Generation Mad Men: Saying No to “Me”

Generation Mad Men: Saying No to “Me”

I worry about our obsession with vanity. Not Hollywood stardom or photo-shopped hips—although those too are troubling. I’m concerned about our pedestrian vanity. You, me, that woman we walk by on our way to the coffee shop. We care less about who we are than who we want the world to believe we are.

We are, in a very real way, the Mad Men Generation—we are all our personal ad executives and our product is “Me.” Our ability to transform the ordinary, a mural on a nice day, a coffee on a dreary one, into the extraordinary would be uncanny if it wasn’t, apparently, innate. We are all prodigies. Our medium is social, and our means is the lens. Read More

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Xenu H. Christ, the Wisdom of Crash Davis, and Other Thoughts on Existence

Xenu H. Christ, the Wisdom of Crash Davis, and Other Thoughts on Existence

I made a bad decision the other night. Like most of my bad decisions, I was very tired when I made it—and probably a little drunk.

I was tired from a long week at work; worn down by a routine that, for the next 40 years, will stand between me, a brief retirement, and my inevitable death (Strap in, everybody!); and I was utterly bewildered by a conversation I’d had earlier in the day regarding cults—specifically, Scientology—with a devoutly Catholic coworker.

On top of this, pile the latest Republican presidential debate that was waiting for me when I got home. So while I can’t be sure exactly what tipped the scales and led me to fix a drink that fateful Wednesday night, I blame Ted Cruz. Read More

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How I Came to Love Music In Spite of Myself

How I Came to Love Music In Spite of Myself

“Who is that?” Or, so said a friend on a winter afternoon between law school classes. That question came in response to a comment about Nirvana. Somehow, someway this friend, Steve, a man who was born in the 1980s and as a matter of course grew up in the 1990s, had never heard of the Seattle grunge band that has wound up on every one of those “list” television shows about music and the nineties.1

This is where I come in. I wanted to cure Steve’s ignorance. But to be honest, I wasn’t that into music myself. It’s not that I didn’t like music; I did. I fell hard in love with those nights when you’re with those people in that place with that music playing in the background. I liked those songs, but I didn’t pick them, they picked me. Generally, they amounted to a pretty narrow slice of alternative rock though. Read More


  1. As Merriam-Webster puts it, nirvana is “the state of perfect happiness and peace.” According to Gautama Buddha, who is probably a better source than Messrs. Merriam and Webster, “No word in the language of the Orient has been so misunderstood as the word Nirvana, and its English equivalent cannot be found in any one term, as Nirvana expresses a purely spiritual state that is rarely sensed by minds still in mortal life.” 

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Childhood Lost: What Coming-of-Age Movies Remind Us

Childhood Lost: What Coming-of-Age Movies Remind Us

“It’s all happening.” Well, maybe not, but that’s what a then-twenty-one-year-old Kate Hudson playing a fifteen-year-old wanderlust femme fatal in Almost Famous led us to believe.1 Almost Famous is one of a dozen or so coming-of-age movies that land comfortably on an as-of-yet unwritten list of my favorite movies of all time.2

According to Wikipedia, an authority in this area, the coming of age3 story “relates the growing up or ‘coming of age’ of a sensitive person who goes in search of answers to life’s questions with the expectation that these will result from gaining experience of the world.” I think that’s probably right, but I also think that’s a pretty boring summary. Read More


  1. Okay, so this is no “Frankly dear, I don’t give a damn” type of movie line, but it is my favorite line of all time. 

  2. I am not a film critic. I have never seen Psycho or Gone With The Wind and I didn’t like Casablanca. In short, I know nothing about film and you should stop reading this now because it will likely only mislead and misinform you. Stop. Now. 

  3. It would be grammatically correct to continue using hyphens here. I’m not going to do that, because there were ten hyphens in the last paragraph and that’s just too many hyphens. 

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The Perks of Being an Adapted Screenplay

The Perks of Being an Adapted Screenplay

“The movie was better than the book” is not an argument that I often make. In fact, before today, I’ve only argued such a position once before and in the case of the Shawshank Redemption.1 Of course, I acknowledge that film and literature are two different mediums, each of which has something unique to offer its audience. But as a child raised to devour books in a Pac-Man-like manner, I’m often inclined to agree with the opposite sentiment. However, the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower2 was better than the book.3

As a general matter, I don’t feel as if I’m betraying Chbosky’s4 original vision by favoring the film’s version of events over the book’s. In fact, he both wrote the screenplay for, and directed, the movie. From my perspective, this means that in his mind, although the stories may not be equivalent, they at least take place in an internally consistent universe, albeit one that has been slightly tweaked for the silver screen, and in my opinion, for the better. Read More


  1. In Stephen King’s defense, Shawshank was actually more of a novella. Furthermore, I’ve also heard the same argument about Forrest Gump, but as I have yet to read the book, that’s all I have to say about that. 

  2. Hereinafter, Perks

  3. Full disclosure: I watched both Shawshank and Perks before I read the corresponding novel. I bring this coincidence to your attention merely to dispel a counterargument that goes something like this: “You like all movies better when you see them before reading the book.” Not so. There’s a panoply of books that I still preferred even when reading them after seeing the movie. Namely: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, A Scanner Darkly, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Silence of the Lambs (although who can argue with Anthony Hopkins’ performance), among others. 

  4. The book’s author. 

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