stroller out on the platform, even if it meant missing the train. But I had taken the wrong branch on the decision-making tree, and there I was, standing up in a packed train car at evening rush hour, with one hand on the kid's ankle to hold him in place, and another hand on the overhead handrail, which meant there was no hand remaining to put on the stroller handle as the train jerked into motion and the clumsily half-set foot [...]
"In a child's hands, YouTube is like a long hallway, with doors leading to ever stranger and more inexplicable places. You click on a Wiggles video, you find a link to a homemade video of an animated dinosaur lighting his own farts, which leads you to a link to a crude drawing of a volcanic ass, which leads you to news footage of Mount St. Helen's blowing up, which leads you to a clip of Helen Keller in 'The Miracle Worker' dubbed in Korean. It's like Six Degrees Of Fuckedupness."
Teenagers aren’t having much sex these days. And why should they? If it’s not the AIDS resurgence or public displays of adolescent pregnancy, it’s HPV, or syphilis (yes, syphilis) or any other number of other pestilences that rot your organs and turn your genitals to corrugated mush.
So does all this adolescent celibacy mean that today’s teens are less horny than their free-love Baby Boomer predecessors, or the angst-ridden millennials, or any other group of teens in history? Not a chance. If there’s one universal of the human condition, it’s hormones: Our biochemistry is primed to make us breed, and that means endless streams of panting, [...]
Sorry for stinking.
You were seven years old at the time, which was December 19th, 1991. I remember because I had just turned 21. The day before, as a matter of fact. You were in the first grade at a school for emotionally disturbed children in New Jersey, where I worked, as an assistant to your teacher, Suzanne.
"Just last week, my daughter-who is 8 and happens to be the only brown person in her Accelerated Progress Program class at Thurgood Marshall Elementary-was ordered out of the classroom because her teacher did not like the smell of her hair." -Oh Lord. A little Organic Root Stimulator's Olive Oil Moisturizing Hair Lotion has become a really huge mess.
Dave Bry explains one more reason not to have children: childbirth is the number one indicator of an adult onset of fear of flying.
"Fuck!" the kid said, from the back seat of the car. They pick these things up from everywhere, the two-and-a-half-year-old children do. The child is like a runaway threshing machine rattling across the landscape of language, ingesting and scattering everything in its path: grain, chaff, string beans, feed buckets, chopped-up bits of mailboxes. How much of what your child says is understandable? the developmental survey form asks. You mean articulate? Or comprehensible? "The greens are taking care of the eights," he says. Or: "Welcome to Metro." Or: "I want a toaster in my ear."
The beeping came on as the backdrop to a predawn dream-beep-beep-beep-and then, mhmm, is that the alarm clock?-beep-beep-beep-but too faint, unless we'd dropped our alarm clock under the bed and then dropped a comforter over it-beep-beep-beep-so it was maybe the bus, outside, idling, somehow generating a high-frequency overtone to the rumbling-beep-beep-beep-beep-or was it hrmm just the pulse in my ears-tinnitus, the blood surge-beep-beep-beep-hmrff NO, it was definitely, somewhere, an ALARM CLOCK, but-