Culture

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History

Growing up, I found music more interesting than sports.

I devoured every issue of Rolling Stone and Musician in between sessions at the piano or on my guitar. My classic rock sensibilities followed me through my classical music studies as a music (and philosophy) major at Duke, where I interviewed guitar legend Richard Thompson (page 18) and a host of jazz luminaries (page 3 — and yes, Clint Eastwood was there). I wrote about my percussionist days, and I still harbor dreams of being a bass player in a semi-progressive rock band.

So I have plenty of music posts at my personal blog, Mostly Modern Media. You’ll also find some fun reads on television and comedy. My friends at the entertainment site Popdose also let me write.

I’ve also had some brutally honest reflections on my occupation, journalism, starting in 2000 with my grad-school projectThe Changing Face of News in the Information Age. I warned of journalists sacrificing accuracy and context to be “first” with the news, and I worried that readers would personalize their information to the point of ignoring everything that doesn’t fit their world view. I hate being right.

And I’m not just a sports-and-rock guy pontificating about journalism. I spent much of my career on news desks. At Duke, I covered the sentencing of the “bogus baron” and wrote opinion pieces on letter grades and academicese. At Ozy, a couple of decades later, I wrote about Millennials spurning small towns in a piece that was picked up at NPR.

But the biggest non-sports piece I’ve ever written was a Guardian piece on the revival of Flat Earth theory. Written in 2016, not 1716.

Projects and indexes

Recent music

Latest at Mostly Modern Media 

  • Being "triggered" is an act of courage, not cowardice
    Dear Donald Trump Jr. (and Boris Johnson … for that matter, and Vladimir Putin), On behalf of “liberals,” “progressives” and former Republicans, I would like to say the following … You’re damn right we’re “triggered.” We’re triggered because we’ve seen a rise in violent racist hate crimes and other signs of emboldened racism, including a … Continue reading Being "triggered" is an act of courage, not cowardice →
  • $10 trillion of corporate debt propping up the economy? What could go wrong?
    Let me get this straight … We’re in an era in which corporations are given every conceivable break to do whatever the hell they want and barely pay for it. And they’re still borrowing so much that they’re getting BBB ratings? So when the next recession hits, the government and corporations will have already gone … Continue reading $10 trillion of corporate debt propping up the economy? What could go wrong? →
  • The state of paid media and Medium
    Gotta love coincidental timing. Just after my post on the state of paid media, in which I listed oodles of things for which people are willing to pay and lamented that they’re apparently not willing to pay for newspapers and magazines (even in new media form), I was sent this link … https://praxis.fortelabs.co/why-im-leaving-medium/amp/ The upshot … Continue reading The state of paid media and Medium →
  • Are journalists using the Russian propaganda narrative to deflect blame from their own failings?
    Maybe not intentionally, but yeah, kind of … https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-elections-interference/ While we’re on media narratives — could someone maybe ask about climate change at the next debate? Maybe?
  • The state of paid media, 2019
    Here are the things that can be supported by advertising … Traditional TV networks, which continue to produce high-budget shows even as ratings are a small fraction of what they were. Cable/other TV channels, which produce high-budget shows even as ratings were never that great in the first place. PlutoTV, which must be watched by … Continue reading The state of paid media, 2019 →
  • Would you recognize satire or fake news if it bit you in the backside?
    There’s a great moment in Aziz Ansari’s Netflix special in which he asks people about a story in which the pepperoni on a pizza may have looked like swastika. What did you think of the story? Was it a swastika? A few people answer with applause for the options he throws out. Did you read … Continue reading Would you recognize satire or fake news if it bit you in the backside? →
  • Rebuilding Springfield
    I’ve been playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out for a while. It throws a lot of buildings and characters at its players, and I’ve grown tired of trying to cram them in. I went through and “stored” many of the buildings in town. I left in place a couple of areas that I liked: The park … Continue reading Rebuilding Springfield →
  • Help me decide which books to read
    I read many, many words every day. In addition to things I read for work, I subscribe to newsletters from The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Conversation and several more. But at some point, I need to tackle this stack of books. I have 12 books on my “not yet read” … Continue reading Help me decide which books to read →
  • Things I used to be good at: Timpani
    I have no idea why my percussion teacher had such faith in a relative beginner at Duke, but I wound up playing Elliott Carter’s March at my senior recital after only two years of instruction. I did not, however, play it as fast as this guy, who’s impressive but omits the fun switches from the … Continue reading Things I used to be good at: Timpani →
  • Need insulin? Visit the land of curling … and one heroic medical researcher
    Things I did not know: An Ontario scientist named Frederick Banting sold the patent rights to insulin, the life-saving drug for diabetics, for $1. “Insulin does not belong to me, it belongs to the world,” said the Nobel Prize winner. A century later, Canada is once again bailing out diabetics — this time because of … Continue reading Need insulin? Visit the land of curling … and one heroic medical researcher →

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