Pop Culture

It’s a Bad Religion

Didn’t we all go to high school with someone like Anne Hathaway? You know the girl (invariably it’s a girl): the compulsive overachiever, the neurotic striver, the quivering underfed valedictorian, bug-eyed from sleep-deprivation and the pressure-cooking…

I Can Do Poverty Better Than You

If this past year was good for movies, it was even better for poverty porn. Not since Precious and Slumdog Millionaire have we been able to say, “Poverty: so hot right now.” From the cinema to…

Pop Music for Music Listeners, 2012

First, sorry for not getting this out as fast as some other music writers. I tried, but I learned that if you want to make a list that doesn’t ape the choices of others while lauding…

The Corseting of Anna Karenina

Not long into the new film adaptation of Anna Karenina, I decided I wanted nothing more to do with it. I was wishing to instead be home in bed, to have my laptop sitting on the…

The Two Lincolns

“Lincoln, as we say, is no Napoleon. He wants no splendor about him; that is scarcely his way. He defends not his own power, except as needed to defend the power entrusted to him. Unostentatiously and…

The Fat Cat and the Freeloader

From fading Obama posters to games of Battleship, this presidential campaign has been a master class in the varieties of condescension. Like much of the Republican party, Romney and Ryan have mastered the coded cadences of…

American Male: A Weekend With The Expendables

It’s early Friday afternoon in rainy Midtown and the Expendables are trying to get a table. Everyone save this reporter makes a go at the restaurant’s beautiful but stern hostess, dropping names and single entendres and recounting the…

People Are Talking About Girls

The HBO show Girls recently completed its first season. For the duration of its inaugural run it received both much acclaim and much criticism. People, in other words, are talking about Girls. The following are excerpts…

I Miss You, TAL TV

A few weeks ago in New Orleans I was having drinks with a couple Trop writers, talking about our common love for This American Life. I’ll speak for them when I say that we wish TAL…

33 Years in the Key of Jangle

A buddy of mine recently asked me to introduce him to some new old music. He’s a sideman for one of the other artists on tour, and, like me, he’s a bit of an outsider—in his…

Life’s Too Short: Recognizably Gervaisian

If you’ve seen Seinfeld since Curb Your Enthusiasm shambled into the pantheon of great American comedy series, you may have found yourself thinking: Wait a second… George Costanza is just a short Larry David who lives…

The Roots Keep Growing

Concept albums are notoriously tough to pull off, but with the Roots’ eleventh album Undun, the legendary crew has triumphed, using a boatload of artists and instruments to craft a focused, sonically surprising, socially-relevant tragedy more…