The Definitive Guide to Picking Women Up at a Bookstore

Why hello there. It looks like you’ve Googled “How to Pick Up Women at a Bookstore.” Before we begin, a brief moment of self-inquiry:

Are you lonely? How lonely? Lonely enough to mine the web for articles written by content farmers posing as pickup artists?

Do you view women as objects? Sex as conquest? Negging as a worthwhile form of human interaction? Has it occurred to you that maybe this is why you feel so alone all of the time?

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Follow these tips and we guarantee you’ll be able to walk into your nearest bookstore and pick up as many females as your heart desires. Best of all, you can continue to treat women as objects (and vice versa) while avoiding that pesky business of confronting your male chauvinism.

According to a website called Manipudating, which is exactly what it sounds like, your first task is to find a women who looks vulnerable, which is easy enough in a bookstore, where “women aren’t so quick to put their defenses up.” This is maybe good advice if you’re, say, organizing a jewel heist, but it’s really very gross as far as romance goes. No, the key to a great match — and this may be difficult to hear, Googler of pickup techniques — is to find someone who challenges your worldview, a person who forces you to consider yourself and others in a way that you’d previously not. (I know, ick)

So here’s what you do: First, walk up to the bookstore clerk and say, “Hello, can you direct me to Toni Morrison.” You’ll want to stay on script — if you find yourself insulting the clerk’s bangs in the hope of lowering her self-worth so she might sleep with you, you’ve screwed up. Equally important is the follow up line: After you’ve been directed to the correct section, it’s critical that you say something along the lines of, “Thanks.”

Continue reading “The Definitive Guide to Picking Women Up at a Bookstore”

Our Lives on the Internet As Prophesied by David Foster Wallace

Last weekend I went out and bought Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself, the transcription of five days worth of conversation between Rolling Stone critic David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace. The conversations, recorded in 1996 on the book tour for Infinite Jest, inspired that new DFW biopic, which has in turn inspired content creators™ everywhere to dust off their half-read copies of Infinite Jest and pen a few nice words about the late author. 

One of the few not horrible thinkpieces on the subject, “Rewriting David Foster Wallace,” comes from Vulture, and includes this observation:

There will always be readers who look to novels and novelists for instruction on how to lead their lives. Wallace, foremost among his contemporaries, seems especially to attract these readers (whatever the other pleasures to be had from his books). He courted them with bromides about brains beating like hearts, literature as a salve for loneliness, and novels comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.

As a card-carrying member of the DFW fan club, this rings true, though not in a particularly comforting way. I’d like to believe I’m capable of thinking for myself, of recognizing that a lifelong depressive and one-time Reagan-supporter may not have all the answers to life’s big–or even medium–questions.

And yet, as I traced the pair’s winding conversations on Updike and futurism and Alanis Morissette, I found myself underlining Wallace’s most insightful prescriptions, wondering how he’d advise me personally. I imagined materializing in the backseat of the rented Grand Am–Hello Davids, I come from the future, where things are even stranger than you’d imagine.

Of all the wisdom dispensed throughout the road trip, it is Wallace’s perspective on our relationship to technology that I found most compelling. His prescience is uncanny, calculating the impact of Twitter’s micro-blogging platform at a time when none of those words meant anything, explaining our collective Facebook obsession when Zuck was not yet a teenager. Most striking, he’s able to talk about what it means to be dependent on passive entertainment with a bracing sincerity that we, the people of 2015, cannot muster.

It’s been a few years since The Atlantic ran a cover story asking “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” We’ve indifferently accepted Google – achem, Alphabet – as our omnipotent overlords and grown weary of articles claiming this butt or that cat will save and/or break the Internet. We are proficient in the art of hyperlinking. The Internet is our home now, and we’ve lived here long enough that the charms and horrors of relocation have finally worn off – that creepy noise from the basement is best ignored, the leaks are regular, predictable.

Continue reading “Our Lives on the Internet As Prophesied by David Foster Wallace”

The Celebs Who Attended the #BronxIsBurning Party Need a History Lesson

Last Thursday, A-list celebrities flocked to a poverty-themed party in the South Bronx, where, at the behest of two Manhattan real estate developers, they were urged to spread the #BronxisBurning hashtag while posing beside icons of urban blight—ya know, like poor people did before we solved income inequality.

Fit with swanky bullet-ridden cars and trash can fires, the rave offered a chic take on traditionally frumpy issues like abject poverty, cultural erasure, and bureaucratic neglect. Guests included Kendall Jenner, Adrien Brody, Naomi Campbell, Gigi Hadid, and Baz Luhrmann, who all came out for the cause of luxury real estate development and neighborhood rebranding.

via Twitter

via Twitter user @ProjectBronx

Via Twitter

Via Twitter user @Reesito

Seriously though, who could’ve thought this was a good idea?

Continue reading “The Celebs Who Attended the #BronxIsBurning Party Need a History Lesson”

What Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel García Márquez Can Teach Us About the Future of Journalism

The last few weeks have seen yet another flare up in the ever-raging debate on journalistic objectivity, this time in the form of two seemingly unrelated arguments taking place on both sides of the political spectrum. From the right, we’ve heard familiar accusations of liberal media bias, amplified in recent days by a spate of progressive-leaning outlets looking to discredit Ben Carson’s half-truths and outright lies. On the left, we’ve got Joe Biden’s claim that Maureen Dowd’s memorable summer column — in which she provides a sourceless account of a terminal Beau Biden pleading with his father to run — was a “Hollywood-esque” dramatization. The ensuing controversy culminated with the Times Public Editor urging the paper to make a correction.

On some level, lashing out at a polarized and careless media landscape is merely part of campaign season, an easy target made even more vulnerable in our hyper-connected, traffic-conscious digital age. But underlying these internet shouting matches, we can see a media-weary public grappling with two competing traditions of journalism: the impartial assemblage of facts against the narrative interpretation of experience.

Much has been written in recent years on the issue of objectivity in the fourth estate—most notably, this lengthy conversation between Glenn Greenwald and Bill Keller, in which the two Mayweather-sized egos engage in some high-minded slap-fighting. Greenwald believes that reporters, incapable of ever abandoning their inherent bias, should not hide their opinions under the pretense objectivity. Keller thinks that the quest for impartiality remains integral to any serious journalism.

Continue reading “What Ernest Hemingway and Gabriel García Márquez Can Teach Us About the Future of Journalism”

Why Did it Take the New York Times 40 Years to Discover Pizza?

On September 20th, 1944, while thousands of American troops were stationed in Italy, The New York Times first introduced pizza to the United States. The whole article — available here — is a mouth-watering delight, but this paragraph does a particularly great job of capturing the frantic energy long native to pizzerias:

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 2.42.30 PM

The debut is notable for so many reasons — the cheese came before the sauce back then, and we’d yet to conceive of the word “topping” — but the most significant thing to consider here is just how long it took the paper of record to acknowledge pizza.

Pizza had been available in New York as early as 1895, when 14-year-old Gennaro Lombardi started serving up “tomato pies” from a grocery store on Mulberry Street. He’d open his own pizzeria ten years later, which would soon serve as a model for many similar lunch spots in New York’s Italian enclaves.

But while the Times was oblivious to the latent pie revolution of the early 1900s, other newspapers were taking notice. In December of 1906, the New York Tribune published an article on Italians and their love of hot food, which included this excerpt:

Continue reading “Why Did it Take the New York Times 40 Years to Discover Pizza?”

Yes, Superdelegates Are A Ludicrous Affront to Democracy. That Was the Whole Point.

One week after the Iowa Caucus, many of us believed that the worst of the delegate process was over, that the head-scratching arithmetic and archaic procedures were largely behind us, and that the nation’s first primary would at least resemble that representative democracy thing we’d signed up for. We could not have been more wrong.

On Tuesday, the Bernie Sanders campaign came away with a historic victory in New Hampshire, delivering the second-biggest route in the history of the state’s Democratic primary, and collecting 60% of the popular vote. In spite of this, Hillary Clinton will, in all likelihood, be leaving New Hampshire with more delegates than Bernie Sanders. As it stands, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 350 total delegates, this despite the fact that Sanders has won 34 of the 66 delegates allotted in the first two contests.

How did this happen?

Continue reading “Yes, Superdelegates Are A Ludicrous Affront to Democracy. That Was the Whole Point.”

Edgar Allan Poe Had a Time Machine and I Can Prove It

I’m pretty positive that Edgar Allan Poe had (has?) the power to travel through time. Hear me out on this one.

It’s not just the well-known circumstances of his life—orphaned at birth, father of the mystery novel, master of cryptology, maestro of the macabre. Nor am I referring to the head-scratching details of his death, how he was found in a gutter wearing someone else’s clothes, babbling incoherently about an unidentified man named “Reynolds.” And I won’t even get into the confounding reports of a nameless figure who, for seven decades, would show up to Poe’s gravesite on the early hours of his birthday, dressed in black with a glass of cognac and three roses.

Curious and tragic, yes, but hardly evidence that the acclaimed horror writer could transcend the limits of space and time. No, my time travel theory concerns the author’s creative output, which you’ll soon see, is so flukishly prophetic as to make my outlandish claim seem plausible—nay, probable!

The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is a loosely linked map of flesh-eating floaters, crunched skull-survivors, and primordial particles. OK, here we go…

Continue reading “Edgar Allan Poe Had a Time Machine and I Can Prove It”

Two Michigan universities break tuition caps, pass up state incentives

The battle between Michigan’s public universities and state lawmakers over funding has ramped up in recent weeks.

Both Eastern Michigan University and Oakland University have busted state-imposed tuition caps, deciding that the state’s “reward” for not raising tuition just wasn’t worth it.

The universities raised their tuition for the upcoming school year by 7.8% and8.48% respectively.

Read and listen to the full story at 

Cuban Chamber of Commerce opens in Troy

The Cuban Chamber of Commerce has chosen Troy, Michigan, as its third location and national headquarters.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dana McAllister says the choice was a natural fit because of affinities between Detroit and Havana, a significant presence of Cuban-Americans in Michigan, and support from the Oakland County government and city of Troy.

Read and listen to the full story at

Harvey Santana: Some things are more important than party lines

State Rep. Harvey Santana, D-Detroit, is a long-time proponent of bipartisan action in the House.

Once kicked out of the Democratic Caucus as punishment for locking horns with caucus leaders once too often and for occasionally crossing party lines and voting with Republicans, Santana is now serving his third and final term in the state House as vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Santana says he wasn’t always so willing to play nice.

Read and listen to the full story at