Conning Culture: Hype in the Social Media Age

Hype: How Scammers, Grifters, and Con Artists Are Taking Over the Internet―and Why We're Following The story of the Fyre Festival, which saw Instagram influencers tricked into promoting a music festival on a private Bahamian island with luxury accommodations, gourmet dining and a picturesque setting, only to turn out to be a few rain-soaked tents... Continue Reading →

The Damaging, Disturbing Effects of America’s Ubiquitous “Raunch Culture”

Review: The Pornification of America, by Bernadette Barton Welcome to raunch culture in the 2020s — when the United States has devolved into a Hustler fantasy. Naked and half naked pictures of girls and women litter every screen, billboard, and bus. Pole dancing studios keep women fit while men airdrop their dick pics to female passengers on... Continue Reading →

What Pianos Mean to Siberia, And More

Book review: The Lost Pianos of Siberia, by Sophy Roberts (Amazon) There is no dramatic curtain-raiser to the edge of Siberia, no meaningful brink to a specific place, just thick weather hanging over an abstract idea. It is a modern economic miracle, with natural oil and gas reserves driving powerful shifts in the geopolitics of... Continue Reading →

Biography of a River

Book review: The Seine, by Elaine Sciolino (Amazon / Book Depository) I overcame anxiety and loneliness and moved forward in my life, like the Seine in its course. The river allowed me to begin a journey of discovery—of Paris, of the French people, of myself. Its energy pumped deep into my veins; its light gave... Continue Reading →

4 New Release Mini-Reviews

Fall publishing season is in full swing and so many new books are out this month. Let's do some mini-reviews of a few October new releases, shall we? Vanity Fair's Women on Women, edited by Radhika Jones with David Friend, October 29 This book is full of women who are not like anybody else --... Continue Reading →

One Parisian Street in Profile

Book review: The Only Street in Paris, by Elaine Sciolino (Amazon / Book Depository) Former New York Times Paris Bureau Chief Elaine Sciolino's The Only Street in Paris is a travelogue memoir meets micro-history and sociocultural study of the Parisian street where she and her family made their home for a time. There's a lot going... Continue Reading →

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