Beauty or Brains? A Simple Equation

“So, like the wicked stepsisters (smart) in the Grimms’ story of Cinderella (beautiful and good), I lopped toes and heels off characters to make them fit where I wanted. I jammed them into place and ignored the blood.”

Published: May 29, 2019
Length: 8 minutes (2,112 words)

Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction

Twenty-five years after Sven Birkerts published The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age, which of his concerns now plague our digital world?

Published: Feb 8, 2019
Length: 8 minutes (2,180 words)

On Randy Travis’s Distinctive Whine

As one Tennessee native’s parents taught him, nobody respects a whiner, so how did his favorite country singer get away with it?

Published: Jan 8, 2019
Length: 8 minutes (2,096 words)

On Being a Woman in America While Trying to Avoid Being Assaulted

“Sometimes, I’ll read a novel written by a man in which a woman walks home alone, late at night, in America, without having a single thought about her physical safety, and it’s so implausible that I’ll put the book down.”

Author: R.O. Kwon
Published: Jan 7, 2019
Length: 4 minutes (1,205 words)

Feminize Your Canon: Olivia Manning

The first in a new series at the Paris Review, featuring “underrated and underread” female authors. This one profiles British Novelist Olivia Manning (1908-1980), known best for her novel School for Love and for her Balkan and Levant trilogies. Manning’s books featured less likable women characters, who might have been better appreciated if they were introduced now. A contemporary of Iris Murdoch and Kingsley Amis, she was jealous of their greater fame.

Published: Jun 13, 2018
Length: 11 minutes (2,901 words)

Becoming Spring Brucesteen: My Quest to Meet the Boss

It took Toniann Fernandez a decade after first leaving her New Jersey home to understand the appeal of Bruce Springsteen, the state’s officially sanctioned saint, and she tracks her various exploits this past year in what eventually becomes a futile attempt to meet the Boss.

Published: Apr 25, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,122 words)

The Strange History of the “King-Pine”

Everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about pineapples.

Published: Apr 25, 2018
Length: 6 minutes (1,706 words)

A Reckoning with Reality (TV)

Teen mothers, meth users, child abusers ─ reality TV is cast with people struggling with extreme challenges, so how complicit are viewers for fueling their trouble by treating it as entertainment? Lucas Mann investigates the genre and the love he and his wife share for reality TV.

Author: Lucas Mann
Published: Apr 2, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,131 words)

The Jumpsuit That Will Replace All Clothes Forever

Heather Radke writes about JUMPSUIT, a political art project by The Rational Dress Society’s Abigail Glaum-Lathbury and Maura Brewer. Glaum-Lathbury and Brewer aim to call attention to the ills of late capitalism — and to “make America rational again” — by manufacturing non-gendered, nearly shapeless jumpsuits, and encouraging people to wear them to the exclusion of all other fashion choices. Radke spends three weeks in one, and finds a surprising freedom in this particular fashion — or, anti-fashion — dictum.

Published: Mar 21, 2018
Length: 14 minutes (3,543 words)

How Much for That Pepe? Scenes from the First Rare Digital Art Auction

Art in the age of mechanical reproduction was supposed to be devoid of the aura of the artist. How could something be original if everything could be copied? Crypto boosters suggest the blockchain can restore some of this lost luster, and they’re ready to use it to create an entirely new art market

Published: Jan 23, 2018
Length: 10 minutes (2,600 words)