Culture

Selected clips

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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 

  • How not to do social media (or, why Stephen A. Smith is not a role model)
    A brief history of U.S. media:  1950s: Calm, maybe a bit boring. Newspapers and TV news don’t have much competition, and they usually don’t want to rock the boat.  1980: CNN launches. They strive to be taken seriously as a news-gathering organization to this day — a 2016 report shows they had a whopping 31 … Continue reading How not to do social media (or, why Stephen A. Smith is not a role model) →
  • For the latest medical poop, please don't check with anything Goop
    It’s heartbreaking to see Gwyneth Paltrow peddling crap. She’s such a wonderful presence on screen, equally adept at comedy and drama. She’s the daughter of Blythe Danner, always a welcome sight in any TV or film role. But she’s also the head of what we can reasonably describe as a cult. Yes, we’re talking Goop, … Continue reading For the latest medical poop, please don't check with anything Goop →
  • On M*A*S*H, Monty Python, Animal House and smart humor
    Juxtaposed in my daily newsletter from The Guardian yesterday: Monty Python’s Terry Jones has passed away. Now that the movie M*A*S*H is 50 years old, can we talk about what a misogynist piece of crap it was? M*A*S*H and Monty Python were both products of the turn of the decade into the 70s. Conventional wisdom … Continue reading On M*A*S*H, Monty Python, Animal House and smart humor →
  • No, what happened in Iran is not a Good Thing
    The number of Americans mourning the death of Qasem Soleimani might be in the dozens. I’m related to some Iranian-Americans, and they’ve never been apologists for the post-1979 regime. (Let’s not get into the 1953-1979 regime that we installed in yet another failed act of nation-building.) But the condescending crew on Twitter trying to explain … Continue reading No, what happened in Iran is not a Good Thing →
  • Remember libertarianism?
    Remember the 1980s, when the Tea Party was all the rage and obnoxious people were putting “Who is John Galt?” bumper stickers on their cars? What? It was last decade?! And now the libertarian-Republican alliance is dead. I never thought I’d shed a tear for libertarians, whom Bloom County cartoonist Berke Breathed memorably described as … Continue reading Remember libertarianism? →
  • Sure, CDs are toast, but DVDs?
    Came across an interesting (though old) Facebook meme today that listed all the things people supposedly don’t keep around today: I have all five, and I can make a case for all of them … DVDs: Look, Netflix doesn’t have everything. Maybe you can just rent from Redbox, but why throw something out if you’re … Continue reading Sure, CDs are toast, but DVDs? →
  • 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?

Full clips by topic: music, tv, reviews, academia, books