The Conscience of Silicon Valley

“Tech oracle Jaron Lanier warned us all about the evils of social media. Too few of us listened. Now, in the most chaotic of moments, his fears—and his bighearted solutions—are more urgent than ever.”

Author: Zach Baron
Source: GQ
Published: Aug 24, 2020
Length: 20 minutes (5,100 words)

Jailed Ferguson Protester Joshua Williams Wants to Be Out There With Everyone

“We spoke this week by phone about the protests against police brutality that are sweeping the country. Williams’s plight has again bubbled to the surface on social media—as it has during other moments of public police abuse against black communities—offering a vivid reminder of the price that protesters can be forced to pay for their activism. Williams, who recently lost his mother to cancer— ‘talked to her everyday. She cussed me out before she went away, so she’s alright,’ he told me, laughing sadly—explained that he is optimistic about his parole hearing, and heartened to see the size and scale of the protests across the globe, he said. ‘At this time, everybody should band together,’ Williams told me, speaking from Missouri Eastern Correctional Center. ‘It’s like a power. If everybody is down and out, then we all stand up together, and help each other out through hard times.'”

Author: Zach Baron
Source: GQ
Published: Jun 5, 2020
Length: 7 minutes (1,785 words)

Jason Isbell’s Redemption Songs

“A decade after bottoming out and cleaning up, Jason Isbell has become the last of his kind: a guitar-playing, compulsively honest, relentlessly consistent songwriter. Oh, and he slays on Twitter too. Zach Baron goes to Isbell’s family home near Franklin, Tennessee, and finds there’s no question the four-time Grammy winner won’t answer.”

Author: Zach Baron
Source: GQ
Published: Apr 23, 2020
Length: 21 minutes (5,351 words)

The Unsolved Mystery of the Malibu Creek Murder

In the wake of a sleeping father’s murder in his tent, information emerged suggesting that someone is randomly shooting people and dumping bodies in this rugged, gorgeous region between the beach and the Valley. Theories abound. Only one thing is clear: Authorities did not use the information they had to protect the public.

Author: Zach Baron
Source: GQ
Published: Jun 20, 2019
Length: 41 minutes (10,345 words)

The Fresno Bee and the War on Local News

At a time when local newsrooms are shrinking or closing entirely — and Trump is calling the news media “the enemy of the people” — Zach Baron visits the reporters and editors of The Fresno Bee in California’s Central Valley, where Republican Rep. Devin Nunes declared war on the paper.

Author: Zach Baron
Source: GQ
Published: Dec 19, 2018
Length: 26 minutes (6,611 words)

What Ever Happened to Brendan Fraser?

A profile of actor Brendan Fraser — who was popular in the ’90s for movies like School Ties, and has been making something of a comeback since he was cast in The Affair in 2016. Fraser reveals that in 2003 he was touched inappropriately by Philip Berk, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The incident left him feeling violated and insecure. Adding insult to injury, his reporting it seems to have possibly gotten him blacklisted for years.

Author: Zach Baron
Source: GQ
Published: Feb 22, 2018
Length: 20 minutes (5,137 words)

A Beastie Boy’s Life at 48

Adam Horovitz (aka Ad-Rock) reflects on his life and priorities after the death of bandmate Adam Yauch and the illness of his wife, Bikini Kill and Le Tigre frontwoman Kathleen Hanna.

Author: Zach Baron
Source: GQ
Published: Mar 30, 2015
Length: 15 minutes (3,765 words)

Kanye West: A Brand-New Ye

“I just want to do crazy, colorful shit like that that has more nudity.” An interview with Kanye West.

Author: Zach Baron
Source: GQ
Published: Jul 21, 2014
Length: 22 minutes (5,680 words)

Pieces of a Man

On Gil Scott-Heron’s memoir, The Last Holiday, and a family connection to the poet and musician:

“Later, in 2005, when Scott-Heron was sent to prison upstate for violating parole, Fred mailed him a leather-bound book — a journal, I guess — with a picture of Scott-Heron from their high school days secreted in the spine. In the photo, Fred told me, Scott-Heron ‘looked like an angel. At this point, because he was doing crack, he resembled my grandfather. His hair was all white and wizened and his teeth were bad. I stuffed the picture in the binding of the book so they wouldn’t find it. And when he got out I saw him and he said, “Man, you really nailed my ass.” I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Well, it was late one night, and I couldn’t sleep, and I had this book and I started flipping through it. And all of a sudden this picture fell right on my chest. And it really hit me, all the places I’ve been, you know?” ‘ “

Author: Zach Baron
Source: The Daily
Published: Jan 15, 2012
Length: 7 minutes (1,823 words)

Fear and Self-Loathing in Las Vegas

You will have been wondering about the drugs. Did we do them? Did I find myself on Fremont Street, cowering under an awning as a digital projection of Jim Morrison mounted the roof of the pedestrian mall’s 90-foot-tall barrel-vault canopy? Did I walk with many gaits, dragging first one leg and then the other, zig-zagging past blackjack tables and wolfish packs of Midwesterners? Was Caesars Palace where Fleur found her spirit animal, a puffer fish? Did she pet at it through the swank aquarium glass? Did it all end with me on my knees on the plush carpet that cradles the Bellagio Las Vegas, tears streaming down my face as I genuflected to the casino’s super-sized Liberty Bell, surmounted by a mighty eagle that clutched lightning bolts in its talons, the sign under which I grew up in faraway Philadelphia?

Of course not.

Author: Zach Baron
Source: The Daily
Published: Oct 4, 2011
Length: 56 minutes (14,234 words)