Teaching writers to record their life stories involves no small amount of hand-holding—and for good reason. Even after years of journaling or jotting down passing thoughts, the act of sharing your first-person stories with the world can feel like a kind of perversion, like sweating all over someone’s
The truth is out there. You can’t miss it, in fact—it’s everywhere. But even as we embrace the twenty-four-hour confession cycle of social media, the popularity, and subsequent disparagement, of the memoir reveals our (true) mixed feelings about true stories. We might be lured into tales of
These days, comic-book enthusiasts are often portrayed as somber scholars, and feminists get caricatured as obsessive eccentrics—so it’s natural to wonder when, exactly, the world went topsy-turvy. A mere glance at photos of suffragettes marching proudly in the streets in 1917 can incite a feeling
Proclaiming oneself “truly humbled” often signals that one could use much more humbling, preferably via a knuckle sandwich. Yet self-serving announcements of humility have become the posturing trend of the moment among celebrities. Leo DiCaprio is “deeply humbled” by his Oscar nomination.
Recently, my daughter asked me to rewind the car radio so we could hear a song again. I was forced to explain the rudimentary technology known as broadcast, which doesn’t obey your commands so much as spray out an ignorant blast of waves in every direction. Her confusion at this ludicrously antiquated
A young author recently confessed to me that she probably won’t have kids, since doing so would require giving up her career. I assured her that, thanks to a great local day care staffed by attentive teachers, I was able to write a book and keep my full-time job as a TV critic after I had two
Aspiring essayists tend to worship at the altar of Joan Didion. Her lyrical prose—with its rhythmic repetitions, its dramatic expressions of regret and longing caught in lockstep with the failings and farces of our culture—lures readers into a state of deeply romantic woe. "We tell ourselves
It’s no coincidence that growing alarm over America’s decreasing global influence corresponds with a growing hysteria over our child-rearing practices. Believing that “the children are our future,” as Whitney Houston so helpfully put it, is not all that different from believing in, say,
After giving the order for twenty-four Navy SEALs to descend upon a compound in Abbottabad in April of 2011, President Barack Obama attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, where he addressed many of the same people the White House would rely upon to propagate its version of the raid.