The first time someone called me a twink, it was 2003 and I was standing at the urinal in the basement of a laser-and-smoke-filled club in Toronto. I was 19, rail-thin and still in my excitable stage of post-coming out euphoria, which, in my case, meant wearing cut-off jeans and raising my hands above my head when I danced. That night, I had gone to the club with two new friends of mine, one of whom, an aspiring actor, kept telling me about this amazing drug, "poppers," he had just tried. Like most of our Friday evenings, we spent the night flailing our gangly limbs on the dance floor to [...]
I moved to New York in the death throes of a bad relationship. He was my college boyfriend and we started dating when I was twenty. He was charismatic and outspoken, he seemed smart and he was really, really tall. In addition to all that, he could dress himself competently so I pretty much thought he was perfect. As I matured a little, I realized the things you like in college (or on “asshole vacation,” as I like to call it) shouldn’t be the things you like as an independent, free-thinking adult with a real-life job and real-life responsibilities. Or, at least, they shouldn’t be if you plan on doing [...]
I didn't know what I would get paid to write this article. I didn't ask. It doesn't matter. It won't make a tangible dent in paying the rent on my apartment in Brooklyn, or, for that matter, rent on an apartment in any other city. By the time I finish the research, the interviews, the writing, and the editing, whatever small sum—$30, $125, $200—this site pays me will pale in comparison to the effort. It's not "worth it" in a traditional monetary sense. I'm doing it for exposure (maybe hire me?), because I'm interested in the topic, and because it's immediately relevant to my so-called career as a [...]
Stephen Rodrick, a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, of late best known for the single best story on Lindsay Lohan ever, has a new book out today called The Magical Stranger: A Son’s Journey Into His Father’s Life. His father, Commander Peter Rodrick, died in 1979 when his Prowler crashed into the ocean. The book traces the aftermath of his father’s death for his young family, and its ripple effects in Rodrick’s adult life—but is also a book documenting military life today. It's also really good, particularly in the way it calibrates the telling of such an openly emotional story. It’s not easy [...]
Canudos, the holy city. From the hills it had looked like a mirage. Fifty-two hundred mud huts and a handful of white-washed churches spread along a bend in the Vasa-Barris, where a few years before there had been only a ruined farmhouse and an old well. The walls of the houses were the same shade as the parched earth on which they stood, so you could barely see the town until you were already in it. For the last ten months of the city's life, it been bombarded by a full division of the Brazilian Army. Thousands of its defenders—the half-cowboy, half-bandit jagunços—were dead. They had been shelled by artillery [...]
As you may have heard, sex doesn't burn nearly as many calories as you might have been led to believe. But this is far from the only finding in obesity research that wilts under intense scrutiny, as the rest of this paper in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed. Each piece of received wisdom about weight-loss and dieting the study took on (eat fruits and vegetables! eat breakfast! etc.)—was found wanting. Conclusions: "False and scientifically unsupported beliefs about obesity are pervasive in both scientific literature and the popular press." What we think of as hard science can, it turns out, be pretty soft.
One example as [...]
If you haven't heard of Sigurður Hjartarson by name, you've probably heard of his penis… museum. Hjartarson and his son Hjörtur Sigurðsson own and manage The Icelandic Phallological Museum in Reykjavik, which has the world's largest collection of penises and related artifacts (283 and counting!). This winter I finally got the chance to visit, along with my good friend Mara. My first surprise was how sleek and modern it looked from the outside: large frosted windows with "The Icelandic Phallological Museum" printed in neat type in various languages, almost in the style of commemorative glass plaques. From a distance, one might mistake the building for an art gallery or office [...]
All I had to do in Albuquerque was rent a car and drive away from the place. I had asked the people at the rental car place for the smallest, cheapest car possible, and the attendant described my choices to me, stressing that one of them was bigger but got better gas mileage, and so I said, sure, that one is fine, why not. When he handed me the bill to sign, I discovered that the car he had led me to choose was in fact $150 more than the other one. "That," I said, pushing the list of charges back to him over the counter, "was so fucking lame." [...]
About ten minutes into The Room, a film that is considered the worst ever made, the actress Juliette Danielle has to make love to her fiancé, who is played by the film's writer and director, Tommy Wiseau. They are atop a bed of rose petals. Soft R&B plays. The camera lingers over Johnny’s pale bottom. Cascades of mermaid-length black hair spill over his back cleavage. As he thrusts into what seems to be Lisa’s belly button, she looks at him chidingly, as if he’s a soused comic who’s just told a fairly racist joke at an open mic.
Like most soft-core sex scenes, the love scene in The Room is [...]
We were talking about the imminence of global tyranny. Kathy Brafford, a middle-aged woman from Olivia, N.C., fought back tears. All afternoon she'd been holding a spray-painted placard that read "Bilderberg Evil Cult EXPOSED." I asked her to elaborate. "Devil worship, for one. Certainly pedophilia," she said, gesturing toward the Westfields Marriott Hotel. "Must be at least a couple pedophiles in there. Read the Book of Revelation and see what God does to ‘em." Her voice quivered. "There's a special place in Hell for these people."
Kathy was first made aware of the Bilderberg Group by multi-platform media personality Alex Jones, whose three-hour radio broadcast she listened to each weekday. [...]
I congratulate you, my dear Cornelia, on having acquired the valuable art of writing. How delightful to be enabled by it to converse with an absent friend, as if present! —Thomas Jefferson
She hesitated, and then, impulsively, "I wonder if it would be too much to ask you for your autograph?"
Ralph then attached the Telautograph to his Telephot while the girl did the same. When both instruments were connected he signed his name and he saw his signature appear simultaneously on the machine in Switzerland. —Hugo Gernsback, Ralph 124C 41+ (1911)
On February 27th, Toni Morrison took part in an [...]
Not long ago, MTV made an unusual appeal: It asked for help finding information about one of its own shows. The show was "Buzzkill," a hidden-camera program that ran in 1996. The plea came from MTV's Guy Code blog:If you try to find old clips online, they're nonexistent. Seems impossible, right? The web is where you can find the most obscure remnants of every era, the most disturbing videos the human mind can conjure. And yet it has seemingly been scrubbed clean of all "Buzzkill" details…. Internet, we need your help. We must uncover the truth of "Buzzkill." Send us your tips and clues. Better yet, if you [...]
In 1816, a young doctor named John Polidori was offered the position as traveling physician to George Gordon, Lord Byron. Polidori was saturnine, caustic, ambitious, well-educated and handsome. He had graduated from medical school at 19 (as unusual then as now) and this offer came not a year later. Over the objections of his family, he accepted. Polidori had literary ambitions; here was an amazingly famous poet asking him to join him on a tour of the Continent. It must have felt like fate was tugging him along. In confirmation of how well things were going, a publisher offered him 500 pounds to keep a diary of his travels with [...]
While interviewing author George Saunders last week on the release of the audiobook of his new story collection, Tenth of December, my Skype connection cut out maybe four times. Such a miserable and embarrassing development on so many levels—maybe the worst being that Saunders is one of the best talkers I've ever met, and in the middle of this incredible riff his voice would just float and burble off, culminating in that awful, plopping Skype disconnection sound. Indescribable, like getting a long letter from Oscar Wilde and someone sets fire to it as you're reading, or you've just been poured a delectable glass of Château d'Yquem and suddenly there [...]
William Shawn began work at The New Yorker in 1933, was appointed managing editor in 1939 and, quite shortly after the death of founding editor Harold Ross, became the magazine's editor in 1951.
In 1985, 34 years later, Shawn was still the editor, but Peter Fleischmann, the son of founding partner Raoul Fleischmann, owned only 25% of shares in The New Yorker. Paine Webber owned the next largest share, and the Newhouse family's Advance Publications already owned around 17% of the publication. Advance wanted, and got, the rest, for a price something like 20 times current revenues, according to the Times.
The employees, however, were not happy [...]
There aren’t a lot of people who specialize in spotting flaws in the ethical logic for veganism. That’s quite possibly because no one cares about obscure intellectual discourses over animal rights. I certainly didn’t while I was a vegan. After I saw the light and stopped eating animal products my first year at The University of Texas, I read bits of Tom Regan’s The Case for Animal Rights, Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation and Carol Adams’ The Sexual Politics of Meat, but I could never get into them. I rejected animal farming because it was violent, gruesome, cruel and needless. I didn’t need academic theorizing to keep me convinced.
But after [...]
A note in Barbara Pym's diary instructs: "Read some of Jane Austen's last chapters and find out how she manages all the loose ends." Next entry, a fairly typical one: "The Riviera Cafe, St. Austell is decorated in shades of chocolate brown. Very tasteless, as are the cakes." This was written in 1952. She was 38, had published two novels, Some Tame Gazelle and the resplendent Excellent Women, and was at work on the next. It had taken 15 years of dutiful revising and circulating it around for Some Tame Gazelle to find a publisher. During the rewrites she had tried to heed her agent's advice to "be more wicked, [...]
Recently I went to Carnegie Hall for, I believe, the second time in my life, to see Gabriel Kahane and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra perform Gabriel's "Guide to the 48 States." I went to college with Gabriel, where our closest contact was probably when I was an assistant stage manager on a musical he co-wrote. Since then he's established himself as a songwriter, singer and composer, one of the polymath hopes of classical music. The New York Times Magazine called him “a one-man cultural Cuisinart.” He's composed concert music for himself, string quartets, and orchestras; he wrote the music and lyrics for a musical at the Public Theater; he first attracted [...]
"Beauty is a responsibility like anything else, beautiful women have special lives like prime ministers but I don't want that."
The writer and painter Leonora Carrington was 33 and a very beautiful woman when she wrote that line in The Hearing Trumpet, a book that is, among many other topics—alchemy, the Holy Grail, the perversities of nuns, the difficulties of getting goats and wolves to live together—also about being very, very old. This was in 1950; her best friend was a Spanish painter named Remedios Varo.
In the book, Carrington appears under the alias Marian Leatherby, who is 92 and has a beard. She has no [...]
The British documentary 56 Up, the latest installment of the renowned 50-year-long Up Series, had its stateside theatrical premiere earlier this year. The Up Series has followed the lives of the same 14 Britons since 1964, revisiting them every seven years. This "remarkable" and "ever-evolving masterpiece" has a fervid and growing international following, and the past several installments that PBS aired after U.S. theatrical runs garnered viewerships in the millions. Every new Up installment is not just a window into the subjects' worlds, but a powerful, ruminative event, forcing us to reflect on the passage of time in our own lives in a way that no single film [...]